Living the life


Life is pretty interesting if you think about it. From the moment we are born we are protected by our parents. They love us, feed us, and try to give us a life that was better then what they had. I think my parents did a pretty good job at that. I can remember as far back as the time we lived in Michigan the first time. I will admit that my memories of the time are fragmented as I was born then, and believe I was 3 years old when we moved. I may be wrong since it was so long ago, but there are certain memories that I have of that time. For instance I vaguely remember crawling under the fence that surrounded the water tower near the house where we lived.

From there I remember more of Massachusetts. I don’t remember the move there, but remember living on base and when we moved to the house on cherry street. I remember playing in the back yard there and either stepping in dog shit, or putting my hand in it while playing in the backyard. I remember Massachusetts mostly for the family gatherings we went to. I think this is the first time I recall really having extended family. I’m not sure why since I’m sure we visited immediate family when we could. I just remember a closeness with the Massachusetts gang. Coffee hour every Sunday morning. What I would give to see everyone again.

We were in Massachusetts for about 3 years while dad served in Vietnam and Guam. I remember his going away party, that was flooded with those family members in attendance, or so it seemed at that young age. However when it comes time that dad was actually away, that part is fuzzy to me. It may be my bodies defense mechanism keeping it blocked. If in fact that is the case, it is a powerful mechanism especially with someone so young in age.

Michigan, part 2. This is where we had moved after dad returned from Vietnam. A second tour of duty in Michigan, YES! This was around 1973 which made me around 6 years old, an impressionable young age. This is where I start to remember a lot more about my early life. I remember my parents taking us camping, fishing, i even remember picking berries. What I wouldn't give for that opportunity with my whole family again. The berry picking that is, camping would be crowded with 5 grown adults in a small camper.

While we were station in Michigan the second time I met my childhood friend. Our families did (it seemed at the time) a lot of camping together, maybe even berry picking too. Although it was only a few years while we were stationed in Michigan, it had a huge impact on me as a child that has stayed with me to this day.

I further remember realizing my mortality. I was 9 years old and it was on November 10, 1975. It was the day the Edmund Fitzgerald sank and took with her all 29 men to the bottom with her. I vaguely remember the weather that day and night. But I do remember the sinking.

North Dakota was our next tour of duty, or rather dads. If you have never been to North Dakota I think you owe it a visit. It is flat as shit and you can almost see Montana when looking west from the Minnesota/North Dakota border. The good thing about living in the plains was that we were close to my dads hometown in Minnesota. I remember often taking trips east to visit family, camping, and even fishing for walleye on opening day. On our way back home we used to travel through the Indian reservation and would stop and pick up a smoked whitefish. Something that you cannot do now. We would pick at that smoked fish on our way back home. I cannot remember if it was completely gone by the time we did get home, but I bet we were close to finishing it off.

Southern California was our next tour, and would be our last as dad would retire at the end of it. California is not the place for a young impressionable child. I remember a lot of things to do out there, working at the local motocross raceway was a big deal, and has given me a lot of memories. Our neighbors had given us the opportunity to work there with them. It was a great time as a child.

When dad retired, or was thinking of retiring he and mom were considering returning to Michigan and settling, or moms home state of New York. They ultimately decided on New York as there was family that lived there, and the economy was a lot better than Michigan was. Admittedly it probably was the right choice, but I would have preferred Michigan. I shudder at how the direction of my life would have been forever changed if we had settled in Michigan, as I never would have met my wife, and never would have had the son I have today.

My parents took us kids all over the United States on their adventures in the armed forces. They really didn't have a choice, I guess. It was an opportunity that many many people would never experience. It gave me a balance of all the different cultures from so many different races. It gave me tolerance of all the different types of races and people.

I didn't always understand why my parents did something, but I know they always seems to do what was right for the family. None of us kids went without, and at the same time were never spoiled. More on that later....

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