The Traveling Child

teddy bear in suitcase

If you grew up the child of a military member, you’ll understand how life was for me.

My life revolved around moves on base and off, from as early as two years old to seventeen.

Since my birth in the state of Maine, my family moved from there to Taiwan, Massachusetts, Virginia, Alabama, Germany, Illinois, Virginia, and Colorado.

While in Germany, my mom took my sister and I with her to Greece each summer so that we could spent it with our yiayia (grandmother), aunt (thía), and our two cousins. We spent three summers in Greece, and the memories are fantastic.

Most of the time, we spent our days at the beach, playing mini golf, eating ice cream and watermelon, and tramping around the suburbs of Athens.

One time, my mom took my sister and I to a disco. It was fun dancing to the BeeGees on colored tiled floors produced by strobe lights and a disco ball dangling from the noisy room’s ceiling.

And the outdoor theaters were awesome–four walls without a roof, surrounded by beautiful flowers with the huge screen on the wall across from us.

My dad retired in Colorado, and I finished up my last year of high school in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Although attending my senior year at a completely unfamiliar and friendless high school was both challenging and incredibly abysmal, the fact that I fell in love with the light, arid, sunny climate and gorgeous mountainous scenery of Colorado helped lessen that year’s lows, and it only got better after I graduated, seeing how I hated high school.

When I was growing up, I was painfully shy, and it took me several months to get to know other kids. Nevertheless, I did each place we moved, and in some cases, I wrote to those I became friends with for many years, until most of them stopped writing.

Writing letters was a normal way of communicating in my day, youngsters out there reading this. 🙂 And writing letters and receiving them in the mail was akin to getting a surprise gift every time my mom would bring in the mail.

One friend, who became my best friend, I met while my family was stationed at Rhein Main Air Base, is still in contact with me today. We’ve literally kept in contact, visited with each other a few times, for the last approximately forty years.

Relationships like that are so special and cherished. In fact, I’ve talked to her recently, and she is planning to come visit me in a few weeks, depending on the COVID rules here in Colorado.

Childhood memories of getting in and out of airplanes, unpacking our things, starting at new schools, are embedded in my mind. Riding my bike with my friends, playing Barbies, going to the roller skating rink to glide around the circular floor and do the hokey-pokey with the lights off and colorful spotlights dancing around the huge space bring a smile to my face.

So many children were in the neighborhoods in which I grew up. You’d encounter them on your street or in their front yards, and soon, you were talking, playing–friends.

There was such freedom in the days of my childhood. You hear that often from older folks like me. But it is so true. Life was full of imagination, wonder, and riding your bike or skating around your neighborhood and beyond with no fear and little limits/boundaries, especially if you lived on base.

I wish it were still like that today. My sons didn’t grow up with the same freedoms I did.

All those moves exposed me to different cultures and different people, and I feel blessed to have had those experiences.

I bring all this up because not only am I reminiscing, but also because ideas of writing about the military brat’s life, using some of my own experiences to create a work of fiction has been swirling around in my head the past few days.

Perhaps this new idea will land on my mind’s runway, and a story will be written. I’m hoping so.

Were you a military brat? What childhood memories do you hold dear?

 

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Pick up your copy of Passage of Promise  via Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Me with PofP final print copy April 27 2020

UBI Desperately Needed

money pic

Months ago, when I wrote a blog post about former Democratic candidate for president, Andrew Yang, I explained the advantages of universal basic income (UBI), in the coming years, due to many jobs that are being and will be automated away.

Now, with the life-threatening consequences of Covid-19, non essential businesses having to shut down, and people being holed up in their homes to help keep from spreading the disease, we need UBI more than ever.

With all the wrangling going on between our politicians in Washington, it seems they can’t do their jobs in alleviating the beginnings of suffering and soon-to-be suffering across our country of its own citizens in having to close down their businesses and cancel gigs/concerts/shows, etc. The frustration and despair among my fellow Americans is growing.

Tax rebates, zero percent interest loans, will do next to nothing, if not nothing, in helping the everyday American.

A UBI of at least $1000 a month per adult and maybe in addition to that, as has been suggested by people like Scott Santens, $500 per child, is needed RIGHT NOW.

People have rent to pay, bills to pay, need food to eat, and medicines to buy.

Congressman, Tim Ryan, tweeted this message on March 20:

As soon as the House continues holding hearings, I’d like to invite @andrewyang to the Hill to testify about the benefits of a permanent UBI. We must bring our greatest minds together to offer solutions to ensure everyone feels more financially secure before disaster strikes.

I hope and pray Andrew is able to speak on the House floor and convince our government officials to pass a real UBI, as Representative Tulsi Gabbard tried to do a few weeks back with her own emergency UBI bill.

Both Yang and Gabbard are right. We need money for people suffering losses that will only grow in numbers, and we need it for the duration of this time until, like Tulsi Gabbard said yesterday on the Jimmy Dore Show, the disease has disappeared from our country and our financial situation is back to a stable place. 

 

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