Introduction to “Military Brats” – 6

By necessity, I made my own private treaty with rootlessness and spent my whole life trying to fake or invent a sense of place.  Home is a foreign word in my vocabulary and always will be.  At each new base and fresh assignment, I suffered through long months of trying to catch up and learning the new steps required of those outsiders condemned to inhabit the airless margins of a child’s world.   None of my classmates would ever remember my name when it was time to rotate out the following summer.  My family drifted in and out of that archipelago of Marine bases that begins with the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and stretches down the coast to Paris Island in the South.  I spent most of my childhood in North Carolina and not a single person in North Carolina knows that salient fact.  I’ve been claimed as native son by more than a few southern states, but not by the one I spent the most time in as a child.

‘Home’- a word so many of us just take for granted; but always a haunting word for me.  From Ohio to Michigan; Michigan to Okinawa; Okinawa to Tucson; Tucson to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico to Massachusetts; Massachusetts to France and France to Germany – I lived in so many ‘houses’ in my life – 14 in my childhood alone.  Then  another 11 while on Active Duty in the Air Force.  In 1991 I moved back to Whitehouse, OH and bought another “house;” determined to convert it into a home. 

Since beginning my transition/restoration project, I have literally carried the original house out to the front to be hauled off.  My previously unstated goal with this project was to make this house a “home,” to where anyone can feel welcomed and warmth.  And today, if I want a hole in the wall, I put one there without any concern about passing an inspection before leaving.  I don’t know if I will be leaving…

And yet, as wonderful as my home has become, even now at 66, I still feel more at home anytime I pass through the Main Gate of an Air Force installation.  I don’t know if I will ever overcome this…


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