People haven’t come out to say it but I know that they are wondering why I don’t stay in contact as often as I should. The answer is really quite simple. I was a Navy Brat. Growing up as a Navy brat (Not that the military branch matters they all operate the same when it comes to families) you learn not to become too close to people because you WILL leave eventually. It was inevitable. The military parent will be re-stationed every so often, unless your specialty is localized to one area, you’re going to move.
From the time I was born until I was in the second grade my father was stationed in Everett Washington, sometimes he’d be at sea but we were in the Navy housing in Everett. Making friends at such a young age was easy, yet still not understanding that we would eventually leave I noticed friends move away and new ones move in. The neighborhood moms took turns doing daycare to give each other breaks (although my mom would never admit it). When we got older we were within walking distance of my elementary school, so we would walk in groups and then hung out in the neighborhood daycare.
Then my father got his orders to report to Newport, Rhode Island. I was okay though, we’ve had long road trips before, both sets of my grandparents lived in Montana which we went to see every so often. My brother, who teased me quite a bit back then, made the decision to stay behind, he was old enough and was ready to be on his own. So as far as siblings go it was then me and my Epileptic, mentally retarded sister (Not a dig towards her she really was retarded). So, I had to learn on my own how to have friends but distance myself enough to got get too attached.
Now this was in the early eighties, way before MySpace and Facebook, internet, and before the PC was commonplace. There was no email, or texting. Cell phones were for the uber-rich and even then it was sketchy. We only had land line phones and the USPS. Sure the parents kept in touch with some of the other parents but for kids it was a little more challenging.
When we got to Rhode Island it was still easy to make friends in the neighborhood, mainly because I was still young enough to do so, but I had to be quick thinking when it came to the teachers in my school, nobody had told me that it wasn’t as casual as my last school, I was asked to do something and I said “sure” my teacher kept saying “I’m sorry, what was that?” I looked around at the kids looking at me and figured out that I had to say “Yes, Mrs. Foley”.
A Couple years later we were on the move again to Minnesota. For whatever reason, I had felt good about leaving the school and friends again. Not that I didn’t like them, it was just that I was ready to go. It was a little more difficult to really acclimate into my new school. Being the new kid in the last half of fifth grade was really awkward. Most of the kids have been there the entire school career and have established those friendship bonds that I didn’t quite get.
In fact it wasn’t until middle school that I finally did. In middle school I was highly into acting in the plays and really enjoying them. At the time I didn’t realize it but I made some life long friends there. Then my dad’s orders were coming up. I told my parents that I really liked it there and didn’t want to move again. My father’s retirement ceremony was in the afternoon so the first half of that day we performed for the students and the last half I got out to be there. I hadn’t left Minnesota yet. The next few years I graduated, met my wife (Army Brat), joined the Air Force only to returned home because I have asthma, and had my kids. That’s right, a Navy brat married an Army brat and tried to tun my kids into Air Force Brats. My brother owns his own custom painting company; Loomis Executive Jet Refinishing Yes I gave it a shameless free plug. Which by the way really should get an internet presence. A few years ago my sister passed away, I posted the epilepsy foundation donation in the causes we support part of the menu.
Now we have the internet, email, MySpace came along and started a whole new way of connecting to people, Facebook improved it, and cell phones are now nation wide. The Military Brats today doesn’t have to worry about losing the limited time friends like we did. One click of a button and they are always connected. It’s a brave new world with no limits. They don’t have to learn to keep a distance while still remaining close.
I do remember several of my friends from back in the day, they will forever be with me and if by some chance I do see or hear from them again, well, I’d be okay with it. OH Yeah, if you ever get the chance to go to Rhode Island look up the Brick Alley Pub. I ate there once as a kid, they had these large burgers and huge sundaes. I was full for the rest of the night. Oh yeah, the Newport Creamery had some amazing ice creams. I must go back one day.