I was raised in a military family, although not what you might imagine as the traditional military family upbringing. The main stereotype that would apply was that my family moved very often over the course of a decade, before my father retired.
My dad was a navigator in the Air Force. I was born on Mather Air Force base outside of Sacramento, California. Before I was a year old, we moved to Little Rock, Arkansas and it was there, apparently, that I would take my first steps—this was something my dad would recall many, many times over the course of my upbringing. My family wasn’t in Little Rock for a year before my dad was transferred to an Air Force Base in Fussa, Tokyo, Japan. While my dad was in Japan preparing and organizing my mother and I’s arrival the two of us lived with my maternal grandfather in Charlette, North Carolina.
While I was in high school in the Texas Hill Country where my parents settled after my father retired from the Air Force, my mom told a story one evening when we had company over for dinner.
"One early afternoon while my grandfather was at work and my mother and I were home I was asleep in my crib in the house and my mother needed to make a trip to the grocery store. She debated waking me up because, apparently, I was not well at handling being woken up from my naps as a baby/toddler and ultimately, she decided against it.
My mom left me asleep in my crib and started for the grocery store hoping, of course, to be back before I woke.
Nearly at the store my mom was overwhelmed with a feeling of dread," this is how she told the story that evening at the dinner table. "This feeling consumed her, and she immediately turned around and headed back for the house.
My mom then went through the hassle of waking me up, dealing with the terrible consequences, dressed me and we started, again, for the grocery store.
When we arrived back at the house after shopping my mother wasn’t too surprised to find that it was completely engulfed in flames. The house was on fire, and nothing would be salvageable."
And, had my mom not turned around, woken me up, and dragged me to the grocery store I wouldn’t be sitting here telling this story. I would not need to paint this picture of who I was and where I came from, the events that have taken place in my life; I have lived more lives in these few decades than most people live in a lifetime and I wouldn’t have the means to share and express them with you as this blog progresses had my mother not been consumed with that feeling of dread or had the wherewithal to recognize what this feeling was trying to tell her.
My mother told that story to these long time family friends at the dinner table that evening and afterward I more or less slammed both fists on the table still cupping a fork in one hand and a knife in the other and said, “Um…WHAT?!”
She had never told me that story before.