Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Paperwork day...

I've been putting a pile of paperwork aside for too long, and it needed to be there went the evening. I also put several of my books and other items up for sale on Amazon and ebay. See if I can bring in a little cash, that way. I'm even selling a 1965 edition of the general guide to the "Chicago Natural History Museum". I've had that since we stopped there en route to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1966. My stepfather was stationed at Grand Forks AFB and we were headed up to spend a year there.

We lived in a double-wide trailer (which, if I remember right, was in the squiggly bunch of housing units at the top of the development on the right edge of the photo). We were 30 miles from town. Our family car was a 1965 Fiat 500...for the six of us. I'd have to take a bus to school. There were no hills. No trees to speak of. Nothing but hundreds of square miles of flat farms.

But I figured, the hell with it -- I was gonna change my life after a year of absolute hell in El Paso. I set out to make friends with the neighborhood kids. I explored the base to get myself used to it. I even joined a little theater group, on base.

But it was not to be. Mom got sick, was hospitalized, I became the mother to the family, and then we all got shipped back to San Antonio to live with my grandmother, where I did 9th grade at a junior high school that I hated (that was back when Texas still had only 3 years in their high schools; I don't know when that changed).

Then came a year in Hawaii, where I nearly went crazy from boredom. I had friends, and I cut school a lot to just go wandering. Got the worst sunburns of my life there; 2nd degree on my back through a t-shirt, no less, and on the tops of my feet, through sneakers. But again, I was changing my life. I got my social security number there and went looking for a part-time job. My goal was to return to stateside on a boat, which I would pay for. Didn't happen. Again, we got shipped back to San Antonio to live with my grandmother, because Hawaii is fucking expensive, and stepdaddy was a non-com so got damn near nothing in the way of per-diem from the Air Force. Mom was working 2 jobs just to keep us in food.

This is when I started building the idea that I had no control over my life. It seemed every time I made plans, something would happen to screw them up. And 9 times out of 10, it was something I had zero control over. Like being uprooted every other year because my stepfather was in communications and an Air Force that didn't care a damn about his family. When you're not legal, you can't make decisions for yourself if they conflict with what your parents want.

I suppose the one good thing about all that moving around was, I got used to it. Maybe too used to it. Since finishing college in San Antonio, I've lived in New York City, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Los Angeles, Houston, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and now Buffalo. I've also visited dozens of cities around the US, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Asia...and come damn close to moving to Berlin in 2008, to teach English. Fact is, I got my first passport in college because I had to; I'd traveled on my AF dependent's ID prior to that.

Damn, I'm rambling. Funny the memories that come up with things like a nearly 50 year old pamphlet.

Still...I guess this shows I'm still young enough at heart to think that maybe...maybe something good will come my way so long as I'm willing to join with it, even in a different part of the world.

No comments: