Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Where I'm coming from

My childhood was one of the most fascinating, enjoyable times of my life. The first eight years of that was spent in a house my dad put together from two temporary buildings he bought from Army Disposal, and joined with an eight-foot extension. There were no inside walls. Each was about 24 feet square. One was used as living room/kitchen/dining room, the other as a bedroom for both my parents and my brother and me. We had propane for the stove, but heat was provided by two wood-burning stoves. Some of my most enduring memories is helping my dad cut wood with a cross-cut saw. I was young - six to eight, I guess - but provided some help, and at least kept the saw balanced. It was also my job to cut the kindling to start the stoves. I do wish I'd known about pine cones back then... (G).

I ran pretty freely most of my childhood - from about the time I was four until I left home. Most of the area beyond our home was open forest - about 220 acres of it. I had access to it all, and it became my domain! We caught crawfish (and occasionally fish), I ran a small trap line for a couple of years, we raised a HUGE garden (a little more than an acre - all hand-turned, hand-weeded, and cared for), and we had animals - cows, chickens, a small donkey for awhile, and turkeys. Somewhere here in my house I have a negative of myself riding a turkey I had as a pet. We had to kill him when I was about seven, because he'd attack ANYONE ELSE but me. He dressed out at 67 pounds! HUGE bird.

When I was eight, we moved down onto the road into a house Mom and Dad bought on three acres of land. At the time, it was a major improvement -- there were FOUR ROOMS, and my brother and I had a bedroom we didn't have to share with Mom & Dad. We still didn't have indoor plumbing (that didn't get added until I came home with my new bride, who was a "city girl". It also had inside walls that we covered with wallpaper. There was also running water in the house, in the kitchen. As in Sarah's case, cold water only, but we had city gas and electricity. I helped Dad add an extension when I graduated from High school before I left for the Air Force. After that, my brother and I both had a room (I left three months after that was finished, and before the bathroom was put in).

I now know I did many, many things other people haven't done. I realize now that we were "dirt poor" in the true sense of the word, but I never felt deprived. I also had relatives. My grandparents lived on one side of us, and an "uncle" (actually a cousin by marriage) on the other. My uncle's mother-in-law lived across in front of us when we first moved down onto the road, and my uncle and his wife moved in after she died. There were a dozen other families that lived nearby that were related by blood, and many, many more that were "relatives of consciousness".

I went to school in the same school for twelve years, with pretty much the same set of classmates. That's totally unheard of today.  I also went to school with a number of relatives -- two of my dad's youngest sisters until third grade, and with cousins my entire twelve years.  I graduated with two of my first cousins, at least one second cousin, and two fourth cousins.

Part of the neighborhood is reasonably the same, but most of it's changed.  Not surprising, since it's been 48 years since I graduated and left home.  The houses I grew up in are long gone.  The state built a freeway through the town, and many of the roads I used to travel no longer go through.  The school I went to no longer exists, replaced by a junior high school.  The football stadium is the only thing that's still where it was, but even it has changed.  The changes are more than I care for, and I don't go back there very much except occasionally for a family reunion.


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