|Back in our day . . .||
It may not sound much different than a normal school, and normal experiences at school, but after 3 years in such a miserable place as Kodiak, being in San Diego itself was a wonderful experience for me. In the years at Kodiak, I did begin a brand new relationship with Jesus Christ, and I did get to spend 2 weeks at Woody Island on a spiritual retreat with the pastor and several of the Bible School staff and about 25 other attendees. We shared our life experiences, and we had Secret Pals that we'd do things for. We had chores to do, but mostly it was reading passages from the Bible and campfires and singing in the evenings before bedtime. When I look back on those years, I see that there was a purpose for me having been there. It was part of the plan for my life. But the weather was terrible, and the school was nothing like what I'd experienced in Virginia Beach. I had attended a huge school, was in the band, and had a future expectation of attending Princess Anne High School and being in the band there as well. When my Dad told us one evening that he had new orders, and we'd be moving again, was bad enough. When he said he had orders to move to Kodiak, Alaska, I was floored. I couldn't believe it! Alaska!? No one could believe it when they heard the news. We had no say in the matter, because we were just kids. I don't know how it affected my brother, who was 9 at the time, but it was awful for me. I made a lot of friends in Kodiak, and they made life somewhat bearable for me, but I was so glad when the 3 years were ending and we would be moving again. I didn't care where, just somewhere off the island. My Dad informed us that we were moving to the San Diego area of Southern California, and I was elated! I'd always heard about California, and now I'd get to see it for myself! The warmest it ever was in Kodiak was around 65 degrees in the summer. There was one TV station and that went off at 9:00. There was one radio station and it played modern music, but it was nothing like it was stateside and there was one movie theatre in town and one on the base. We lived in town because my Dad wasn't an officer. The roads were mud most of the time. There was one paved road through town and out to the Naval Station, but the rest was just dirt. The houses were so poorly made that they called it the Cardboard Kingdom. It was so poorly constructed, that one winter the winds were so strong they ripped an entire garage off of a house in the street below us, and it moved the garage down the street and parked it in someone's yard. The days were gloomy and grey and in the winter, it was dark in the mornings when we were going to school, and dark when we came home. We did get to see the Northern Lights, and that was beautiful. But I was so miserable I had gained a lot of weight, and I went on a diet when it was getting close to time to leave, and I remained on it until I had lost all the weight I'd gained since we'd been there.
In May of 1963 our tickets for the flight to "freedom" were purchased, and we had moved to the barracks while our furniture was being packed and getting ready to be shipped to San Diego. After a couple of days at the barracks, we got ready to go to the airport, which was a little shack beside the runway, and we boarded the plane that would take us to Anchorage, and we made a stop at one of the other islands. Then we got to Anchorage and we boarded a Boeing 707 and began our flight to Seattle, Washington. The flight was uneventful and I was so anxious to see what Washington was like. Soon we were on our flight to San Diego, and we flew low over the San Francisco area and saw the Golden Gate Bridge. Then on to L.A. I've already discussed my initial reaction to the weather when we landed in San Diego, and I was not prepared for the hot summer we would be experiencing, but I loved it.
Now, knowing how Kodiak was for me, you can see why I loved San Diego as I did. It seemed like our parent's didn't know how we felt about anything. The year at C.P.H.S was like a dream come true. Take it from me, there was no comparison between the two states. We had so much fun that year. Then my Dad came home from the 9 month deployment he'd been on. But even that wasn't as great as it could have been, because he said we were moving AGAIN, and this time to Minnesota! Another cold place and I was sure it was covered in pine trees. I'd grown to hate them in Kodiak....I preferred the palm trees of San Diego! I could not believe it. I had to tell my boyfriend we were leaving again, and my friends, and even though I had plans to attend Southwestern Junior College, my plans were smashed yet again and there was no convincing my Dad to let me stay in San Diego with my best friend's family. The moving van showed up about 2 weeks later, after graduation from C.P.H.S. and loaded up our things. We again slept on air mattresses the last night in our home, and the next afternoon, we left the house, locked it up, and went to say goodbye to our friends. I said goodbye to my best friend, and she had bought me a C.P.H.S. pin that had our graduation year attached with a chain. It was beautiful, and I cried. We both were crying, my brother and I, and I cried through 3 states I think. When we stopped in New Mexico, to spend a night, I had the worst headache ever. We had gotten in the pool at the motel, but soon afterward it began to thunder and lighting flashed through the skies. We got out of the pool and showered and dressed, and we went to a little restaurant and had dinner. I had coffee, and it helped to soothe my aching head. That night I couldn't sleep because the headache got so bad. As we had left California, the radio station we always listened to faded away in the distance. My boyfriend and I had exchanged Senior keys and the one he gave me began to fade in the hot weather. I hated the Navy for all the moving around. I didn't understand why they had to move us so many times and to such far away places. I missed my home and my friends and my boy friend, and my life. I had just begun to get a feel for being grown up and even though I was only 17 and a half, I had feelings and thoughts and hopes like anyone else. It didn't seem to matter to my Dad. He said we would do things his way, the NAVY WAY, and there was no discussion. I felt like he was so unfair. I secretly began to hate him. I thought he should have spent the time in Alaska on his own and left us state-side. Then, just as we were getting settled in really good in San Diego, we had to move again. It left me with a lot of sorrow and emptiness. I began to become acquainted with depression. It would haunt me for years afterward. Even though we move on and continue with our lives, we aren't necessarily a willing participant in the things that happen to us. Depression was a very ugly feeling. Nothing about it was good. But leaving California was a traumatic experience for me, and it didn't even occur to me that in a few short months I'd be 18 and could do whatever I wanted. I just felt like I'd been locked up in a prison and there was no way out. But that wasn't to be the case at all. In the next post, I will tell you about my life in Minnesota, and then my flight back home. I've been here now since 1965 and I am here to stay.
Stay tuned for the next unfolding layer of my life.
This is for the grandkids, the family, close friends, and anyone else who can keep a civil tongue in their heads! It amounts to an interactive book of memoirs, but only if you interact... so get to it!
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California has been my home since 1965. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm home to stay!
What is there to say about a ten-year old turning 65, besides, what the hell happened?!??