Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So. Where Are You From?

I don't know about you guys, but I always think it's fun to ask military families where they are from. Aside from the hysterical deer-in-the-headlights-look that you get as they try to figure out how to answer that question (last base? where we were married? where we were born?), you also hear some really interesting things. I think I have met someone from just about every U.S. state, several territories, and a few countries as well. We military folk are a diverse people. So when I asked for questions on my birthday, I was not surprised to see Julie ask, "Where did you grow up?" I did have to scratch my head a little coming up with an answer, however.

I was born in Frankfort, Indiana. It's a smallish town about an hour north of Indianapolis. Both my parents grew up there--in fact, my dad lived in the same house his whole life which is just crazy to me. I still have several family members there and many more within a few hours' drive. When anyone asked me where my hometown is, this is the one I pick; but it's not where I grew up.

When I was two, my dad joined the Air Force. When he was done with his training, we moved to Grissom AFB, Indiana. Grissom, which is now a Reserve base, is only about an hour north of Frankfort. Dad's first assignment was actually a base in Texas (the one in Abilene?) but he traded with someone in his tech school class. I think we lived there for around two years.

My dad's next assignment was drill instructor duty at Lackland AFB, Texas. We moved there when I was four (I think). My parents bought their first house there. I remember living in some apartments, in that house, and in base housing as well. I went to Kindergarten and first grade there. I do have some memories of Grissom, but my first real strong memories start in Texas. In fact, until I was about 16 or so I would answer the question "Where are you from" with "San Antonio, Texas." My seven-year-old self did not appreciate that move one little bit.

I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but dad separated from the Air Force and we moved back to Frankfort after his stint as a DI. His dad had some health problems and dad went back to help out at the family store. It is this time frame that solidifies Frankfort as my home town. I got to spend time with my three cousins (I have many more than that now) and I really think this was the most "normal" my life ever was. I was in a Brownie troop, lived down the street from my grandparents, and I just remember it as a really positive time in my childhood. My parents found out that they were expecting my little brother while we were there. Between the financial aspects and the fact that my dad missed the military lifestyle, he ended up getting back into the Air Force. It was difficult, but he volunteered to be a recruiter and they let him back in. (Yes, my dad held the two most hated positions in the military: recruiter and drill instructor. He's a great guy, though. Honest!)

Dad's first recruiting area was in Southern Indiana. We started out in Bloomington (this is the reason I am an I.U. fan for college sports), moved to a super small town called Ellettsville, then moved back to Bloomington. There are no military bases around this area so I was that lone military kid in the middle of all these kids who had known each other for forever. Most of the kids were nice to me, but it was hard to break in and get really close to anyone.

Then the Air Force decided that dad would make a great medical recruiter, so we moved to Indianapolis. We lived on Fort Benjamin Harrison (which is now a state park)--and we were there for three and a half years. This is the longest that I had ever lived anywhere. There were a good deal of Army brats there so I was no longer "that" kid; the military thing was no longer a big deal. Then, the summer before my Junior year, we moved back to Ellettsville. I graduated from high school there, with the same kids I went to fourth and fifth grade with. Weird, huh?

My childhood is fun to explain to people because while I am an Air Force brat, I didn't move to as many different places as my peers. I lived in Indiana most of my life, but attended 9 different schools in four different cities. I don't really have a single place where I "grew up" but I suppose the short answer to this question is that I grew up in southern Indiana. I had never really sat down and written all this out before so I've never thought of it that way! Thank you for the question, Julie!

How about you? Did you grow up in one place or did you move around? How do you answer this question?

1 comment:

  1. I was the exact opposite. Lived in one house almost my entire life (from 4 on). My parents still live in that house. I graduated with people I went to Kindergarten with. Kind of boring, really!
    My husband was an Army brat/preacher's kid, so he's never lived anywhere more than 3 or 4 years his entire life.
    We lived in San Antonio for a while too. I went through basic there (I was Air Force for a while) then I was stationed at Kelly AFB after language school. That's where we got married and where my first daughter was born.



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