AL Frew – All In One Place

It all seemed rather strange at first – to start the school year and to stay there all year – no talk of moving to another place or a new school.  There was a part of me that could not believe it would be this way from now on but another part kept thinking it would happen all over again.  You see – this was the 1st time in my life that we had a permanent home.  Even though all the moves and transfers had become a ‘way of life’, they had also become a burden.

But it was also different in another way – it was my first real experience in a ‘civilian community’.  During the 1st 13 years of my life, I had been a ‘military brat’ which meant we moved wherever Dad was transferred unless it was an overseas assignment. We never knew where we were going to live or how long we would be there.  We usually had little warning or time to prepare. But after this last assignment, he decided he was also tired of this as a way of life and decided to retire from the Air Force.  So we moved back from Chicago, Illinois to a small town in western Washington State.

It was always so much fun to spend weekends and Holidays in Steilacoom with my grandparents.  What fun it was to take the train to Tacoma and get tours of the big engine from the conductor! You see, my grandfather retired from the Northern Pacific so he knew all these people.  And we would play card games when it was raining while we popped popcorn on the old wood kitchen stove.  And my grandfather would tell stories – probably more fiction than fact – about his railroading experiences.

But school remained the highlight of my life.  There was no need to worry any more about having to change schools – Junior High and High School were on the same campus!  Now there was some routine to my life – and there was finally a chance to make and keep friendships.  I will never forget my disappointment when we came back from Chicago and learned my best friend from elementary school had moved away while we were gone.  It really made a world of difference during the teenage years to be able to share experiences with friends you knew pretty well.

This issue must have been important in those years.  You see, I just found this poem written sometime in high school and published in the Anthology of High School Poetry:

Days of My Life
The days of my life have been busy ones
Traveling and adventure they are
Over to many lands and seas
In the air to places afar
Some days have been happy
And some very sad
Only I know truly the cause
But now, with our bright home straight up ahead
I can sign with relief, for I know
That my traveling is over and gone

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