DeeDee’s Story: A Military Brat Part 5 of 6

Where Are You From?

Answering the question, “where are you from” still stumps me. I wonder are they asking me where I was born? Where I lived last or longest? Where I connect with the most? Where my grandparents live or where do I currently live? Eventually, I think most of us develop a quick pitch we throw out to help someone connect to us. Here’s mine.

My dad was in the Navy. I was born in VA but only lived there a few weeks, I think. Mostly, I grew up in Spain and Florida until my dad retired in my junior year of high school. We moved to where he was from originally in Alabama.

Then I pause. Without fail there are follow up questions that help us connect in some way.

How Many Places Have You Lived?

I don’t have a ready answer for that one but I do know the house I live in now is the 50th house I’ve lived in. Yeah. You read that correctly. 5. O. I’ve loved every single place. Although, some more than others.

Oh the places I’ve lived. Here is RGH – off base housing in Puerto de Santa Maria.

How Many High Schools Did You Attend?

Three. I went to three high schools in my junior year. I don’t recommend it. Lol.

Prom

Favorite Place to Live as a Navy Brat?

Hands down, Rota. I love living by the ocean even though my husband and I retired to gorgeous Colorado next to Pikes Peak.

Favorite Memory?

Wow. There are so many. I suppose one that stands out from our time at Homestead AFB was chasing huge toads. When the streetlights turned on, the time we should have been home by, the bugs, gnats, mosquitoes, etc. would hang around them. The toads were smart and they would come there too. Now, who wasn’t too smart were the kids on my street. We would take long sticks and tap behind the toads to get them to jump. We tried racing them but they never went toward the finish line. The toads seemed risk free unless they peed on you. The huge toads would only tolerate a few taps behind them before they would turn and start to jump in the direction of the tormentor. We would scream and run like the Chainsaw Massacre dude was after us.

I hear Homestead isn’t there anymore due to one of the many Florida hurricanes. That was the place I learned to be terrified of storms. Man oh man, it can do some storming in southern Florida.

What Activity Do I Miss From Living Overseas?

The connection between all of us as Americans. The community, the bond we shared is something hard to describe but you know it when you are living it. Because there are no extended family to help you, we truly had to be neighbors helping neighbors. It was good.

I miss the castles and cathedrals we explored. The wineries, the coast, camping, and eating delicious seafood. I miss being patient while trying to communicate with someone who’s native language is not the same as my own. Experiencing history that is still in the making. Walking in the footsteps of people we studied from centuries ago. The smells of cooking from the huge doors that opened into lovely courtyards.

What Traditions Did We Keep?

My mom is the queen of holidays. You never had to doubt what season or holiday it was if you came to our quarters. She truly made each one an event. I hadn’t really thought about all the effort she must have had to use to get it done. Great question. We kept every single tradition my mom could think of including some from the places we lived. For example, after living in Spain, we must celebrate Three Kings Day, Jan 6th. No one in my family is allowed to take our tree down until Jan 7th. Needless to say, we only use artificial trees since we have to put them up during Thanksgiving weekend. I’m going to go tell my mom, well done! She created tradition for a family who moved a lot.

On Three Kings Day we would leave our shoes out.

Stay tuned for the final post by DeeDee on September 20, 2022.

Leave a Reply