Monday, January 21, 2008

Where I'm From - The Navy Brat Version

Fascinating school-assignment-turned-blogger-challenge over on Five O'Clock Somewhere. Well, I do occasionally make attempts at waxing poetic so how could I resist? Plus there was this very simple template to follow. Only OK, I couldn't quite follow it. Y'know, I think that's why I stick to old-school doggerel - rhyme & meter does a better job of keeping my logorrhea in check!

But FWIW, here it is, it was certainly an entertaining rummage through the recollections. Thanks, Tillerman, for posting about it!

Where I'm From - Navy Brat Edition

I am from flip-flops, plate lunch, manapua, malasadas, Dee-Lite guava chiffon cake and an ipu on the piano.

I am from the staining red dirt, from red and orange shag rugs that didn't show the stuff and from taking off your shoes at the door. I am from the lanai, the mudroom, the hibiscus hedge holding secret hideout, the city lights sparkling against the black of the night sea.

I am from pony waves, from palm and ironwood and don't get sand in the car, and never turn your back on the sea. I am from sunburns and Solarcaine, I am from never being done playing in the water when it's time to go home. I am from staying far far far away from blue bubble man o'war floats in the sea, and popping the beached ones with sticks.

I am from crawling into bed next to mother when the night gets scary when you're very very little and father's at sea. I am from her making paper chains to cut links off of to show me how long it is to a special day.

I am from plumeria blossoms, plucked from the top of a lava rock retaining wall, dropped in brown paper shopping bag to be strung for a welcome.

I am from waiting for the fathers and the husbands to come home from sea - at the airport, or at the dock (plumeria lei fragrant in your hands, straining for the first sight of quiet black boat, lei of her own drapes her sail and the joy of there they are!), or waving as they pass below where you watch on the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am from white plastic Christmas tree, birds in tinsel nests.

I am from packing lives into boxes and moving away and moving back and moving away, from making friends, losing friends, making new friends, knowing you'll move on again.

I am from kids are cruel, getting picked on for being new kid, haole kid, shy kid, bookworm, officer's kid (parent's rank apparent from where you got off the bus); picking on because your clique decided somebody else didn't fit...

I am from doing your part, pulling your weight, going along and not complaining.

I am from you aren't supposed to say thank you to a compliment, you say "Oh, no, I'm not very good" or people will think you're stuck up. From life isn't fair, and it's wherever you left it, and you have to get back on the horse when you fall off.

I am sometimes from giggling in the kids' pew tearing programs into squares for origami, folding menageries of birds, rabbits, jumping frogs. I am from `O kou aloha nĂ´, and the louvered sanctuary full with island breeze, from potlucks with twelve different kinds of homemade teriyaki.

And then I am sometimes from base chapels. Little brown chapel in eucalyptus grove that one wonderful year was autumn-leaved with monarchs, chapel looking out across dry ridges and spicy-smelling juniper scrub of tiny Mediterannean island, chapel among evergreens (sanctuary hung with quilted hangings like the schools of salmon in the nearby Hood Canal).

I am from Oh hear us when we cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea.

I am from submarine bases. South Carolina, Hawaii, Connecticut, California, Washington. I am from gold crew, blue crew, radiophone calls where every precious sentence ends with "over". I am from cross-stitch samplers that say "Navy wife - it's the toughest job in the Navy" and SOWC and pewter mugs with dolphins and boats' names (a tiny one for baby me, diminutive dolphins a thumbnail wide and Wardroom Henry Clay). I am from community that cares for it's own.

I am from family far flung but close-knit. I am from Ida and Edna, William and Fred, from a line of Kathleens. From New Jersey, Texas, Michigan, from relatives who'd welcome us to homes that mostly stayed the same while our furniture would be in one house or another

I am from jeeze, that's enough, I am from let's just say that for even a relatively non-nomadic Navy brat to write of where she's from is a tricky task.

We are from not being from anywhere.

Me less than some.

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