I was born by the river….
No, I wasn’t but I love that song. I was actually born at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center on Fort Gordon, GA. That’s right, I’m a loud and proud Army Brat! At eight weeks old, my mom, my four older sisters and I joined my dad in Neu Ulm, Germany where we would live for a few years before returning to Fort Gordon (Augusta, GA) for a few years. Then it was back to Germany again, Mannheim this time for three years more before returning to Augusta, again. Finally, our last tour to Germany started in 1988 to Berlin, for, you guessed it, three years! In 1991, we came back to Augusta, where my father retired after twenty-two years, 2 tours to Vietnam and three tours to Germany.
I was a baby when we first went to Germany, so I don’t really have any memories of that first time. I have lots more memories of living in Mannheim, but my really good times were had in Berlin. Mostly because I was teenager and had an awesome amount of freedom to really explore and enjoy Berlin. I was old enough to really appreciate the rich history of the city plus we were there to witness history in the making when “the wall” came down. I’ll save that story for a blog ….
Anyway, being an army brat really exposes you to all kinds of people and cultures. Not just from living abroad but from living among many varied families from backgrounds other than your own. I grew up around every combination of interracial that you can imagine. This is probably one of the best things about the military community, the exposure to other people on a daily personal basis. It makes you more open-minded and understanding of differences. It also is a great way to learn that we’re all basically the same and desire the same things in life.
After all of the worldly exposure, imagine the culture shock I endured returning to Augusta, more specifically, Hephzibah (a suburb of Augusta, LMAO) to attend a high school with many students that have never left the state, much less the country. And were so racially aware of each other that it was almost uncomfortable. First of all, we were the Hephzibah Rebels and our mascot was General Robert E. Lee (leader of the Confederate army) and it was accepted that the Confederate battle flag (old stars and bars) was prominently displayed everywhere, especially for pep rallies and sporting events.
I sat in classrooms where blacks sat on one side and whites on the other. Not because anyone told them to, these students just grew up in a culture where you stuck to your own kind. They just naturally segregated themselves. I was emotional and overwhelming and I hardly made friends that first year. I gradually found my place among other army brats, who were certainly more like me. My high experience was typical and I graduated on time with good grades. I applied to college and was accepted by didn’t know anything about financing an education and decided to go to work. After about a year of retail hell, I decided to join the military. My dad talked me out of the army and into the Air Force. Though my heart was willing, my feet weren’t and I was medically discharged after serving roughly two months :o)! Came home with tail tucked and went back to work at Walmart. (I’ve held something like twenty different jobs, working more than one at a time more than once)
I dated a little, and was even married for a few months in the late nineties. That’s also something to blog about at another time LOL!
Finally, in 2001, I figured out that Augusta had nothing for me and I decided to move to Atlanta, to attend college. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed living in the ATL and have met friends that I’ll have forever, but most importantly, I met my best friend and man that God has chosen to be my husband for the rest of my life. I gave up on planning for the future because those plans never work out for me, so I’m content to sit back and see what God has instore for us. Please forgive any typos, I’m blogging from my smartphone!!