Diane looks back at her introduction to military life, and the inevitable first move.
My father died when I was five years old. Two years later my mother married my step-father who was in the Army.
I had some health problems and the doctor said that a warm, dry climate would help my problem. A short time after that my dad got orders for Ft. Bliss, Texas. I was told that we would be moving to Texas.
I had four brothers that where older then me and they where either in the Army, Navy or married. My youngest brother who was fifteen at the time would be going too (but he didn’t last to long, and was so home sick that my mother sent him home to live with my brother until he joined the Navy).
I wasn’t too thrilled about leaving my friends, my home and my toys. I had roller skates and was told that I couldn’t take them as they had wooden sidewalks and dirt roads in Texas. The dirt roads where true, but they did not have sidewalks, wooden or cement. We lived in El Paso below the mountains.
I had to leave some of my dolls and pogo stick and when we went home they had disappeared.
On the day that we left New Jersy by train it was one of the worse snow storms we have had. I was excited because I never traveled by train before and we were going to go to California first to visit my dad’s mother and siblings.
The train trip was about a four or five day journey and when we reached California it was about eighty degrees and there we where in winter coats and I guess everyone thought we where nuts. After a few days there we where on our way to Texas. My dad’s brother and his wife met us at the bus station. He was also in the army and stationed there at Ft. Bliss.
On our way to their home all I can remember is desert, cactus, dirt roads, big mountains and warm weather in January. All I know is that I didn’t want to be there and wanted to take the next train back to New Jersey, where my family, friends and skates where.
After being there awhile and starting a new school, I made new friends and didn’t mind it so much anymore and I learned how to ride a horse and began seeing things that I never seen before: snakes, weird insects, dust storms and a coyote that came down from the mountain and howled under my bedroom window one night. I only can say this was my new home for a few years and this type of life would continue until I was twenty and after as I married a military man.
I am glad that this is the life I was able to have, as many of my friends back in New Jersey never experienced the things I have seen, all the things I have done and the places I’ve been.
The adventures of being an Army brat has given me a lot of memories, happy and sad,has given me a lot of new friends that I will never forget and eye opening experiences. I have a lot of memories and I regret that I never kept a diary, but those memories will always remain in my heart.
Editor’s note: This article was first published in Military Brats Online.