Retrospect: life on base as a kid, part 0

Self-tutoring about childhood: the tutor reflects on his life on base.

My children are in high school. Some of their friends have joined – or intend to join – the armed forces. I grew up as a military kid, and am brought back there when I hear of someone’s intention to serve. I never served myself; my father did, as an airman.

I didn’t live on a base until 1976, when we moved to CFB Summerside. I think the actual location – or at least the family housing – was called Slemon Park. We arrrived there in the summer.

We’d moved from a rocky, hilly location. From such a perspective, the first impression of the base was its openness and its flatness. It wasn’t like the Prairies, but much closer to them than whence we’d arrived. Everywhere was green grass: on the base, anyway, there weren’t so many trees as in Dartmouth.

We moved into base housing. I recall waking up the first morning in my new room to kids playing outside. I sprang to the window and looked out in time to see them fly by on their bicycles, which where the kind with a banana seat. I still wonder, to this day, if I ever met those kids.

To a kid, the base was big. Perhaps what made it so large was the freedom we all had there. Within the base fence, you were absolutely safe from strangers. I soon learned that my boundary was that fence; moreover, I could go virtually anywhere within it, day or night, from age six.

There were different neighborhoods of family housing. Likely, not every street did I ever get to. There was a school on-base, which I’m sure was at least K-9. It may’ve been K-12, but I doubt it; I imagine, rather, that from grade 10 on, the kids would have bussed offsite to a “civilian” high school.

Almost everyone on a base is transient, of course. Yet, in the life of a kid, four years is a long time – almost permanent. With the school a three-minute walk away, and lots of places to explore when I wasn’t there, I settled into life on the base pretty easily.

I’ll follow up.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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