hometown, not birthplace
air force youth,moving often
home is family
senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere
The town I was born in, I don’t remember. Kurosu is just outside Johnson Air Force Base in Saitama-ken, Japan. We left Japan for New Mexico, my sister’s birthplace, when I was one. That was our life in the Air Force. We moved every two years to a new base and I’d make a new bestfriend. We bounced through Clovis (NM), Kadena (Okinawa where my brothers were born), Duluth (MN), Yokota (Japan), Tachikawa (Japan), Grand Forks (ND), Salina (KS), before finally settling in Arizona where my dad retired. I was 14. Life on base is pretty similar no matter where you went — only offbase changed.
I got to see a lot of places growing up and fieldtrips were awesome. Mom asked me in my 50s, did I remember when we lived in Yokota (I was 7) that she pointed out the hospital I was born in when we drove by Johnson AFB. I didn’t remember. My birthplace is not my hometown. My hometown was not one place, rather it was the Air Force and my family. No matter where we went, I was with my family. That was my anchor.
Ironically, it was settling in one place, Tucson, that caused my siblings and I to drift apart. My sister was totally into her boyfriend. My brother was into sports and hung out with the jocks. My youngest brother had two groups he hung out with — one had plans and got decent grades while the other group ditched, smoked weed and stole things. He got into trouble for awhile but then ended up straightening himself up by joining the Air Force like my dad. I wrote stories, did art, loved math and hung out with a goody-two-shoes oddball group that was very smart and creative. Us kids had our friends and no longer relied on each other for company, our lives separating. My sister and brothers thought of Tucson as their hometown. I never did but it’s home.
dVerse ~ Poets Pub
font: Mom’s typewriter by Christoph Mueller, DaFont.com
Family photo, I am the oldest (so grouchy looking, lol)
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Also published on Medium.