Haibun : hometown

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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.

References:

Hometown Haibun
dVerse ~ Poets Pub

font: Mom’s typewriter by Christoph Mueller, DaFont.com

Family photo, I am the oldest (so grouchy looking, lol)

Amazon:


We used to love playing Scrabble when we were kids. My dad would pay us a nickel for each new word we learned. My brother became the king of 3-letter words and cremated us, lol.

Another game we loved playing. Being in a family of 4 kids was great because we could play board games, dice games like yachtzee and card games.

As an Amazon affiliate, I’ll usually get a percentage if someone buys something by clicking a link — for books it’s 4.5%. Toys and games are 3% unless video games which are 1%. Last month, I received 90 cents  in commissions so not getting rich any time soon, lol. Amazon disclosure: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”


Also published on Medium.

25 thoughts on “Haibun : hometown”

  1. I can’t imagine moving all the time when I was growing up. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I just can’t imagine. What adventures though. Home is where your family no matter where you are.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

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    1. I liked moving and seeing new places but I also envied people who grew up in the same place. I imagined that being shy is less of a factor if you lived in the same neighborhood all the time. Maybe not though. In cities, even if one family stays put, sometimes all the other families around them are constantly changing.

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  2. My husband was transferred often. New York, Pennsylvania, Florida,Virginia, Oklahoma and now Tennessee. And my daughter is a US Marine, and her moving life continues as an adult!

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    1. I’m not surprised. You get used to it. My youngest brother joined the Air Force. I myself moved a lot when I was in my 20s although I did settle down in my 30s and stayed in the SF Bay area for more than 20 years until my mom needed me. I like moving and seeing new things but as an adult — it’s really hard on the budget. That’s something you don’t realize when you’re a kid because everything is taken cared of for you.

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  3. Ah, making new best friends and then having to leave them behind all the time – that is one of the tragedies of this kind of childhood. But a lot of children then grow up with itchy feet (or have to rearrange the furniture or redecorate the house frequently) – or else refuse to ever leave the place they settle in.

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    1. That is very true, Marina. My brother refused to move even when, at work, it meant a great promotion. I moved a lot in my 20s back and forth from Japan and Arizona until I settled in the San Francisco bay area. San Francisco is a lot like traveling — in Chinatown, even the street signs are in English and Chinese. On buses, it was pretty normal to hear different languages being spoken. I think the Bay area is the perfect spot for a restless soul. I imagine there are other cities across the world like that.

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  4. My father was in the Indian railways, we too used to keep moving after every three years. It was a different life. But after marriage I have been in one place, since 1982 🙂 This has been a good life.

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    1. Moving around is cool when you’re a kid (no responsibilities for packing! and lots to explore) but settling down is best when you get older. It must have been awesome moving around India. Did you schools do field trips too? Sounds like marriage and settling down is good for you too.

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      1. I realised the difference when I saw my children with their friends, Being in one small place has made it possible for them to have very close relationships with their friends from childhood. Most of them are settled in different parts of the world but there is a connection, the internet has helped ofcourse 🙂 But I would not recognise any of my school friends, those were the days of letters, and we lost touch.

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  5. loved the family photo and you made sure you stood out! so much moving yet family was your anchor and home, not many can say that as families are fragmented by the frequent changes. I moved a lot too, dad’s work and my work later on, so I can relate to the things you write here but I belong to a culture and a heritage that I am proud of, and agree it may not be the place but the people that make it home. I totally love your haiku!

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    1. Having a culture and a heritage you’re proud of can provide just as much roots as growing up in the same place in my opinion. That’s cool that you had that. I am so glad you enjoyed the haiku and that it spoke to you too!

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  6. I think the anchor of family is more important in a child’s trajectory than staying in one place. My husband was an ” airforce brat” . His dad was stationed near Alamagordo and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. He has many stories to tell as well. Thanks for sharing yours.

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    1. wow, small world. my dad was air force too but we were at Clovis AFB, New Mexico not White Sands. I do agree that the anchor of family is most important.

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  7. I moved a lot as a child too (although not as often as you did!) and I’ve moved a lot as an adult as well–although within the same city, so I guess I can say that NYC is my home, even though my particular residence keeps changing. Settling in one place allowed you and your siblings to finally explore who you were outside your family. (K)

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    1. I do agree that settling allowed us to find different things. Also it could just be becoming teenagers, you start exploring other ways to belong. Must be expensive and a lot of work packing to move around in NYC though. I heard when you get an apartment you have to furnish everything. In Arizona even in an “unfurnished” apartment, generally there is carpet and often blinds for the windows and of course all the big kitchen appliances.

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      1. I don’t think apartments are too different here, except many are in old buildings. So they don’t have carpets (I prefer wood floors anyway). But renters always get applicances! It was no problem at all to move when I was young, as I had nothing much to move. Now I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff, so it’s definitely more trouble! But I always end up giving a lot of it away, so it’s good for clearing things out too.

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        1. I do remember that from when I was younger and moved just about every year — I traveled much lighter. I also left a ton of boxes back in my parent’s garage back then until my dad put his foot down and said he wanted his garage back. Life has come full circle — I have a ton of boxes back in the same garage because I moved back here. I need to move some stuff around because it would be nice to get at my craft stuff and hang some of my photographs.

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