Sunday, January 6, 2008

On The Road Again

[Reminder: Some of my posts, including this one, are memoirs of my abusive childhood. In this post I'm relating events that happened during June and July 1957 around my 8th birthday. The links to the right can be used to follow backward through the memoirs, or to restrict viewing to other kinds of posts.]

Just as school ended I found out that I would be leaving Fort Devens. My Father had orders to report to Fort Lewis to prepare for an overseas assignment. We didn't know what the overseas assignment would be. If my Father knew he wouldn't tell my Mother or me. He was very good at keeping secrets secret, even from family.

I assumed at the time that we would just pile in the car the next day and go, but it turns out that life is full of waiting and preparing and other grownup crap. For one thing we had to line up storage for most of the furniture, because we weren't going to have any place to put it where we were going.

We got a "new" car. It was a used Pontiac station wagon with the classic trim. It may not be PC to say it, but I loved having Mr. Pontiac on the hood pointing our way with his face. My Father thought a station wagon made more sense for hauling a lot of junk across country.

I spent a lot of time alone that summer. The taunting had driven me to isolation, which wasn't a bad place for me to be. There was definitely some ongoing sexual abuse at the time but nothing that stands out as singularly traumatic. That may sound strange but that's the way it can be. Sometimes sexual abuse is like getting hit with a sledge hammer, full of violence and trauma, and other times it's more like a steady dripping poison that eats away at the nerves.

Two weeks before we were due to leave the weather took a turn toward hot and humid. It was the most horrible hot and humid I remember as a child, even worst than Hawaii's hot humid season. What made it worse was the mosquitos. Fort Devens neighbors several swamps and marshes. Mosquitoes were thick.

I remember a Wednesday noon vividly. It was just a day or two before our departure. The movers had come and loaded up everything that was going into storage so the house was almost bare. To escape the heat I sat on a bare floor wearing only shorts looking out a screen door. In spite of the screen there was a cloud of mosquitoes inside eating me alive.

I know it was Wednesday noon because the weekly air raid siren went off to remind me that the Soviets could bomb the US with nukes any time they wanted. I wondered what the point of the siren would be. Should we all run out in the streets and moon the approaching bombers?

I thought a good H-bomb would at least get rid of the mosquitoes. Might be worth it.

There was no going away party for me. The going away was the party.

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