I don’t know if it is normal, or there were incidents in my early life, but I have very faint memories of my life before moving to McLean Virginia (I should have started kindergarten in McLean, but my mother found a way to start me early in 1st grade). My memories are more clear in O’Fallon, and become rather clear starting with HS in McLean.
I have very few clear memories of my mother, except glimpses throughout my childhood, most of which are related to something bad or unpleasant.
I think the problems between my mother and father started in Japan, deepened in Hawaii, resulting in a separation in the early McLean period, and finally divorce in O’Fallon. After O’Fallon my father dropped out of my life unless I reached out to him. I feel that my memories of my mother are influenced by the relationship of my parents– and emotionally I identified with my father more than my mother. Need to think about this more.
I thought perhaps I should leave California out of the memoire, because I didn’t spend much time there. But I often describe myself as a Californian. It’s easier because when people ask “where are you from” they usually mean where were you born and raised. Born is easy. Raised is too long an explanation. But even more, both my mother and father were native Californians and I did inherit a lot from both of them. The picture is at the wedding in Hollywood, when Hollywood was a village near Los Angles and the movie studios just opened up.
I was born outside of San Francisco, and my first trip out of the states was to Japan. More about that can be read in the section about my father. From Japan to Hawaii, when Hawaii was not a state and Obama not yet born. Then for some time outside of Los Angeles before the move to Virginia. In Virginia I was enrolled in 1st grade. Which means the early years of my life certainly imprinted important features into my developing world view, including travel, foreign countries and languages, and moving from house to house. I’ve always been comfortable with my international life, perhaps due to the inoculation when I was first experiencing the world.
I was in a military base in Tokyo right after World War II. It was only a couple of years after the “Tokyo Trial” and under the control of the US Military (General Douglas MacArthur). Japan’s sovereignty was returned on April 28, 1952, about the time I arrived with my family on a boat from San Francisco.
I lived in McLean before there was a beltway around Washington DC. That says a lot for those who know the area. I can remember playing in woods between my house and McLean High School and house construction around my house. And accidentally starting a fire when I played with matches in the farmer’s field across the road from my house. All these things no longer exist, except in the minds of some of us.
The house I lived in from 1st to 5th grade is shown. All 4 children, both parents (part of the time), and Frosty. Second grade school is “Lemon Road” but I remember my class was in a temporary classroom, pre-fab construction. For 3-5, I moved to another school also shown below with some school buses that seems to amuse Svitlana for some reason.
I’m in touch with three of my friends from this period, but so far can’t get any stories out of them. One is Sandy Segal, aother is Marleen McDaniel, and the third is “Herk” Learch (he doesn’t like to be called Herk any more). Herk also became Baha’i, and in High School we both played on the basketball team. The two girls lived a couple of houses away from my house. I’m pretty sure they were my partners in crime. Herk was older and probably didn’t want to have anything to do with a punk kid down the street at that time.
I had a paper route during these years and I used to run wild throughout the neighborhood. I’m trying to rememeber more names, and I think one is Randall Reed. On the weekends I was in a square dancing club, which is a anachronism I’m sure for this area, but I remember that a lot of kids liked to square dance at this time. We also use to hang out at the pool– Tukahoe or something like that. I played baseball and Herk’s father was my coach for a couple of years. I can remember visiting Sandra’s family and sisters, and I think sneaking a smoke with Marlene. Not really smoking, just playing and puffing.
I only lived in this house 3 years. I commuted back and forth to this house from Old Dominion University, then I started my easy rider trip from here. For a couple of years, my life was dominated by sports– football and basketball at the High School.
Washington DC was very much part of my life. For example, I used to sneak into Georgetown with my friends to buy beer and dance in the clubs. I was also in DC during the revolutionary activities of the 60s and 70s. I also drove a motorcycle one summer as a courier.
My last full time employment was with the International Finance Corporation.
Across the street from the World Bank headquarters is the office of the International Monetary Fund, where John Huddleston worked as well as some other Baha’is that I have known most of my life.
My mother is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. She died of Alzheimer’s disease and was cared for up to the end by Ralph Jenkins, her second husband.