...Capt. Mike and I lived in different States and didn't know anything about what our futures had in store...but at the young age of 17, we both made the decision to join the U.S. Air Force...
We started out in Banbury, England. It was a "city house" with no front yard; the front door opened up to the sidewalk. It was narrow and tall with a cement "backyard" and hardly any rooms, but it was home. There was a candy shop on the corner and I remember the distinct smell of the nearby tar factory.
Next we moved to the place of my favorite memories, the little town of Helmdon into the 3 story, 500 year old stone cottage with the cold floors and big windows. The memories are too much to list, the big yard, they hay barn down the lane, the horse across the street, the chicken lady who sold us eggs, the milk-man, the little brick schoolhouse...it's like a dream, and every child should live there, :).
For the last 2 years before we returned to the U.S., we lived in a "normal neighborhood". An average house with yards and neighborhood BBQ's, where me and my 2 girlfriends would scout that neighborhood as Charlies Angels on our bikes - we were so cool!
We moved to El Paso, TX when I was 10, Dad was retiring and we would finally "settle" in one place, or wuold we? Dad finished up his last year of service by commuting each weekend from New Mexico. "Settling" in El Paso meant that in the next 7 years we would move 10 times within the same town... By the time I was 12 and my sister and I were the only 2 kids left at home, my parents chose to divorce...that's when Tina and I began the back and forth living arrangements. We moved between parents, apartments, houses, and sometimes we stayed in the house and our parents changed places... it was confusing to say the least.
At one point, we both decided we wanted to live with Dad. We lived in a one bedroom apartment. I remember that place well...
...Our living room was decorated with a fold out couch, a single bed, a dresser which also served as a TV stand, Dad's "lazy-boy" chair and, a coffee table, and then there was that GREEN and WHITE wallpaper ~ oh my! This is where we lived when my Dad met Edye, who later became my stepmom.
After Tina graduated and joined the Army, Edye moved in with us ~ we moved again, and then one more time just for fun (?)... at least this time I actually had my own bedroom...the first time in my life that I ever had a room to myself!!! Wow!
2 months after I had my 17th birthday I graduated High School and did what was expected; I got a job. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. For the last 5 years I had taken dance classes but never mastered the art, acted in more plays and acting competitions than I can remember, tossed a flag up in the air while marching with the band, but no plans for my future were made. I had goals of course,...I wanted to move to New York and become a stage actress, or maybe I'd just "become" an artist and live on the beach in a cute little cottage. I had no clue about reality.
Dad and Edye were pretty busy living their own lives, and weren't too concerned that I was now dating the 27 year old man that hired me at the pizza place...they never even asked to meet him. Come to think of it, they never asked his name or age. They were just ready for me to get on with my life, after all I was done with High School, it was pretty much time for me to move on.
After a couple of months I began to realize that I wasn't going to be able to support myself by serving pizza, college was not an option, but the military and it's fantastic opportunies were brought up OFTEN. Life's choices were looking slim, so at the tender age of 17, in December of 1985, my Daddy signed me over to the U.S. Air Force, I got on a bus and headed off for Basic Training...