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THIS CHILD MILITARY
By Rebecca L. Harris
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Rebecca L. Harris
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI was born on a Military base in the Mid-West My mother said that when I was born that my father wasn't in the room that he was sitting out in the Hall she said that he couldn't stomach it. And when I came out I came out sleeping. I can remember that I can remember my first cry. I can remember the strangeness of the world. I can remember the first time I saw people I had no clue what was going on. My Parents both grew up in a small mid-western city in IL. My mother Debbie Stencil came from a family of five children Her mother Lorraine was a cook at a Top notch Restaurant. And her father John was a general laborer who worked odd jobs. I am proud to say that before my grandmother ever met my grandfather that she had riveted ships together during WW11 she had also worked at summer resorts. My father Warren Reynolds grew up in a family of eight children to Mr and Mrs Cliff & Helen Reynolds they lived in a house that they had built on a Quiet street in a lower section of the city called the Hollow. My dad's Father origionally came from Minnesota his parents Michael & Anna were pig farmers. He came to IL for job opportunities. He met my grandmother Helen while working at LL Electric. My parents had something that I did not have Roots. My mother and father grew up along Friends and knew their families. I am not a least bit jealous. I wouldn't trade my life's experience for anything even if it meant having a lack of bonds. My father signed up for the service when he was eighteen. According to his oldest sister he just got on the bus and went. My mother graduated from High school and landed herself a job at a Factory where she made cabinets. My parents met at a local beer garden called The Hideout. She was two months pregnant with me when they got married at a local Church that time my father was stationed at the military base in the Mid-West where he had lived off base in a trailer. Mom and him moved themselves into a lower apartment by the time I was born. I remember being in a playpen when my mother was busy and id try to grab her attention by throwing glass baby bottles on the floor and they would break "oh Becky not again she would say." lord knows what she did to make things better. I remember being a terrible toddler too. Dad bought me two Beagle pups that would love to escape the yard and I would follow suit. My mother would find me and bring me home and my father paddled me good. My father had at that time a secondary job as a bartender. He loved to drink and had an explosive temper at one time he ripped our telephone out of the wall. Mom would get scared and took me on a greyhound bus back home where She'd fix herself up with welfare until my father won her heart back. Alcohol had a significant part in our lives. She left him multiple times because of it. Shortly my sister Heather was welcomed into this world And like me she too was born on the military base. Dad was present in the delivery room and though mom was in pain he told her to take it like a man. That is just one of my Mothers Memories of my father She often considered him as a bully because he could have a negative way with people. Heather was a true surprise. She was suppose to be a boy she had dark brown hair and became a royal pain in my life. She knew how to push peoples buttons. Not long after she was born Dad was stationed to a military base in Alaska. He had purchased a Chevy Van It was Sky blue with a sliding door and bubble windows in the back. It was lined with blue and white shag carpet, and had a bed and a small black side couch. It became our travel vehicle he drove it from our Mid-Western Home to another Base far North. I had lived in my Mid-Western home for close to three years. I can barely remember that trip North. I remember riding on a narrow mountain road I remember looking through the bubble windows in the back I remember passing countless numbers of trees the road was so narrow at times that it would scare me especially when my father would encounter an on coming car and would have to drive in reverse to the nearest clearing to let the other person pass. It would happen on numerous occasions where he would get out and flip a coin to see who would go and drive in reverse or even butter the guy up with a can of beer. My mother was mostly praying and taking care of Heather and I. "Warren don't try and kill us". He'd reassure her that everything would be alright. I put a lot of trust and faith into my father and thought he was a man who could do anything in the worst situations possible. He was a handy man he knew how to use tools and was well equipped. My mother was relieved when we got to the base we were put up in the base shelter until there was housing available. I had a ball running around the place taking her lipstick to the shelter walls. Shortly we moved into base housing. I was still too young to understand anything about my dads career but would soon have my eyes opened up to it. The base housing contained a circle of housing complexes each to my belief could house up to six families. They were two story units with Two bedrooms, one bath a living room, and dining room a front and back porch, a kitchen and complete basement with a wash room (his tool room) dad had a work bench in there. That was my government home snuggled safely behind government gates. That's where Heather took her first steps that's where I learned how to Ice skate, Roller skate, and ride a bike we were shut in from the outside world. The base had accomodations to substain us Our family socalized with other Military families we partied and camped together. We had attended church at the base chapel and would watch movies at the base theater. At first I didn't have many friends. My fourth birthday party was a small gathering of my father's friends and their kids. They were all strange to me. I didn't truly gain a friend until I was in kindergarten her name was Shannon she had auburn hair and freckles we were inseparable. I always wanted to be with her sitting at her table. I remember bobbing for apples together. She and her younger sister Katie lived with their parents in the military housing complex near ours. I envied them for having Cable Television and having other nice things like dolls, and Canopy beds but most of all I liked their dog He was to my knowledge a shepard mix and one day I tried to pet him and he jumped up and bit me. I carry a little scar from that one. From time to time I remember crying my eyes out that I didn't have a dog and at that time I had severe allergies and having a dog or a cat was on the list of things that I was allergic to. I had Allergy shots twice a week for nearly seven years as time went by my allergies have gotten better. I remember the hill that our housing complexes sat upon called possum Hill everyday a lot of us kids would walk it to school and back, It had wooded areas on both sides of the main road that went up it. Each side had playground at the top of the hill. We had a lot of close encounters with Moose on that hill. They liked to come up to our porch. My scariest encounter happend one morning when I was in the 1st grade I remember walking to school with a boy named Corey he was a grade up on me. I can remember walking with him to school one day and hearing a noise out of the blue. Ka Thump! Ka Thump! Ka Thump! I remember looking into the woods to the left and right of me. And I just happened to turn around and there was a Bull Moose chasing down after us. I was like run for your life Corey! Run! It chased us halfway down to school we crossed a road and it stopped in it's tracks and ran back up into the woods. If I didn't turn around that day to seek out that noise we probably would have been a couple of human pincushions. I remember trying to tell what happened to my mother and she didn't believe me. Corey was the only witness. And one day he was gone. Never to be heard from again. Families came and went all the time my mother cleaned for a lot of the families. She instilled religion into us as even though my father never liked going to church. I remember having lots of good programming back in the day shows that really entertained Like The Dukes Of Hazard, Happy Days, All In The Family, and The Barbara Mandrell Show Dad liked his shows Horrors, and The News. He'd watched the Horror shows, and enjoyed the fact that they scared the crap out of me. I would hide behind him in his recliner. My father hung around Barracks men Andy, and Ben they liked to hang out together and I remember him having a Drinking party one time when my mom wasn't home They would give Heather and I so called horsey rides around the living room. Andy was the wild one, Ben was much more silent. Dad would take me to the Barracks on occasion to see them. I remember the yellowish color of the building's bricks the metal ashtrays by the entrance doors and the long red hall carpet. "Come on Becky lets go see Ben." I remember the hallway being barely lit and the majority of light that there was came from the men's open doors. We walked to Ben's door which was the closest to the entrance. My father went and said Hi and told me to wait with Ben while he went to see Andy. Ben's Barracks room was furnished with a twin bed, a chair and a small television with stand and an individual bathroom. My father came back for me and told me that Andy had a surprise for me. His room was towards the end of the hall. I remember walking past the men's open doors and seeing them peer out at me. I got to Andy's room and walked in. "Andy" I said as I seen him standing in front of his bathroom mirror. I came a step closer and he turned around and came at me with what appeared to be a bloody cleaver and had blood dripping from his lips. He was moaning like a mad man. I screamed at the sight of it all and ran out his door back into the hall where my father was laughing hysterically "look Becky it's only toothpaste you see." I didn't find it to be very funny. He made me swear not to tell my mother eventually I told her and she sided with him. My life at school wasn't always peaches and cream. I had been held back a year due to being sick. Kids were always playing pranks like putting tacks on the teacher's chairs a lot of them weren't friendly I participated well and enjoyed Art, and books. Our playground was surrounded by mountains. I liked the Merry Go Round. I liked to skate during recess, and play Cowboys and Indians, And Cops and Robbers and Monsters in a Cage. Some mornings I'd walk to school in the dark and after school I'd walk home in the dark. The Aurora Borealis reminded me of Angels dancing in the sky. The seasons changing, picking Dandelions in the spring we had school carnivals and cake walks and field trips. One time we went to the Zoo. But there was one thing missing Family. I can always remember asking my parents about my grandparents and Aunts and Uncles and cousins. Why can't we see them? And when can we call them? Twice my mother, Heather and I flew to Back to see them. We would stay for two weeks and be gone again. My grandmother Helen died before my sister was born and all I know is that she held me when I was a baby. She told my mother not to marry my dad. My grandpa Cliff He was a heavy set man who I last remember as a man who chewed Tobacco and pushed a shopping cart around full of whittling sticks I missed him greatly. We would stay at Grandpa and Grandma Stencils during those times where we would play with our cousins just enough to know them and get on grandmas nerves. I accidentally spilt some Cherry Kool-Aid on her Nice White table cloth and she said "Debbie your child is nothing but Demon spawn." Tears rolled down my cheeks where I felt that she didn't love me. One week mom shipped us out to a farm while visiting and my Allergies flared up. She wanted to have fun with her friends. That week was very unpleasant. We went home. More families came and went. I would try to befriend everyone in our housing complex. I can remember faces. I can remember lots of first names. One in particular Don. He was my best friend. It was the time in the 80's where an E.T. had Landed in the Movie theaters and Started a candy craze. Us kids had our bikes. I had a Sky Blue Huffy Banana seat bike called the Sky Queen and Don was a proud owner of a BMX He was a dark haired boy who wore a denim jacket. I first noticed him sitting outside by his porch and asked him if he would like to play with me. I am not well aware where he came from. We quickly became friends. We lived for today because we knew our situation. We enjoyed riding our bikes together, Setting up traps, and building Forts, and watching out for moose, and looking out for others. We talked about tomorrow as of living life in the Civilian world and having a Grand Fort. He was my prince. He was so heroic one day when he came to my call for help. A female moose had found it's way out of the woods into the playground where Heather and Katie and I were playing. We had a platform slide and I quickly told them to climb up to the top I followed them up and we waited I seen Don step out of his housing unit onto his back porch and I hollered at him. He looked back at us and without hesitating hopped on his Bike and headed strait to where we were. He bravely chased the Moose back into the woods again. I gave him a kiss. And then he told me he had to leave and then he was gone. And tomorrow became tomorrow without him and I cried. I believe that he is out there somewhere. In my heart he is alive and well. Possibly a Successful man, He's probably got a beautiful family too. With my beliefs, and hopes. I will be reunited with him someday. I never give up hope. There are others that I am looking for as well. My remaining days on that Base became long without Don. I was very lonely. Eventually it was Shannon &Katie's turn next. And our family too. I was so happy to find out that both of our fathers were to be stationed at another military base out west. Truthfully I wanted to go back to Illinois where I wanted it to be my permanent home. I loved pulling out my parents old yearbooks out of my mother's Cedar Chest and longed to go to their High school, get married and have kids of my own and most of all get to know my family. We had lived in the northern fortress for five years. I turned nine on the road. The biggest thrill of my Birthday was getting to ride on a Horse for the first time at one of our many campsites. We went and visited White Horse Canada. We stopped in Illinois before we went to out west. We drove up to grandma and Grandpa's Stencils house and knocked on the door and you should have seen the look on grandma's face she was so surprised. We stayed at Grandpa Reynolds house. We went boating, swimming, fishing and to the fair. We played with our cousins. My father's second sister my Aunt Marcie has a rental property just across the street from my Grandma and Grandpa Stencils it's located on the corner of 12th and timberline rd. It is a nice three bedroom one bathroom home. It had a family living there at that time Heather and I enjoyed playing with the little girls who lived there. The house had a Billiard table down stairs in the basement, It had a neat stairway to the attic and a laundry chute built into the bathroom vanity. We would have fun opening up It's little door and looking down into the basement and waving at each other. I did that one time and got caught by our friend's teenage brother and He exposed himself to me in the bathroom I got out of the house quick and made what Happened a nineteen year old secret. We left for our new home that same day. When Heather and I were babies we were both baptized. I was baptized in Illinois at Holy Name church with relatives sponsoring me. She on the other hand was baptized at the Midwest military Base at the base chapel her sponsors were a service man and his wife Named Lyle and Lucille Grant. They were stationed at the Military Base out west at the time of our move. They had two kids named Greg and Mary. Before arriving at the base my father took us to revisit my birth state It was a place that I could barely remember. We went to visit old neighbors. That was the last time I've been to my birth state. The Grants took us in for a couple of nights until we found a rental home in a small city. The house we found was a small two bedroom home there was a large Mormon family living next door. A couple of their kids liked giving us grief for being new and Catholic. We located Shannons's family and I was still envious of Shannon's possessions she had a waterbed and a Ten speed bike. But they gave me the most wonderful gift a black lab puppy named Duke. He became my release at that moment in my life I still had my allergies and continued getting shots I was also on allergy medication At first we had tried Cats a gift from a neighbor girl named penny who became a quick friend.
Excerpted from THIS CHILD MILITARY by Rebecca L. Harris Copyright © 2012 by Rebecca L. Harris. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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