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storytime by nf

When I was 9, my family moved from Aurora, IL (Wayne and Garth's hometown, but not mine) to El Paso, TX. When my parents broke the news, the first thing I said was "Does this mean I can have a pony?" because Texas = HORSES! And then there were tears, snotty, entitled middle-class white little girl tears.

So we moved in the middle of the school year. First to an apartment that I only remember because one time I had to break into my own bedroom when I forgot my key after school. Then to a cul-du-sac called "Seaview," into a house that was like the one in Illinois, my dad's attempt to placate my mom for uprooting us. Then to two or three different places on Ft. Bliss, moving every time my dad got a new rank.


photo credit: Eric Carlson

It was the house on Seaview that I remember most. The front yard was red lava rock, some bricks, and one odd prickly bush that the big-headed, malicious ants crawled on. The back yard was a small concrete patio and a vast expanse of grit, walled off from the neighbors with cheap rocks and mortar, and a sun-bleached wooden playhouse.

I made friends with the nerdy and creative kids across the street and we founded the "Seaview Seahawks" secret-but-anybody-can-join club. We made ID cards and met in the playhouse and talked about Big Things.

I decided I would try to grow green beans in the shade behind the playhouse. In February, I tilled the dirt and took out the biggest rocks. In March, I planted some seeds (I think my mom got them for me - she said she missed the fresh crunch of beans off the vine). I watered the vines every day and watched them come up all gangly and light green. Some started to put out tender white flowers.

In April we moved into base housing. I don't know why. The next time I saw my friends from the Seaview Seahawks they told me that a new family had moved into our old house. They had a son about my age, who had a grand time stomping the bean vines into the dust.


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Weird...When I was 9 I ALSO moved from Aurora, IL. Although I only moved to the S. Suburbs of Chicago - then eventually to Madison. Small world.


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Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



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