The places I have lived.

27 Jul

I started blogging to write about my dealing with COPD, ergo the title of my blog, and so far I have had 29 posts, and I believe 28 deal with COPD in some way or fashion.  Originally I thought that people would flock to my blog. But I was wrong. In reality no one has flocked to my blog, and that is okay.  But thru this exercise I have come to enjoy (or think I do) the challenge of writing.  I have found that it is extremely easy to write about something you’re living thru, or you’re familiar with. Or it could be something you love and want to share your thoughts about.  Since I started blogging I have read almost 200 other blogs, on a variety of subjects, written in a variety of styles, by folks that for the most part know what they are talking about.  But the constant has been that whoever was writing, was writing about something important to them. There are a lot of very serious things written, and there is a lot of tongue in cheek stuff written. So enough serious for now.

Today I want to write about all the places I have lived during my 62 years of existence. I will qualify these places as somewhere I had a mailing address, and lived at longer than 6 months.  Of course I am not going to give any specific address, but I will share a tidbit if I think it is interesting enough.

I was born in Baltimore MD. I lived in 2 different locations in Baltimore and both were row houses.  The unique aspect of the 1st house was that it was a few blocks from Memorial Stadium there in Baltimore and I lived here during Johnny Unitas’s heydays. The only real memories of the time spent at the second location was this is where I got stranded in a tree and Mom had to climb up it to talk me down (I was like a kitten caught in a tree), and when I was out playing one day and fell, landing on my face, and losing my 2 front teeth.  Later coming to find out how hateful being call bucktooth could be.  I also remember my brother Warren dying of crib death while we lived here.  BTW I have 3 surviving brothers and 1 sister all younger.  I am the oldest.  Thru the 1st grade.

The Family moved to Easton MD, from Baltimore.  We lived there for 2 or 3 years.  I remember playing marbles in the dirt next to the elementary school, getting caught, and having a teacher/principal take all of our marbles until our parents came to school to claim them. I also remember the weeping willow tree in our backyard.  I have recounted the story about this tree 100’s of times and may share it as a blog at some point. Thru the 3rd grade.

Next stop Reynoldsville PA.  Reynoldsville is a coal mining town just north and east of Pittsburgh, we lived there 1 winter. The house was coal heated, and Stephen King could have written about it in many of his more scary novels.  I do have fond memories of sled riding during that winter, and a school trip we made to Washington DC to visit the national museum’s that was cool. Began the 4th grade here.

Next stop Norwalk CT.  Don’t remember much about this place but I was in the 4th grade.  I remember cutting my right thumb (dam near off) and it required 5 stitches to fix. A zillion years later I can still see the scar.  Finished the 4th grade here.

Next stop York PA. I remember trick or treating with 2 of my brothers well beyond any reasonable time.  We were out to get that very last piece of candy no matter how long it took us.  If the lights were on we knocked on the door.  I also remember a couple of trips to the principal’s office, but that could be whole other blog.  Finished the 5th grade here.

Next stop Dover PA.  I remember living next to a soybean farm, and making friends with the grandson of the guy that owned the farm. I also remember going to a parade in downtown Dover where one of  the featured things was the dragster “color me gone.”  I remember the roar of the engine and that was the real start for me to enjoy racing.  Yes, yes “color me gone” was a dragster but I feel in love to stock car racing.  Finished the 6th grade here.

The next stop Waynesburg KY.  My grandfather’s farm.  We lived here while my father transitioned between jobs.  I have a ton of fond memories, and no real negative memories at all.  The farmhouse was warm and inviting, thunderstorms on the tin roof, the outhouse was far enough away, the food was great, and we could explore and explore.  We also went berry picking with mom and grandma, we churned butter, we hand grinded ice cream, learn to listen to baseball on a radio (which to this day is still my favorite way to be involved in baseball), and most importantly learned I didn’t want to grow up to be a farmer. And while I learned I didn’t want to be a farmer, my understanding of its’ importance grew and grew, and to the day I have nothing but the utmost admiration for farmers and farming.  Here is another place I could devote a ton of words to and not do it justice. Spent the summer between 6th grade and the beginning of 7th here, and summers before and after.

The next stop Shelbyville KY.  Church was a giant aspect of my life in Shelbyville.  Being a good Baptist, I was there all the time. I had Sunday School and Service, and Wednesday night church, youth groups, as well as, many other activities.  I also remember trying to learn how to play an instrument.  I was given a trumpet, from which I learned I sucked at trumpet.  Later in life I mastered air guitar.  I remember playing organized football, JV to be specific.  I played center on offence and nose tackle on defense.  I didn’t weigh more than 115 lbs at the time, but I was good. I was better on defense than offense and I did play both ways.  My JV number was 55 and even today that is my favorite number.  I also remember my 1st kiss, I don’t remember her name, but I remember the kiss.  I remember learning how to play chess, and enjoying the process of thinking ahead in the game, and the important of staying aware as I played. And to remember my moves as well as my opponents moves. These were lessons that carried over into playing cards, and other games, at which I am fairly decent.  Shelbyville is another place I have nothing but fond memories.  Finished the 7th and 8th grades here.

The next stop Louisville KY.  Louisville is the place when someone asks me where am I from, I say Louisville KY, then I add via wherever I was living at the time.  I now live in Valrico FL, and this is where my home is, and this is where I will be dust in the wind at some point. My family is in Louisville, and their families live there.  Of me and my siblings, I am the only one that left Louisville. I only lived there for 4 years, but I have a lifetime of memories from those years, so so many of the great wonderful memories, and many memories I wish would fade away.  I completed High School in Louisville KY.

This is the 1st stop into adulthood for me, San Diego CA.  WOW!!! I could keep this entire section simply by typing NAVY, and leaving it at that.  But I won’t! Boot Camp and A School kept me at NTCC San Diego, CA from April to November 69.  This was my 1st tiny baby step towards growing up, and gosh did I stumble, and fall on my ass a lot.  To say I was immature, well they were baby steps towards adulthood.  I don’t have what you would qualify as fond memories of Boot Camp, but I don’t have any nightmares either.  I hardly remember a thing I learned at either, well I can remember the experience.  I didn’t care much for living in the barracks, but I didn’t have a choice.  The food was pretty good, at least I think so, I don’t have any bad food memories, but I have better food memories at other Navy Facilities (the USS Independence for sure).  I spent 8 months stationed at NTCC (time served in Boot Camp and A School), I spent the next 8 months in GITMO Cuba.

The next stop Norfolk & Virginia Beach VA. The rest of my time in the active navy was spent stationed in Norfolk VA (7.5 years).  I lived in 5 different places in either Norfolk or VA Beach, VA, during the 7.5 years I was stationed in the Norfolk area, either on board a ship or at a shore station. I lived in 3 different homes with my 1st wife, (1 in Norfolk and 2 in VA Beach), and 2 places with the lady that would become my 2nd and final wife. Both were in Norfolk VA.  I have many great memories of this period (after 1st wife), from motorcycle rides in the countryside, ship’s parties, pizza parties, getting sunburnt on an Atlantic beach, and many gathering at our apartment.

The next stop the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Area; Alexandria, Arlington, and Woodbridge. I moved to Northern Virginia after my time in the Navy was over.  And I lived with my current wife every minute.  For over 25 years I lived and worked in the Washington DC area.  Our 1st home in NOVA was a 1 bedroom apartment, located in Alexandria.  It was a quaint little place with a lot of style and grace.  It was in an older building on the ground floor.  The rooms were large (to me they seemed to be), and it A/C.  Right across the street was a little Chinese restaurant which the wife and I enjoyed a few times.  We were poor then and didn’t go out much, but that was okay.  I also was the duty super for the building, emptying trash, and keeping the place kinda of neat and clean, and helping out as best I could. Also, during this time I got my 1st post Navy job as a security guard for the National Gallery of Art.  To this day that was one of the best jobs I ever had.  My appreciation for art increased 1000 fold.  I worked 3rd shift, and would walk the galleries by myself, of course ensuring their safety and marveling at their beauty.  To this day I still enjoy looking at the Impressionists painting.  The blending of color, how these painting seemed to have no focus and as you changed position they became quite clear.  I could go on but then I would show what a redneck I really am.

Anyway, after spending about a year at this location we moved to Woodbridge where over the next 5 years we lived in 2 apartments and 2 townhouses.  The apartments were staging area/homes until we could get into our new homes.  Not much to say about Woodbridge except that it was a killer commute to and from DC everyday.  On a good day the commute was only an hour (one way) on a bad, it seemed like it took forever (and when you have to pee anything beyond 5 mins is forever).  The homes were nice, they were comfortable and they were ours.  Each place a little better than the one before.  I will say at the time we lived in Woodbridge there were NO decent golf courses to play at all.  I would have to drive 20 miles to get to a course. What a PIA that was.

After Woodbridge we moved back to Alexandria (where we lived for the next 20 yrs), we got a place not far from the end of the Blue Line, and suddenly my commute became very simple.  This gave me an opportunity to read and relax coming and going, and by the time I got home I was chilled enough that most of the daily stress had slipped way.  Our home in Alexandria was a colonial, and the gardens created by my wife were fantastic.  Little tiny flowers would poke their heads thru the late winter/early spring snow. Throughout the yard flowers and bushes would bloom in the proper sequence, layers and layers of flowers.  During the summer we put out the slip and slide. The kids had a great time.  We had a lot of good neighbors and friends.  It was a great home and a great environment.

Circumstances change, and ours changed the beginning of 2002.  My wife changed careers and we moved our home to Valrico FL.  This is home, it is a wonderful house, and the gardens are great as well.  This will be the last move for me, and I am glad.  I really am tired of moving, we have the perfect home here in sunny Florida.

My job did not allow me to make the transition to Florida as rapidly as my wife’s, I moved down to Florida 2 years after her.  During my 2 extra years in the DC area, I lived in Arlington, and then back in Alexandria.  For over a year I lived with close friends, they opened their home and always made me feel welcome.  But being honest, I don’t miss living up north at all.  Florida is my home.

This has become my own version of War and Peace, when I began this I had no idea how long it was going to be.  If you made it all the way thru I am grateful and surprised.


Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Ramblings


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5 responses to “The places I have lived.

  1. Wanda

    July 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I did–I read it from beginning to end, and laughed more times than I can count. I had no idea you lived so many places during your childhood. This was a terrific way to cover a lot of territory in a relatively short (!?) post.

    • Karen Gumpert Bixler

      August 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Wow you really lived a lot of places especially during your childhood years. Did you and you 2nd wife have children?

      • flaham

        August 7, 2012 at 1:02 am

        We did indeed, a daughter, all grown up now with a daughter. We all reside in the state of FL. Regards, Bill.

  2. huntmode

    December 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Dear Bill, I didn’t count ’em, but you and I may tie – I have moved 45 times and had severe worries re completing a security clearance… All for naught so far!

    Loved the commenting re farms and farmers – dear to my heart as well.

    Did you purposely leave out what you did in the Navy? On ship and off? You’ve spoken a bit (into the future for this particular post time) about your D.C. work and receiving the flag that sits on your desk. Grin. I’m going to see that flag in person one day.

    • FlaHam

      December 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Hunt, Smiling, clearly I believe you won. Thank you for your comments, it has been wonderful rereading these posts. I know I have force you into your wayback machine as I have traveled thru your posts. Yes filling in the paper work for a security clearance was always a major PIA. Until I started paying attention to all the work that went on at Grandpa’s farm I didn’t have a clue. But once the educational process kicked in, I got it, and I got it completely. I spoke briefly about the navy here, but if I am not mistaken I have written a considerable amount about my years in the Navy. I could review it and add an addendum at some point. It would be a pleasure to show you my flag. You are welcome anytime. Take care, Bill


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