Reminiscing About Cereal

When we moved back to the United States in 1987, I was amazed at how different it was from Germany.  I spent most of my life in Europe, so there was a lot that I didn’t know or understand about America.

One of the first things I noticed was the cereal isle in grocery stores.  I was surprised to see an entire isle dedicated to cereal.  I wanted to try every single box of cereal.  I especially wanted to try the boxes that used pop culture to entice shoppers.

Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t willing to purchase that much cereal at one time.  Oh well, that’s how life goes.

Milestones into Adulthood

Growing up I looked forward to achieving certain milestones, because it meant I was entering adulthood.  It seemed like it would take forever for me to get a driver’s license, finish high school, and get my own car.  I counted down the years for what seemed like eternity.

However, I achieved those milestones about thirty years ago.  It boggles my mind how much time has passed.  I am now watching my niece become an adult and she too has achieved those milestones.

It just doesn’t feel right.  It seems strange somehow.  Do you know what I mean?

 

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National Military Brats Day

Today is National Military Brats Day.  Being a military brat made my childhood unique in many ways.

  1. Where am I from?  That is a hard question to answer.  I was born in Fort Bliss (El Paso) Texas, but we left when I was only a year old.  I can’t say I am from there.  I spent the majority of my childhood in Germany, but I am not a German and I can’t say I am from there.  Maybe, I am from nowhere or maybe I am from everywhere.
  2. I didn’t get to know my extended family as a child.  Since I grew up overseas, I rarely got a chance to visit them.
  3. I learned all the words to the National Anthem while I was still in elementary school.
  4. As a child, I could see tanks outside my bedroom window.
  5. At school we celebrated Military Appreciation Day.  They would fill the parking lot with military weapons, tanks, trucks, and helicopters.  The kids were allowed to climb on everything.  It was a ton of fun.
  6. We got to do fun things other kids would never get a chance to do, such as operating flight simulators and tank simulators.
  7. We also got to sample MREs.  That wasn’t so much fun.
  8. Occasionally, we ate holiday meals at the Mess Hall.
  9. Taking a bus to Paris for the weekend was a thing, so was skiing in the Alps on a field trip.
  10. I learned to be adaptable at an early age.
  11. I also learned how to properly fold a flag.

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Happy Military Brats Day

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

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This book is a collection of short stories about a Latino girl growing up in Chicago.  Each story is short and easy to read, which makes the book flow quickly.

Her childhood stories are vastly different from mine.  However, many of the fears and anxieties that surround growing up into adulthood resonated with me.

Also, I understood the writers desire to be different from those around her.  I too wanted to follow my own path and live my own life.  I never wanted to live the life other people thought I should live.  In fact, that is something that has never changed about me.

The book is interesting and relatable.  I recommend giving it a chance.

 

Hiking Down Memory Lane

As teenagers, my brother and I spent a lot of time playing in the woods.  We went hiking, fishing, and swimming in the creek.

We also built a makeshift fort and took some of my mom’s old lawn furniture down there.  Mom never did figure out what happened to her chairs.

We spray-painted graffiti under the bridge.  We wrote our names, the names of our dogs, and noted each year we were there.

Basically, the two of us ran wild through those woods and we were having a blast.

That was 26 years ago.  Aaron passed away three years ago and his birthday is on Monday.  I decided to take his daughter (Gwen) out there.  She heard various stories over the years, but never got a chance to see the area.  It seemed like a good way to honor Aaron’s memory.

I was surprised to see a lot of our graffiti is still there.  Each step I took, felt like I was going back in time.  Even though the terrain has changed some over the years, I could still recognize different sections and areas.  I still remembered my way around those woods.

Memories of those days flooded my mind.  It was a surreal feeling.  I could almost see us and our dogs running wild.  I was excited to see it all again.  However, I felt the grief of my brother’s death.

I was hiking down memory lane and my heart was overflowing with mixed emotions.

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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I was drawn to this book by the title.  It sounded intreating, so I decided to buy it.

The narrator of the book is Death, as in a Grim Reaper type character.  The story is about a girl named Liesel.  She lives in Nazi Germany, with her foster parents.  Her brother died on the train ride to their foster home, which lead to her first act of book thievery.

Liesel struggled to adjust to her new family life and new school.  However, she had a scrappy attitude that won her the respect of the other kids in the neighborhood.

In spite of the hatred around them, she learns compassion and love from her foster parents.  She also learns about courage and how to survive during difficult times.

The book is a bit weird, but interesting.  I thought it was interesting and thought provoking.

Black Forrest Family Trip Disaster

Mom, Aaron , and I went to the Black Forrest in 1987.  It was just a family day trip, so we were riding on a tour bus.

This was our last day in Germany.  The next day we would board a plane and move back to America.  Mom was looking forward to this trip, since she probably would not get another chance to see the Black Forrest.

For some reason, my brother was an absolute tyrant that day.  He was rude, obnoxious, bratty, and defiant.  In all fairness to Aaron, he did not normally behave this way.  He was usually a good kid, but that day he was on a roll.

It started as soon as we boarded the bus.  Aaron decided to block the aisle and tried to charge people a toll fee to pass by him.  Mom was rather embarrassed, but the worst was yet to come.

We were walking around and admiring all the sites, then Aaron started crying about being thirsty.  He was winning and about ready to have a full on tantrum.  Mom stopped at one of the shops and bought us each a can of soda.

Aaron took the soda and stuffed them in his jacket.  He refused to give me one of the cans and said he was “holding them for ransom.”  I started yelling at Aaron and we were on the verge of a throwing punches, when Mom stepped in to put a stop to the whole thing.  She snatched the soda cans away from Aaron and give him a good scolding.

Later in the day, we stopped at a shop that made baskets.  In front of the store was a giant picnic basket for sale.  It was so huge, Aaron could have crawled inside of it.

Aaron wanted Mom to buy the giant basket, but she refused.  That set Aaron off again.  He started yelling and screaming about the basket.  Mom had reached her limit.  She got in Aaron’s face and yelled, “I’ve had with you!  I am changing my name.  It’s not Mom or Rita anymore and I am leaving you here.”

Mom spun around and started walking away from Aaron.  I was standing there in shock and wondering if she would come back for me.

Aaron tried calling out to her, but she didn’t respond.  Aaron bellowed out, “Hey lady with the brown coat and the grey streak in your hair!”

Mom’s face was about to turn scarlet red.  She was so angry, I expected to see smoke coming from her ears and nostrils.  She grabbed ahold of Aaron and started walking away with him, without saying a word.

In spite of everything that happened that day, Mom still loved her son.  The next day, Aaron was on the plane with us, instead of being left in the Black Forrest to be raised by wild animals.