Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States

Mother of 3, grandmother of 3. Compulsive writer. Single, not especially "looking."

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Passport Picture

I'm looking at my passport picture, or rather at the picture of my mom, little brother and me, taken in 1946 before we went overseas to join my father in Korea. It's not a smiling picture. They told us not to smile, for some reason. But as I look into the eyes of all three of us, I see fear, resignation, and a vacantness in my eyes. I was tuning out. Unable to face the fact that my dad was gone, and we were to sail across the Pacific Ocean in a few months to join him.
The fact that we had just had our inoculations didn't help our mood, either. Among the myriad injections were plague, cholera, tetanus and typhoid, and something called Japanese B Encephalitis. Man, that one stung like a bee. I remember the typhoid shot as making my arm feel like it was made of lead, and a red rash appeared where it had been injected. Someone at school bumped my arm, and I burst into tears. Geeze, they thought I was a wimp.
We had to get booster shots, too, as we completed our tour in Korea. Fortunately, we knew what to expect from this round of inoculations, and since we were all, at the school, getting shots at about the same time, we were very careful not to bump against another person's arm.
Ah, the life of a military brat. I never knew any other kind of life, though, so I don't know if I liked it or hated it. Probably a little of both. And isn't that typical of anybody as they look back on their childhood? When I hear about kids having been molested, or neglected, or otherwise abused, my heart goes out to them. I don't think anybody had an ideal childhood, to be truthful. Our parents did the best they can, and most of the time we were okay.
At least I feel that way.

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