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Remembering army posts

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 in Uncategorized

Perhaps it is coincidental, but on Memorial Day weekend Howard and I went by boat to Great Diamond IsIand in Casco Bay (Maine) and stayed at the Inn at Diamond Cove for a brief (chilly, rainy, but cozy) time.

I say coincidental because I had not been there before and had not known...until we arrived...that the Inn is actually a military barracks, re-purposed beautifully on an abandoned army post from the late 19th century.  The officers' homes are now privately owned, encircling the old Parade Ground.

All of this kind of geography was so familiar to me, having spent so much of my young life connected to military installations: Schofield Barracks (Honolulu), Carlisle Barracks (Pennsylvania), Washington Heights (Tokyo), Governors Island (New York), and Fort MacPherson (Atlanta). The big brick houses encircling the open space. The subsidiary buidings: the PX and commissary, the adminstration building, the infirmary, the barracks where the soldiers were housed.  There was a little schoolhouse, which reminded me of the small school my brother attended on the base at Governors Island (older kids, teenagers like me, went to boarding schools, or (like me) to a private school in the city,reached each day by boat and subway) And it brought back the feeling of freedom (kids could..and did... run loose, quite safe) combined with rigorous discipline (5 PM. The sound of the cannon, and the bugle playing Retreat.  Everyone stopped and stood at attention as the flag was lowered each evening)

There was always the stigma of being an "Army brat" if we lived in a place where we attended the local schools with the civilan kids...being the "other" in a place where we were transient, and the local kids would be in the same school system for their entire childhoods.They knew all the local slang, and where the hangouts were, and what the cool clothes were. And we...well, we had a cat named NEKO...because that's what a Japanese cat would be called; but the Pennsylvania kids had cats named Boots or Fluffly, which was so...ah, American.

I loved my peripatetic childhood and adolescence.  Diamond Cove brought it back, and especially on Memorial Day weekend, when we were honoring our military memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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