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The Admiral’s Child

Shenyang, China.

After my father went off to war in 1944, my mom and my sister and I rented a sweet little house on Charles Street in Point Loma, near the US Naval base at Coronado.  That place was so nice.  We had a cat and a loquat tree and some chickens and my mom hung out with the rest of the Navy wives whose husbands were stationed in the Pacific.

I played down by the water, bathed in the glow of my mother’s love and didn’t have a care in the world.  And almost every day, we got a letter from my father.

“How much I miss you!” my father would write.  “I think about you three constantly.  I can’t wait to see you again!”  It was like getting letters from Santa Claus every day.

Good grief.  I was SO happy.

And then the spit hit the fan.  My father came home.  And my father tried to run our house like he ran his LST-50 back in Occupied Japan.  Plus we moved to Los Angeles and then on to a solid Republican town just south of SF while he hunted for work.  Bye bye paradise, hello concentration camp — or so it seemed to me at the time.

My sister rebelled by becoming an obnoxious brat.  She got into so much trouble all the time that she used to always carry a paperback book in the back pocket of her jeans so that the wire coat hanger she got spanked with wouldn’t sting so much.

Not me.

I rebelled by becoming wishy-washy.  Whatever anyone said to me, I would agree with.  I also learned to lie, back-pedal, manipulate, pass the buck, let other people take the fall, hide under the bed, become two-faced, whine a lot and flip-flop.

And I learned how to do all this just from being a lieutenant commander’s kid.  Imagine what I would have been like if I had been an admiral’s child!

JANE STILLWATER can be reached at her blog: http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com

 

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Jane Stillwater is a freelance journalist, war correspondent, blogger, political Cassandra and author of “Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today’s Middle East.”

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