25 June 2005

Early Memories-Arizona and Montana

For lack of anything interesting to post, I thought I'd put to use some old family photos I had scanned and reflect on some early memories.

I was born in Tucson, Arizona at Davis-Monthan AFB. I only have vague memories of Arizona, and they all pretty much look like this:

These were the hills across from our apartment, and on the back of the picture my Dad wrote that this was his first climb.

Here are my parents in 1968, shortly after their wedding and newly arrived in Tucson.

My Dad was an Air Force mechanic who had been training at Sheppard AFB when he met my mother at a Pioneer restaurant in Wichita Falls. She was a waitress there and also worked at a day care center.

They had not been married long before Dad went overseas to Korea and Vietnam, and he was largely absent until the time we moved to Montana. Mom spent a lot of time back at my grandfather's dairy ranch in Windthorst.

My grandfather retired and sold the old farmhouse in 1975, so my memories are only slightly less vague. It was built in 1913 by my great-grandfather, Lukas Zihlman, according to his own design. This house was quite possibly responsible for my interest in history, being a tangible link with a sense of place and family. It was home to three generations of our family, and I was one of the last children to grow up there.

Same as it ever was . . .

. . . same as it ever was!

My Dad was assigned to a rescue unit in Great Falls, Montana when I was four, and we stayed there for five years. Our first home was crummy looking trailer in Black Eagle. I remember very little about it. I considered all the other houses on the street to be mansions because they had two or three stories, but I now realize they were just typical frame-vernacular buildings. I can't find a picture of the actual trailer, but this picture was taken in the front yard after one of Dad's fishing trips.

To the right of us lived on old lady who bought coloured bread, and in all this time she is the only one I have ever heard of who did that. On the left was the entire Little Bear tribe, a group of thirty Indians crammed into a three story house. I was never allowed to associate with them because Dad suspected they stole his tool chest.
Later we moved to a better trailer at the Missouri Meadows Trailer Park, located right next to the Missouri River, so every year we were chased out by the flood. When I think of home in Montana, this is the place that comes to mind. Probably because we stayed put for two whole years, but also because this is where I started school and this is where I met my first friend. The friend was Robert Phelps, who was a Jehovah's Witness, so I developed an aversion to religion at an early age. The school was Mountain View Elementary, which I attended from kindergarten to 2nd grade. Mountain View was pretty modern for 1974, red-brick buildings, brightly coloured plastic chairs, and most importantly, a mountain view.

Ramblings to be continued at random

No comments: