Kauffman writes perceptively about the isolation and social dislocation of military families, though my own family can testify to the fact that lifelong connections and service in the armed forces are not mutually exclusive. In Whidbey my mother delivered my longest friend, and his mother delivered me. Our fathers served in the same squadron, our mothers were both naval nurses. He’s now working his way through the process to become a naval aviator himself.
Nonetheless, Kauffman-esque thoughts were on my mind when I rode with my mother out to Tysons Corner to see Rod talk about his new book. I often wondered if these thoughts even occurred to her, having grown up in a nomadic Air Force family herself. I felt like I had to broach the subject, if for no other reason than to clear the air, because the worst thing would be to blame them for a vague impression that I’d missed out on something. And I truly don’t. She’s retiring from the Navy in June at the rank of Captain after a lifetime of service, and whatever my views on our overcommitted military are, I couldn’t be prouder of her.
I told her that I had come to believe, to paraphrase Elton John, that as with Mars, DC ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. They’re equally airless and the latter is at least as removed from the concerns of real people. I’m a long way from having children of my own, I told her, but I want them to grow up loving where they’re from, in the deep way that Rod expresses so well in Little Way. I don’t think that’s possible here, and more than that, I think it’s perverse to be at peace in a city whose primary business is making sure nowhere else in this country is.
I told her it bothered me that I have no hometown.
I’d like to read the thoughts of you readers, military brats or no, who don’t believe you have a hometown. What do you think of when you think about where you’d like to be buried?