I like to say I’m from Everett, Washington, though I only lived there for one full year. That was when I was six to seven: the second half of first grade through the first half of second grade, long enough to make my first communion in my mom’s hometown. Our next post would be Omaha, Nebraska, and, after that Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Once we moved east that was it – we lived in almost every state on the east coast for the remainder of our military life, and, ironically, that’s when Everett became the dominant home place.
Each year, the day school was over, my mom and I would pack up the blue suitcases with a snap!, load the car and drive across the country to spend the summer in Everett. Our base would be my grandmother’s house, a duplex at the foot of the long hill that ran up to the country club. After a brief visit with grandmother to drop off the luggage and establish base camp, mom and I would hop from one beach house to the next, to Lake Washington and several of the San Juans, visiting her sorority sisters from “U Dub”. They all had lots of children, and each had one my age. These 7 girls became my “best friends” – the only constant people in my life at that time. These summers formed the roots that would ground my childhood; the places we lived in between the summers were transitory and temporary in comparison.