Graduated and Gone

My dad says he hopes he lives long enough to finish writing his memoirs.  He sends out a section at a time and has reached the point in history at which he was about the age I am now. At that time our family was still based in South East Asia and I was finishing high school.

Every year as upperclassmen graduated, we bid them goodbye forever.  The great majority of us were ultimately headed back to futures scattered across the “mother country.” The reality of never seeing each other again roared loud and scratched deep. This was before Facebook was even a glint in Mr. Zuckerberg’s eye… in fact he wasn’t even born yet. 

He was right though about the desire for humans to connect. I have moved a remarkable number of times and still have shoeboxes of hand-written letters and notes snail-mailed over Christmas breaks, summers and furloughs-- yellowing paper promises to always stay friends. Fellow classmates were so much closer than the actual relatives we only saw in person for a few awkward days every so many years. 


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Graduating from high school was a rite of passage to my mother and father’s country. Excitement for new adventures mingled with deep sadness for leaving the birth country forever.  Tropical heat and light and music and smells and masses of people everywhere would be traded for winter and prairie and freeways and a campus where a lot of people went home on the weekends. 

Trailers pulled up to dorms and offloaded stereos and TV’s and matching bedspreads with curtains that room-mates had chosen together weeks before.  Welcome to America. Welcome to physically resembling the majority of people around you but with a brain and a belly that were truly foreign. 

Farewell.  Farewell tropical skies and beaches.  Farewell oldest friends.  Farewell parents. Yes I know about saying good-bye.  I hate being an expert at it.

Next:  Deliveries Along the Road to the Cliff

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