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Foto Friday: 114 Osprey Drive, Groton, Connecticut

October 7, 2011

My mother in front of 114 Osprey Drive. That’s my dad’s little Lotus Elan there, parked in the driveway. Should I tell you about riding around in the trunk of that thing? Probably not.

A military family lives in a house, generally, for just couple of years (or just a year…).  The longest we lived anywhere was four years (the shortest… a year).  So look at the house below and think what that means to this one little house in the middle of Navy housing in Groton, Connecticut.  A new family every three or four years.  Anywhere between 2 – 7 families in a decade.  How many coats of paint cover childrens’ height marked in pencil on the wall?  How many pets might be buried in the backyard? (Our beloved guinea pig, Ian, lies behind this house, near the tree I’d climb, pretending it was my lighthouse; we moved here from Maine and a lighthouse.)

Imagine the stories that could be told by the children who roamed the neighborhood — I myself can tell you about the Great Crab Apple War, the igloo my father made after the big blizzard, the boycott I organized against the cheating Good Humor man, the sledding hill called the Big Dipper (it doesn’t seem so big now), the old stone wall where the neighborhood bad boys hid our stolen Christmas light bulbs (I found and retrieved them!), and the boy who used to ride his bike and vanish into the fog of DDT sprayed behind Smokey Joe’s truck as it drove through the neighborhood.  (I often wonder if that boy is still alive.)  Oh, yeah, no big deal, but there was also that time I caught fire reaching over the stove.

Not a vintage photo. This was taken when I dragged my kids along on a “Let’s Visit Mommy’s Childhood” Tour a few years ago. (Photo by Sabra Smith)

Moving so often, I attempted to find a way to organize my environment — I’d draw maps of the new neighborhood as I learned the local landmarks and secret shortcuts for a bike.  I’d draw plans of our house (see below), or fantasize about what our next house might look like and draw imaginary decorating schemes.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 11:18 am

    I am amazed at the sophistication of your floor plan and love the glimpse of a young Sabra looking out for family and friends. It must have been incredibly hard to move so frequently; even at such a young age, you not only understood the connection between house and home but found ways to make the connection happen. I’m sure the boys appreciated the tour.

  2. Sabra Smith permalink*
    October 7, 2011 6:26 pm

    They are amused by the stories (the importance of making a connection to the past!) but the actual sites probably resonated more with me than with them. I can still see Smokey Joe going by, can remember the screams on the sledding hill, the time my friend wiped out on her bike and we ran to alert her dad that she had “meat coming out of her leg!,” the not-so-secret fort club we had in the woods, and what it felt like to sit high up in the branches of the backyard tree that I loved. It was all much quieter and less ghost-ridden for my kids.

  3. April 15, 2016 6:06 pm

    Hey….Please join Facebook group
    ” You know you grew up in Groton Connecticut in the 80s if….”
    Your story’s was interesting.. Shared it there…So relatable… Hey that map is dead on … lived that was for 9 years 280 Pelican drive…..:::::CHILDHOOD BLISS

    • Terrie fetters permalink
      February 19, 2019 5:27 am

      I lived in Gales Ferry as a child & a few other places around Groton & New London… 4. on up to 8 9 ish moved alot around in between n ended up in Maryland … @ then in Michigan..
      Both of my brothers were born in Groton.. I was born in Cumberland md. My father was in the navy before i was even born ..went to Vietnam war..i was born 1970…
      I have found memories of my childhood days…
      I loved going from place to place seeing different things being close to the ocean but i missed my friends and i think that was the hard part that i hated about moving…
      My mom has a simular picture of her outside with there car and having a big yard sale with others… I remember & going to Brownies & Awana club that i belonged to..riding my bike in Natilus park i even remb the house on 17 Cypress lane .. Now the 3 bedroom house is tore down n they built a big apartments there had such good times. .. My dad was out to sea alot but i did cherish every menories that we spent together .and the history of places he took me… Even the uss Natilus musam n going on a tour of it.. The battle field of the rev war fort Griswold . Each of these homes has alot of history behind them..people that come & go.. Oh the memories live with me to this day… Sadly my father passed away Dec 6 as im looking at old pictures i had tears but im blessed that my mom & my brothers and i had our father as long as we did…i looked uo to him… He made a career being a Navy man over 21 years…

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