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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.

3 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

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