What strange and new place were we traveling to this time? My parents were overly enthusiastic about this particular chapter in their ongoing saga of ‘The Company Man’. We made a holiday out of this transfer from one town to another and like the magic of how one’s laundry gets cleaned and appears back in the closet and in one’s drawers we showed up at this new place, drove into a new fancy trailer park, and there was our glorious trailer, sitting there with a big grin on its face. Don’t ask me how that happened for I was still fascinated with the journey to this place.
We drove south from the garbage dump covered with mud for what seemed like days. We toured through previous towns, just long enough to once again seek affirmation and confirmation that our weird and wonderful life made sense to everyone else who had settled down and set up roots, and had developed real relationships with people. Like movie stars we would arrive at people’s homes, long enough to sign some pictures, eat their food, and then off we would go again – each new stop being more and more grand than the one before. The scenery changed. It was no longer windy, narrow, two-lane roads, making it very difficult for my imaginary friend to follow along – let alone keep up with us. The road had straightened and widened. The mountains gave way to larger and larger valleys. The sun stayed out longer and the snow disappeared.
We then arrived at land’s edge and boarded a ferry. We made the epic crossing of the strait from mainland to island and disembarked. I thought the journey was over at this point as it had filled my mind with amazing sights and sounds already but we turned north on this island highway and followed the winding coastline for what seemed hours. Along the way I would be watching the bobbing fishing boats that dotted the shoreline. There would be massive mountains of shelled oysters that caught my curiosity and offended my nostrils. The squawking of these large white birds flying overhead would fill my ears and I hadn’t even noticed that my imaginary friend didn’t make the ferry crossing with us.
Our new home was an island city that was right on the coast line. Fresh water streams poured out into the ocean bays. The vegetation was rich and lush and thick. The trees were different to look at. Everything smelled different. Everything looked different. We were on an incredible adventure and had now arrived at the castle and were enjoying the treasures kept within the walls. What a place. We unpacked, although all of our possessions were already back in place before we entered our trailer again for the first time. My parents seemed very happy and afterwards I realized that this move was a significant one in the life of my father’s career. It was a huge promotion for him and that became more apparent when they decided to sell their trailer and move us into a large five bedroom home on a piece of property that must have been a few acres.
We were still in the city and our neighbors were enjoying homes just as large with lots just as large. Our backyard was large enough to play a full game of baseball in. At the far end of the yard was a grove of trees. On the other side there were train tracks and on the other side of those tracks there was a snake pit and a very large park, larger than a few city blocks. What a place. What a time in a young boy’s life. It would be here that I would fall in love for the first time. It would be here that I would be transformed as a person. But, it was here that I would encounter trauma so significant that it would forever shape and inform my life. Never, would I look at this beautiful coastal city on an island the same way again.