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Home is where you make it

Submitted by on Monday, 4 April 2011 No Comment

I’ve lived in nine different cities and towns in my adult life – journalism in the early part of your career is a lot like the military. Two or three  years and you’re out, except the move often is on your own dime. The moving companies are just as bad, though.

Some places I’ve loved and wouldn’t mind returning to someday. Others I had to do a mental sales job on myself before moving. “They have  a lot of Reds baseball on cable here. This is do-able,” I told myself  before packing up for one particular town.

There’s common denominator, though, in all locales. I knew going in that each would be exactly what I made of it. I could  be miserable for two or three years, or I could to figure out a way to make it work. Either way, it is a decision.

Fort Irwin’s a lot like that. Yes, there are some things that are unattractive. The 70-mile round trip to Walmart, for example, and the fact that when you get there, well, you’re at Walmart. If retail therapy is your drug of choice and you need your fix fast, within a week of arriving here you’re going to be shaking like a heroin addict whose dealer got busted .

But there also are some things that are very appealing. It’s a small base with a small-town feel. Just back from deployment, Dad was constantly surprised that the guys and I run into an acquaintance virtually every time we step out the door. “Do you all know everyone here?” he asked on his second or third day home.

No, we don’t. But after 10 sports teams, two academic years across two different schools, a year of karate classes, swimming lessons, arts and crafts programs and more, we do know a lot of folks. It’s what makes Fort Irwin work for us.

Yet, I know other spouses with kids who are ragingly miserable here. I’m trying not to sound sanctimonious, because I realize that not everyone is as outgoing as I am. Even I understand isolation – there was, after all, an off season when there weren’t even any baseball games to look forward to and the weekend yawned ahead, long and lonely.

I also can see where Fort Irwin would be more challenging for those without kids and the ready-made connections through schools and sports. But, honestly, it does help if you at least get out of your house.

That’s why I’m amused at the things that pop up online occasionally, such as the recently created “I can’t stand Fort Irwin” Facebook page. “This is a support group to share complaints and agrivations off all things fort irwin.” I guess not all that many people are aggivated. There are only two members.

Still, I don’t understand a “support group” set up to gripe. Why would someone want to support someone else’s agony? And what good does it do to complain on Facebook when the military has an online site set up to do just that. Granted, few complaints result in changes, but you still have a better chance there than on Facebook.

I supposed there’s something to be said for the “misery loves company” theory. Still, I’d rather do something, anything other than sit around and complain for two or however many years. Especially since we don’t even get the Reds on cable here.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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