Leaving Home

Apr 29, 2016

Leaving Home


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #20
Rite of Passage Seven –A Fate Worse Than Death–
(1951-1953) Age 17-19 years old

Q: When did you first leave home? How did it feel to have to make your own choices at last?

I have explained that I was a solitary individual without friends of my own age and having always had my own room. Suddenly everything was totally different. Hundreds of young men surrounded me, thirty-one of them in my room. My only prior experience with such a ‘crowd’ was in my early childhood at school. Was this to be a repeat?

Being first in line had provided me with several benefits. I got to choose which of the thirty-two beds would be mine. I had drawn my ‘kit’ and received my ‘shots’ with what seemed to be a new needle. My hair had been almost completely removed and I had changed into my jeans.

As my roommates arrived they were met by me, sitting on my made-up bed, polishing the brass on my webbing. It was as though I knew the ropes and I became, for just one day, the ‘old soldier’ in their midst.

I doubt there was any one of us that felt ‘at ease’, perhaps many missed the familiar and were apprehensive about the immediate future.

We shared one absolute factor…we belonged to a new more rigid world, one with very firm rules. I had left my home where I belonged and where I knew the boundaries. Everything about me now was unfamiliar, my options were severely limited and my greatest desire was to somehow…survive!

SO…what about now?

I’ve heard it said, over and over…so many times “Military service makes a man out of you.” This was certainly true for me and I do catch myself wondering if our present generation of eighteen year olds would also benefit from a couple of years of military service?

To live within a definite ‘chain of command’ was to learn how every layer of authority was responsible for the ‘welfare’ of those beneath them. It was for my benefit that I obeyed. The orders I was given may have sometimes been wrong but their intent was right.

I was to live with limited options for the next five years and then, much later, for another five.

I look back with gratitude for those ‘contained’ years that kept me, for the most part, from the folly that can come with youthful freedom.

P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Creations Love


  1. Patti Jean Meehan Says: 1:10 am

    I left home at 21. I moved from Indiana to L. A. California. I was excited but very scared when I boarded that plane. However I lived there for 15 years in the same apartment and made a career for myself. It was a gun scary time but I would do it again!

  2. Jean Says: 3:37 am

    Graham – I fully believe military men make the best husbands because they are dedicated to service. It is in serving one another that we are blessed. Chores are shared with no whining. Military men are not afraid to take out the garbage, cook, clean house, do laundry, sew, and iron. They are true men and they know it and are proud of it. They value cleanliness and strength that is shown in honor as well as brawn. They are intelligent with many skills that benefit mankind. Most of all they are protectors of their own and their community. My husband is a VietNam vet – the most horrific war of our time. Many deserted out of fear (though they claimed political objection) and many were fortunate to be saved by going to college. Many of these may have become admirable adults as well but give me a military man any day. God bless America – and all our allies.

  3. Jean Says: 3:28 am

    Graham – viewing “Lifestyle #9” – it is the first time I have seen Treena live. She IS a delight! She sparkles with charm. I can much more fully appreciate how you loved her so much and how she blessed you every day. You were truly blessed to have each other.

    Debbie – Bless you

  4. Debbie Says: 8:37 pm

    I did not leave my home area until I was 54 years old. My husband accepted a job in Seattle. I was laid off from my employer of 26 years and he was out of work as well. The plan was two years for Debbie’s great adventure. In two years Mike was dead and here it is year 11 and I’m still here. God places us all for a purpose, His. He has blessed me here beyond all expectations. I think that was because I obeyed His calling and His apparent change of my plans… He is able especially when we are not

  5. Lynn Severance Says: 1:09 pm

    I have two responses from this posting.

    First is Graham’s wondering if the eighteen year olds of our generation could have a positive experience from the structure and authority of regimentation serving time in the military. We have had those that age (or perhaps a bit older) serving overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq during the horrors of those wars which is the ultimate in military service. As Mike shared, no one (man or woman) leaves such a time unaffected. Yet there is military service entered by choice – non war related – that could serve a purpose as Graham said he experienced.

    Secondly, I grew up in a military family and experienced effects of a father who served in two wars (WWII and Korea) and learned from the authority that helped him advance in his career and where he became the one in authority over others. He provided well for our family in the basic everyday needs but the only structure he knew well, that began when he was eighteen years old, was not the best for building relational communicative skills within our home life.

  6. Karl Guggenmos Says: 3:31 pm

    I was always scared to be away from home alone when I was a kid, actually I was paranoid. We did go on trips and vacation but I always had my family with me. Well after my apprenticeship I left for Switzerland to work at a Hotel in Klosters. It was a disaster!!! I became so homesick and just took off one day and went home. My family was very disappointed. So soon after that I made another attempt and went away again,this time to a Resort in Bavaria, to my surprise I never got homesick again. I was drafted into the Military then I moved to the states and homesickness was never an issue again….until recently. As a matter of fact it’s not homesickness but a strong desire for a feeling of home. I just lost that feeling of “this is my home town”. I guess I will not get this back until I reach my final home.

  7. Lynn Says: 3:23 pm

    I left home at 17 for college. Having been told that I was capable of doing anything I wanted, I found the world I became immersed in did not share the same philosophy. Girls were not welcomed in the science community and subtle harassment was almost a daily event (I didn’t understand what was going on). I started volunteering at a school for disabled girls and that was the beginning of God’s mysterious ways. I left that university after two years and returned after being even further exposed to special needs children. From there I want on to becoming a trauma physical therapist (far cry….except alphabetically) from astrophysics; however, I had a much stronger sense of fulfillment and that I had found my “gift”.

  8. Jean N Sozio Says: 1:24 pm

    P.S. I have just received your DVD set “Lifestyle #9”. I LOVE it!! I love how it coinsides with Flash of Silver and The Gathering Place. I have enjoyed reading both sooooo much.

  9. Jean N Sozio Says: 1:22 pm

    I could not wait to grow up and be on my own. I was always the youngest and longed to catch up to the adults that outlined my world. I was very mature for my age, an over achiever in school, and bursting to be free. I was married at 17 but my persona might as well have been 25. I continued to finish school and graduate – the only person in our school history to be married and not pregnant. Little did I know I would continue to be a ground breaker in my future endeavors. Unfortunately this meant sometimes bending the rules which for a time provided me much grace and then much repentance. My husband was an honorable military man who entered the service at 20. I don’t know how these young men do adjust to such a stiff environment knowing their lives are also on the line. It is a devotion most worthy of praise. God bless you.

  10. Ira Krizo Says: 9:52 am

    I left home right after high school at 17. Went off to college to be a commercial airlines pilot, only for God to say “Hey! You aren’t a pilot, you’re a cook!” I was excited to be able to be out in the world making choices on my own. I many good choices and many not so good ones, but I have no regrets, as that’s how God made me into who I am today.

  11. Mike . Says: 8:01 am

    I’ve never known any one who came back from the military a better person, especially those who saw combat. The experience of having their will broken, their self-esteem torn to shreds, their privacy invaded, and their ability to make their own decisions removed from them, left them unable to live a fruitful life. They became totally dependent on others, having to be told what to do all the time.

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