Back to Illinois, West Chicago out in the suburbs: new again, at that awkward age, heading into the adolescence of a young man in America. Well, I had two (pretty) good years in We-Go, playing soccer (j.v. and varsity) on some good teams and making a couple of good friends. But dammit!, here we go again–moving…almost back to FLA, but the job opportunity for dad fell through so that we had the dreaded prep of moving for a couple of months, but then, not. But then, yes–on to New Jersey.

(Can you see that my life is moving in a spiral? Just look at a map and draw some loose point-to-points…)

We hit Jersey at the end of my junior year, and the timing was actually fortuitous: as crappy as it was to move again, we got to NJ in time for me to make a couple of friends for the summer and find out about a soccer team. So New Jersey wasn’t as bad as it could be, and senior year got going in a town by the sea, a home and school mere blocks from the mighty Atlantic.

But lucky me, my dad wasn’t done yet. Before I could graduate high school it was off to FLA again, to Clearwater. I looked into early graduation options so that I would not have to enroll for just a few months of high school, but no dice. So I moved again, this time with a mere nine weeks remaining in the school year. Nine weeks in a new school was a drag! A mighty, mighty drag. I did not go to graduation, no need…

So there you have it, eight moves in my first 17 years. [ten actually, but two of the Pennsy moves kept us in the same school, albeit in different neighborhoods] Ah, whatever, I’ll call it an even ten moves. Ten moves before graduating from public school! Eight different schools! Come on! When I told my therapist about this, she was taken aback and acknowledged that those constitute a lot of moves and would be tough on a child.

I know there are some positives to take away from all of this, but I will definitely be looking at all aspects of this upbringing as I write. I don’t think those moves are inherently bad or hard on kids–they could actually be super-fun and mind-expanding–but my experience was a bit tough, being the type of kid I was with the old-school parents I had. Things were not really explained to me, no-one did anything to help me figure out how to adapt, no-one asked how I was doing or what the moving around was like for me.

And that’s not intended to be really critical of the folks; like I said, I think that’s part of their generation, and being old-school. They were not progressive-minded in that way. My parents were sweet, loving peeps, and I believe they did their best…

But ten moves!?! wow….