The air base
had been closed by the government. That's what I had heard, and it was, as far as my 5 year-old brain knew, a bad thing
. It was the early 90's, America
was in a mess of a recession
and the Air Force
simply couldn't afford to maintain an otherwise superfluous base near Portsmouth
, New Hampshire
. The Air Force people could just move, that's what they always did, that was their life. But we were Red Cross
, our lives were tied to that base, so we were stuck quite royally.
We're gonna move was what I heard next. My five year-old brain really knew that was a bad thing. Father had been developing a succesful janitorial company there, we had about 20 employees, we were making good money, we had moved into a classy Victorian house, the kind that say George Washington slept here. We can't give that all up, can we? But, we had to. Without the airbase Father could see that this town was going to economically collapse.
He was right. Father had been born in Detroit, he had seen what economic ruin can do. He did not want to see it again.
Wrestlemania was what I was all about. The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage! The Rockers were going to fight the former tag-team champions! This was so cool! While all of this important information was circulating through my five year-old brain, father and mother were busy packing, setting plans into motion, deciding where we would move next.
Aunt Karen had offered dad a nice home in Detroit, all paid for, only if he'd come back to the family, to his hometown. No, no, never. He didn't want to go back there, not now more than ever. Mother didn't want to go there, she had been a fundraiser in the 70's, she had seen it too.
Father had been keeping a steady computing hobby then, he could see their potential since he got his first Sinclair calculator in college. If we were giving up Red Cross and if we were giving up the company then, by Father's reasoning, computing would be a safe bet. Computing was not very big on the East Coast, and the recession had hit there hardest. Mother's family was scattered, so we would get no help in choosing from them. Eventually father narrowed it down to three potential choices:
Hawaii. Warm, isolated. Not really much in potential industry, but father had created two succesful companies in the past, he could do it again. Father had enough ideas and enough know-how to build a thousand succesful companies. Problem with Hawaii, though, was bugs. Flying cockroaches. Father hates cockroaches, Mother hates cockroaches, even my five year-old brain hated cockroaches. Cockroaches with wings were worse. Scratch that.
California. One of father's old companies was here. Father had done lots of work here, he knew the scene. Lots of computing presence here. Still, it had the same problem. Bugs. We wanted to avoid bugs as much as possible. So we came to the last possible choice:
Seattle. Somewhere nobody in the family had been to. Father knew that that upstart Microsoft was there. Boeing was there. Too cold for bugs, but not too cold, much warmer than Portsmouth. The University of Washington offered thousand dollar tuition to residents. Looks good. Let's go.
We packed things up into our two vehicles. A generic white utility van and a beat up Honda. Terry, one of our employees, had decided to tag along. What for, we didn't know, we didn't care. Father got the van. Mother got the Honda. I rode in the Honda with my face glued to the window looking at endless pastures and the occasional cow. Man, Randy Savage was so much better than this.
The only event worth memory during the whole trip was closely following a car that had lots of sparks and smoke coming out of it. Mother didn't know, I certainly didn't know, but Father knew. He got her to pull over and scolded her for ignoring such an obvious danger sign. Father was right about that too. The car would later lose control and, had we been following, we would've been killed.
We arrived in Seattle one day or another, I had lost count, from boredom. My first reaction was: "I hate it, I wanna go home."
Getting a place was harder than we bargained for. We had to stay at a sleazy hotel that rested right next to the interstate in Bellevue for a few weeks till we could finally find a place. During that time I watched the news. I usually never watched the news, it didn't have cartoons, it didn't have Randy Savage, therefore, it was boring. But this time the news was about Portsmouth. It had been hit by a hurricane. How fitting.
After we found a nice apartment complex, we moved in. Terry vanished, never to be seen again. Her vanishing signified the end of my ties to Portsmouth.