Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Playground Diva Remembered

Life in DOD housing, Berlin, 1990

Here's little Keely, all ready for a clown birthday party at Rachel's house. I think this photo was taken during the summer of 1990.

We were living in military housing in Berlin, Germany. The Army had rented a German apartment building that we shared with 13 other military and Department of Defense (DOD) civilian families.

We were in Berlin for the Army-Air Force Exchange System (AAFES, the PX people.) Other civilians in our apartment building included another AAFES family and the family of a teacher who worked at the DOD school.

Most of the other families in the building were military. Most of them had little children, so it was fortunate that the backyard had some playground equipment and a sandbox.

Some of the wives worked, but several of the wives stayed home with their young children. There were children in the backyard during most of the daylight hours, and Keely loved to go out and socialize.

Rachel (the one who had the clown party) was the alpha female of the playground. She was 7 years old, going on 30, and big for her age. When she barked, everyone jumped. She decided who was shunned and who was accepted. She could cuss fluently, and she knew all the facts of life and then some. Her parents smiled and said, "Well, that's Rachel."

I worried about Rachel being a bad example for Keely. Because of our living situation, we saw Rachel just about every day all summer long. There was really no way to avoid her. She was on the playground from daybreak to dusk. I was really glad when school started again and she was gone for part of the day.

Rachel would be about 25 years old now. I'm sure that she is still running things, wherever she is.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.