We're All Migrants

Trixie Brown, in white, Dust Bowl survivor, left the dust in Follett for college in Amarillo, got married to Dr.Jack, in Houston dental school. Jack joined the Army and while at Ft. Ord in 1956 they bought a home on the Monterey Peninsula. It took Trixie a while to get to California but she's glad she did.

Mother-in-law, Trixie, told Ken Burns in his Dust Bowl documentary, how she watched her dad and uncle load up the car as they prepared to drive to Canada in the morning. The family had homesteaded in Follet, nestled in the armpit of the Oklahoma Panhandle and ground zero for the 1937 Dust Bowl, since the 1870’s but it was time to go. I guess California was for wimps but nevertheless the rains came and they stayed. By 1963 the five kids had scattered to more economically viable locales.

Marion, my very own hard knocks school electrical engineer father, fled his home of record, Gosport, Indiana, whose GDP was dependent on a gravel pit and a tent factory, to work for P.R. Mallory in Indianapolis. Marion was a before migrant – got a critical skills Army deferment and after the war Gosport just had the gravel pit. When I was six just trying to get over my new bicycle high bar, Marion said that we were moving to Cincinnati where they had curbs.

The real reason for our family’s migration was his upward mobility to chief electrical engineer at Baldwin Piano & Organ. Around 1959 Baldwin migrated their manufacturing to Little Rock, Fayetteville, Arkansas and Conway, Mississippi. My parent’s last move happened while I was in college when they retired to Altamont Springs, Florida.

Timing is everything but my leading edge migrant father hadn’t planned on the S _ _ t that hit the fan in 1981 when D.H. Baldwin stock went from $50 to 50 cents a share. The fan blew away 2/3rds of Marion’s savings, which meta-physically speaking, brought on a heart attack six months later.

Personally, my first forced migration, occurred when I got drafted twice in 1968 – definitely not good timing. I had no one else to blame but me, for all my chasing the rainbow’ migratory stories to Sao Palo, Cairo, Atlanta, Scottsdale, Houston, Evanston, and Eugene. However, like many Baby Boomers, "saving for a raining day," was not in my vocabulary, and taking a "liar loan" from Citi-Mortage at three times my true income, turned me into an economic refugee to Zhengzhou, China.

After, seven years of teaching ESL in Mainland China - cheer-leading as my specialty - Jane Marie, my putative spouse, said let's move to Turkey.

We are on the cusp of our fourth year in Antalya. So far, it’s looking good but then again, timing is everything.


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