All the places I’ve lived, and a favorite memory from each

coast-guardMy dad was in the Coast Guard, so that meant a lot of moving around. Before I was born, my family had already been up and down the east coast, and spent some time on the west coast, too. My oldest sister was born in Key West, next oldest sister was born in Monterey, CA and then my brother in Virginia. When it was my time, the family was back in Key West. I was there for a short time before we moved out west. Here’s the list!

born: Key west, FL (December 26, 1978)

Hawaii – I was just a little guy here, about a year old, so I have three memories: attending a luau, going into a building, and going under a bridge (or tunnel?) on the way to a beach. I guess the luau is my favorite because I remember looking across and seeing my baby sitter.

Hollywood, FL – Started my academic career here at Sheridan Hills Christian School. Favorite memory: Our family took a lot of boat trips. We went down to the keys, spent nights on the water, I got sea sick for the first time, and still, these trips are easily my favorite memory!

me as 4th grader 2St. Petersburg, FL –  Attended Maximo Elementary School for 2nd and 3rd grade. Favorite memory: At school I met a friend that made me laugh so hard all the time. To this day, I measure everyone else against him. He was so funny. One of my least favorite memories: My funny friend was not at school one day, then not there the next day or the next. A few days later, his mom came in and picked up his things. I never saw him again!

Newport, RI – This is where I attended 4th grade at Underwood Elementary. Favorite memory: touring all the mansions, like these.

the-breakers

The Breakers. 62,000 square feet! 

newport-mansions-43

Rough Point. 39,000 square feet and 105 rooms!

A tie for favorite: all the lamborginis. Not sure why there were so many, but it was somewhat common to see one driving around the city. And Saabs. Lots of Saabs.

2-me-and-whitney-williams.jpg

5th grade at Widewater.

Stafford, VA – I was a 5th grader at Widewater Elementary School then moved to Stafford Middle School for 6th and 7th grade. These are my favorite years from growing up. I made great friends that I still have today. One favorite memory: trick or treating on Halloween one of the years. Somehow a friend and I got separated from our group of friends, but he and I still went around to so many houses. That was a fun night! Also, our house was situated on a golf course so we’d go out there to play football, capture the flag, flashlight tag, and hmmm, maybe hit some golf balls. I also came up with a list of things that happened in middle school that absolutely would not happen in today’s world. Here’s a link to that:

[11 Things You Can’t Do In School Anymore]

Miami, FL – Westminster Christian School for 8th – 10th grade. Favorite memory: being on the JV basketball team. And it was in 10th grade I had my first kiss. I know, I was late to the party! 🙂

New York, NY – Curtis High School for half of 11th grade. Favorite memory: I got to see a taping of David Letterman. It was really fun. We lived on Governors Island, so it was nice to have a place with grass, and trees, unlike most of New York City back then! Also, riding a ferry past the Statue of Liberty every day on the way to school was pretty neat.

Tallahassee, FL – Finished 11th and 12th grade at Leon High School. My dad retired from the Coast Guard in 1996 so we moved back towards family in Florida. Favorite memory: this is getting difficult because with each place, I have more than one favorite! But to name a few, I’d say my aunt’s lemon squares, my grandfather driving 120mph in his Isuzu Trooper to get me to school, pb and j lunches at The Brown Bag Express, basketball with friends, and graduating from the same high school my mom graduated from.

Note: I stayed in Tallahassee for college, as well. I have so many great memories in those 4.5 years. Too many to pick one!

Nashville, TN – This is where I’ve lived since the mid-2000s. Also too many great memories to pick one at the moment. So I’ll go with the lame answer: My favorite memory of Nashville is all of them. 😉

-Out of the Wilderness

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The Rhode Island Rider Rides Again

The last time I considered myself a skater was in 4th grade. I was living in Newport, Rhode Island and had the sickest neon green Tony Hawk skateboard in the neighborhood. It was custom built with two red wheels and two green. The trucks were tight, the grip tape was grippy, I was a mini Tony Hawk flying around Fort Adams that year. Thanks in part to my Airwalk shoes, I almost forgot. The ride was short-lived, though, because the very next summer we moved to Stafford, Virginia. Skateboarding wasn’t a thing there, so I traded my Tony Hawk board for a Starter jacket, and yes, my name was sewn in. It was righteous. Don’t believe me? Just ask JR Sheets, Chris Taylor, or Joey Willis, only the 3 other coolest guys at Stafford Middle School.

They say to do something every day that scares you. Well, today covered my portion for the rest of the month! Why? Because I flew on 4 wheels again.
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But it wasn’t the riding that scared me. You see, I thought it wise to find a safe and large area to get comfortable on the board again so I went to the empty parking lot of Brentwood Baptist Church in Tennessee. With a long board, the trucks are much looser than a standard skateboard because they’re made for speed, turning ability, and distance riding. I gotta tell you, riding again was so fun… and a heck of a workout! But this empty parking lot was becoming dull. I needed more challenges. I mean, hey, this is the heroic reincarnation of the Rhode Island Rider. People need to see this. I packed up and went home, only to prepare for my skateboard ride to Sam’s Club. Hey, I might be the Rhode Island Rider, but a man’s gotta get some skim milk, know what I’m sayin’?

Literally, I needed skim milk.

Sam’s Club is a bit over 2 miles away and there’s a few ways to get there. I knew the highway was not an option, so I picked the second best choice, which would have less car traffic. The first half mile was pretty much all down hill and I thought to myself, “People must be tweeting about this epic ride as they see me wistfully pass by.” I coasted on the down hills, pushed on the flats, and walked the up hills. It wasn’t till arriving at Sam’s I encountered my first problem. Stopping. I was inches away from cars passing me, down hill mind you, and I needed to make a sharp right turn. Stopping. How to do that? Stopping! No brakes. I envisioned myself attempting this right turn and busting it amongst onlookers laughing at this 34-year-old man in a mid-life crisis. Stopping. I decided to continue past the turn and let the upcoming hill slow me down. Stopping got a whole lot easier when the hill did it for me. Then I had to back track about 100 yards to Sam’s. Slightly embarrassing for the Rhode Island Rider.

With the milk in my backpack, I ventured out to return home. I went a different way back and it was actually a pretty good ride. I didn’t like the constant bumps of the sidewalk, though. I learned that pretty quick. I stayed on the edge of the outside lane for some of the time and apart from a few squirrelly encounters with manhole covers that were entirely frightening, I did pretty well.

Did I do something that scared me today? Yes. Do I consider myself a skater? Of course. Will the Rhode Island Rider ride again? Check your rearview mirror and you tell me.

Skate or die! Rider out.

-Out of the Wilderness