Friday, September 05, 2008

The Admiral's child: One probable reason why McCain flip-flops so much
  • (Click on the photo of young Ashley in the pink shirt to see a portrait of my father)

After my father went off to war in 1944, my mom and my sister and I rented a sweet little house on Charles Street in Point Loma, near the US Naval base at Coronado. That place was so nice. We had a cat and a loquat tree and some chickens and my mom hung out with the rest of the Navy wives whose husbands were stationed in the Pacific. I played down by the water, bathed in the glow of my mother's love and didn't have a care in the world. And almost every day, we got a letter from my father.

"How much I miss you!" my father would write. "I think about you three constantly. I can't wait to see you again!" It was like getting letters from Santa Claus every day.

Good grief. I was SO happy.

And then the spit hit the fan. My father came home. And my father tried to run our house like he ran his LST-50 back in Occupied Japan. Plus we moved to Los Angeles and then on to a solid Republican town just south of SF while he hunted for work. Bye bye paradise, hello concentration camp -- or so it seemed to me at the time.

My sister rebelled by becoming an obnoxious brat. She got into so much trouble all the time that she used to always carry a paperback book in the back pocket of her jeans so that the wire coat hanger she got spanked with wouldn't sting so much.

Not me.

I rebelled by becoming wishy-washy. Whatever anyone said to me, I would agree with. I also learned to lie, back-pedal, manipulate, pass the buck, let other people take the fall, hide under the bed, become two-faced, whine a lot and flip-flop.

And I learned how to do all this just from being a lieutenant commander's kid. Imagine what I would have been like if I had been an admiral's child!
I'm sending this essay from an internet cafe in Shenyang, China, where I'm trying to get everyone to wear Obama buttons. Will be back on September 12. Hopefully.