Category: Military Life

Why You Can’t Go Home Again (But Don’t Need To)

Home. We all know the meaning. But what does it really mean? To me, growing up in a nomadic Navy family with 21 different houses, home was where my mother made it. But when I left for college, I sought a new home, one of my own. But it eluded me until I had my own family. Ah, this is it. So, I thought.

Skipper: Stories of my Grandfather

Sydney Nelson Patton (1882-1976) was born into the world of another era. During his life he arguably witnessed the greatest change of any generation: when he was young he rode horses, trains and read by candles but during his life he saw the advent of electricity, radio, cars, airplanes, TV and he watched men walk on the moon. During his lifetime the world grew from 1.2 billion (1880) to 4 billion people (1975), he saw the US engage in five major wars, and he lived under 17 US presidents.

Getting Busted Surfing at Fort Point, 1973

Early 1973 Awakened by stones hitting my window I grab my clock, it’s 5AM! Wow and a school day too. I grab my board and wetsuit and pile into the car with Jeff Chamberlain and Sam George as we drive over to the city; San Francisco that is. There is a slight haze on the…

Coming to America: the Journey from Valangin, Switzerland

In 2011 my brother, father and I journeyed to Switzerland to visit the small town of Valangin in Switzerland. It was like traveling back in time: in 1883 my great-grandfather, Jules Ernest Tissot (1864-1915), left Valangin for the United States. A journey that would take him and his family to Ohio, Wisconsin, to a “soddy”…

The Heart Stones of Trinidad

I took my love and took it down I climbed a mountain and I turned around And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills Till the landslide brought me down Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changing ocean tides…

Gifts from the Sea: A Letter from my Mother

So there I was unpacking boxes from like the 20th move of my life. Growing up in a Navy family I was used to the drill but had forgotten the surprises. This move was different as my wife and I had moved from Washington State where we lived for 16 years; the longest I had ever lived in one…

Playing Chess during the Vietnam War

Finally, there it was: “Pawn to Queen’s Knight Four.” I raced into my bedroom to my chess set and made the move. Staring at the pieces I smiled and immediately thought of my next move. But then I had time to think: it would be months until his next move. They call it the Game…

Coming Home

Born on the Navy circuit, moving every 2 years. Home was an elusive concept at best. As life would have it we occasionally doubled back and that place was San Diego. Living there in the’ 60s and ’70s  was a magical experience. Simple, clean, fun, and just right for starting my love affair with the ocean.…