Gypsy Life

I was born in Milford, Connecticut in October, 1938. My dad was just a few years out of college and had been hired as an executive trainee by the General Electric Company. My gypsy life got off to a running start during my first five years. Most of our homes were apartments with frequent moves as better accommodations were found.

First home, Oct ’38 to Feb ’39, Connecticut Ave, Bridgeport, CT. Second home, Feb ’39 to Oct ’39, Kent Ave, Bridgeport, CT. Third home, Oct ’39 to Mar ’41, Chestnut St., Fairfield, CT. Fourth home, Mar ’41 to July ’41 Candie St, Richmond, VA (special GE assignment). Fifth home, Oct ’41 to Oct ’43, Grant St, Milford, CT

During WW II, GE had dad represent the company in dealing with the government in the acquisition of GE products and materials. We first moved to Bethesda, Maryland just outside Washington D.C., but then a year later moved to Arlington, Virginia.

My father didn’t think he was doing enough in the war effort so joined the Navy. While he was overseas, my mom, new sister, and I went to live with my two sets of grandparents, the Starks in Elkhart, Indiana, and the Johnsons in South Bend. I attended first grade in Elkhart.

Jimmy and Grandmother Stark 1944

After the war we moved back to our apartment in Arlington which my parents had continued to own and sublet. I attended second grade in Virginia.

GE then promoted my father to district manager and moved us to Kansas City, Missouri, where I attended the third grade. After one year in Kansas City, we were transferred to Ralston, Nebraska, just outside of Omaha, where I went to the fourth grade.

My annual moves became so frequent I would tell my new classmates, “Don’t get too friendly, because I probably won’t be around long.”

Sure enough, at the end of twelve months, GE moved us back to their headquarters in Connecticut and we bought a home in Easton, just outside Bridgeport.

Obviously, a new school every year was a challenge academically.

I now had two sisters and a brother after we moved back to Connecticut. We sold our first Easton home on Chester Road after two years and moved to a larger home on Sporthill Parkway. We were there for several years, but then moved to Blanchard Road, all three houses within the small town of Easton, which at least allowed me to stay in the same elementary school fifth grade through eighth.

Following high school graduation in Connecticut, I was recruited to play football by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  After one year, I transferred to my dad’s alma mater, North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.

Fairfield Prep’s Undefeated Football Team, 1956, Stark #53

I joined the Navy after graduation and was in pilot training where the various training phases moved me to Pensacola, Florinda; Milton, Florida;  Corpus Christi, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia; and Jacksonville, Florida.

After earning my wings, I received orders to a squadron in Brunswick, Maine. We first lived in the town in Brunswick on Merry Meeting Drive but then after a year moved to Dingley Island on the New Meadows River. My five years in the Navy found me being deployed for extended periods to Key West, Florida; Spain; Bemuda; Puerto Rico; and, Sicily

Following separation from the Navy, I entered the insurance business and moved to Lewiston, Maine. However, after a year in Lewiston, I was assigned to the company’s branch office and moved to Portland, Maine.

Four years later, I joined a family business in Lafayette, Indiana. Eighteen months after the Lafayette move, I was asked to relocate to Columbus, Indiana and open our company’s first branch.

I lived in Columbus for twenty-five years, but in 1990, after a divorce, I found myself living in an apartment in Nashville, Indian. In 1992, with a new wife, we moved to Bloomington, Indiana where we have lived for thirty years. After my retirement, although still having a home in Bloomington, we began spending winters in Florida. Four years were spent in St Augustine and then ten years in The Villages, Florida.

Whew, if your counting, that’s 37 different permanent addresses over the past 84 years. My wife Michele was born in France. She had one home in her first twenty years.

There’s no moss on this rolling stone.

4 thoughts on “Gypsy Life

  1. Thanks for filling in some blanks for me, Jim.

  2. Jim, wow, I’m exhausted just reading about all of your moves over the past 84 years. I just wish i could have been your moving broker for all of those years. I could have made a very nice living. Here i sit in 2 of your last moves — Naperville and The Villages, both of which are changing dramatically.

  3. Interesting, as usual.
    Are you still in The Villages? That’s where I live.
    Bill Schmidt

  4. Jim,
    The only thing I can say is “WOW”! You are sure worldly, I must say.

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