I was born in Ethiopia. Specifically, on a US Military reservation by the name of Kagnew Station. My father was a 'lifer', who retired from the US army after 21 years of faithful and unquestioning service to our country. He does not regret his service, but sometimes unfondly remembers certain incidents of his service. I may write more in this in the future, but for now, we can move on with the platitude 'life is what it is'.
What prompted me to write this post was a conversation with my parents at my fathers birthday dinner a few days ago (he turned 68). We were talking about current and historical events, in the context of Joe Bidens recent comments that 'the next president will be tested in office, sooner rather than later'. As this conversation winded around the Cuban Missle Crisis and the us domestic social impact of the building of the Berlin Wall, my mother piped in with the following story:
"you know, the berlin wall is the reason you're here"
My father had been stationed in africa in the summer of 1961. My Mother stayed home in upstate new york living with her parents, and raising my sister, about 18 months old then. Kagnew Station wasn't known as a "permanent chnage of station" destination, so service men were not compensated for their families to move there, though housing was provided if they provided their own transportation. As my father was a corporal, they didn't have the financial ability to pay for my mother and sister to fly over.
When the wall went up, My mother became very worried about the likelyhood of the cold war escalating.
"So I sold our car, scraped money together from family and friends, and got enough to move over to ethiopia with your sister and as much clothing as I could afford to bring."
I was conceived very shortly after that.
I quipped, in response "So, we all have nikita khrushchev to thank for my existence?"