Fly Away Home
A memoir about the ups and downs in life and the back and forth travels of a multicultural family.

GIrL MEETS bOYS

This is a preview to the chapter GIrL MEETS bOYS from the book Fly Away Home by Maggie Myklebust.
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In 1969 Richard Milhous Nixon became the 37th President of the United States and America was involved in a war where an average of 300 American soldiers were dying every week. The
war was in Vietnam. We were told in school that America entered the war to prevent a communist takeover. I had no idea what communism was, but figured it had to be something really bad to fight over. When two of my mother’s brothers were shipped off to Vietnam, the far off war suddenly became an ominous part of our everyday thoughts.

The sixties came to a close with two major milestones, the first for America, when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. The other was on Mother’s Day, 11 May 1969 when my mother gave birth to her second son, Ludvig Myklebust Jr. and like Neil Armstrong, my parents were over the moon.

The Seventies arrived and the war in Vietnam raged on. Every night on the six o’ clock news they would give a body count of how many American soldiers had died that day. The number didn’t include those missing in action or held as prisoners of war. This heartbreaking, daily ritual was something I never wanted to watch because it always left me feeling sad and worried. If I didn’t watch I felt unpatriotic and guilty, especially as two of my uncles were over there and I was wearing a constant reminder of the war around my wrist. We had been given prisoner of war bracelets at school. They were a simple metal band with the name of a soldier and the date he was captured engraved on it. Mine said, Captain Patrick Henry, Jr. and a date in 1969, which I can’t remember. We were supposed to wear them everyday until the war was over. They were a sign of hope that these men, although lost, were not forgotten.

Thousands of miles from Vietnam, in Brick Town, New Jersey, there had been a few major changes in our home on Midstreams Road. There was a baby in the house and this brought out a softer side to my mother. I was older, much more aware than I was when Mary Lou and Hans were born and now, thanks to this new little baby, there was love in the house. My father, although still drinking, had found a greater purpose in his life too. He and my Uncle Ted had decided to become partners in their own fishing vessel. Uncle Ted already had one boat, a clamming boat called The Don. He would continue to run that while my father would run the new boat, which they had built and called, what else, The Viking.

In 1971, I turned thirteen and this was a very big deal for me. After waiting for what seemed like forever I was finally a teenager.

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