Sandy Dunkin New York

Right now I imagine a former home of mine is receiving a lot of rain, lightning, and high winds. Many former homes have been part of those circumstances.

I was born during a typhoon in the Philippines. This may be why I don’t really freak out during big rains. My birth versus the storm: I won, but I’ve also always made sure never to get too cocky. Don’t stand in an open field under lightning clouds. Don’t play in puddles and get ringworm.

I lived in Guam. Seems if you live in the Pacific Ocean, you have to expect the whole range of tropical weather. Which would include earthquakes. And if volcanoes were nearby, those, too.

I lived in Key West. Consistently warm weather often compelled my brother and me to stay inside with the air conditioning. But I played a lot outside, too. But I mostly blame Key West for making me break my brother’s arm.

I lived in Jacksonville. Hurricanes mostly miss Jacksonville. The city often catches the fringes of the swirlstorms, and it receives a lot of rain, but Jax has had its share of lucky breaks when hurricanes decide to turn northward toward the Carolinas. And that’s not so lucky for the Carolinas.

I lived in New York City. That damn town greeted me with a blizzard, and it rained when I left it nearly 7 years later. That place brought out my allergies and gave me a true glimpse of depression. Rain, snow, strikes, sweltering and stifling heat. I miss that place.

I live in Utah. The sun is out, I can see the mountains that still hang on to the turned leaves. I walked two blocks through wet and heavy snow the other day, and I felt nostalgic. Today, nary a trace of that white stuff. But the mountains cling to that, too.

New York, I know you’re prepared. Candles, flashlights, water, food, batteries. Board games, radio. Dance parties. Storytime. Quality time. Run to the Hills. Or Washington Heights. I’ll be praying for you.

Some Facebook Message Exchanges – Kids from Key West

From this friend, who found me:


I grew up in Key West and lived in military housing. I had a very good friend named May and I’m trying to see if that is you. If so, do you remember me? My name is Kathy Bruening and I lived on Spaulding Ct in Poinciana Housing. We would have been about 9 or 10 years old I think.

My response:

Kathy, I remember you like it was 1984. You were a year older than me, and you had this amazing Cabbage Patch Kid collection. Your dad was a chief, and you guys drove a minivan. You have an older brother. James? Sorry if that’s wrong. I lived in 1622A, which was kind of in the cul de sac, and you lived right where Spaulding Court opened up.

I blogged briefly about us one day.

So, yes. You found me. What a thrill!

I hope you are well.

And, here’s an inquiry to someone else I remembered:

Hey, I was wondering if you ever lived in Key West, Florida? And, if you lived in military housing? And, if so, if you did for an elementary school talent show you did gymnastics tumbling passes to the Genesis song, “Sussudio”? I know that’s random, but that is all.


Her response:

Oh my word yes thats me. Did you live at 1622 A Spalding Ct.? Did you go to Gerald Adams? That [sic] I think I know who you are. I may even have a picture of all of the neighborhood kids.

What would happen if that wasn’t her? What if I just posed an absolutely bizarre question to someone I mistook for someone else? That’s a very specific memory. Plus she has a unique name. So, the chances of my guess being right were pretty high.

Dude. Back handsprings to “Sussudio”! No one else in the world would have done that. She should have won that talent show. She took second place. First place winner was a 5th grade girl who sang Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.” To be fair, she rocked it. She sounded fabulous for a 10-year old.

Also, I hope, hope, hope  my old friend posts that photo of all the neighborhood kids. If she does, I promise to share.

About the Userpic

This is David John Anderton. I got him when I was about 8 years old. I might have been 9. I remember saving my allowance for a long time, and I remember really wanting a Preemie, because I wanted a baby, and I knew the ones with long hair and pet dogs and ponies were NOT babies. I lived in Key West at the time, and I can’t remember the name of the department store where we went often. An entire aisle was reserved for Cabbage Patch Kids. My friend Kathy Bruening had something like 8 or 9 of them, an assortment of Preemies and older ones, AND she had a pony or two. At that age I knew better than to wish I had as much as her; I knew her dad was a chief in the Navy and made more than my dad, who was only a first class. E-5, I think is the designation. So Dad parsed out to me a weekly allowance that I stowed away in a special place to accrue. I knew this Cabbage Patch doll was going to mean a lot. 

I wanted an all-out Preemie, one with no hair whatsoever. I remember as we passed through that aisle I saw the one I wanted with the perfectly bald head. However, when I finally saved enough money to afford one, the money was already burning a serious hole in my pocket, and my parents took me to the department store. I could have waited, I suppose, but I did not want to take the chance of all of the dolls being sold out forever. I hoped and prayed that my Preemie Cabbage Patch was still there.

Alas, he was not. I wanted a brown-eyed boy because I had brown eyes. But all those were sold out, and not a lot of Preemies had been stocked that day. So, I pretty much had my choice of the coiffed, full-grown dolls or the Aryan Preemies. I knew I still wanted a Preemie. I was 5 pounds, 4 ounces when I was born, and I wanted someone little like me, so that’s what I got. 

He’s still in good condition. I mean, he’s 23 years old, and he’s moved several times, and I’m sure Frank got a hold of him a few times while we were growing up. In fact, David John was best friends with my brother’s teddy bear, Allen. I hope Frank still has Allen.

The first time I changed David’s diaper, the fastening tape got stuck on the plastic of the diaper, so I ripped the diaper, and I couldn’t replace the tape, and Frank was out of diapers by that time. (My parents potty-trained early.) And I wasn’t about to ask my parents to buy diapers for my UNALIVE doll. So David doesn’t have a diaper.

I TRIMMED MY NON-DEAD doll’s hair regularly. The hair is made out of regular braided yarn, so I would unbraid the yarn and brush it, and if the yarn frayed, I would trim off the strays and give him a nice, clean cut. I’d shape his hair to make it stand straight up, and I would cut it straight across to make it look like a military cut. 

He went to sleep with me, and I’d give him kisses good night. From my bedroom window, we watched the neighborhood: kids playing, cars pulling in and out of the parking lot. We got to watch that one hurricane back in 1985? Something like that.

He came with me to BYU. I figured I would need the company and someone to talk to. And having him around would be closest thing to co-ed living I’d experience at that time. Are you believing any of this paragraph? I did NOT still talk to my doll when I was 18 years old. But he did still have sentimental value. Of course I took him along, because it was like having a part of home with me 2,000 miles away from my family and best friends.

If I could still fit into my clothes from 23 years ago, I’d probably still have them. Some may say keeping David isn’t all that practical. I disagree: he sure holds a lot of memories. And, he sure does make a great profile pic.

For the past few years, he was in storage. Then Mom sent him to me a little while back. I can’t even think of throwing him away. 

I am definitely NOT 8 years old in this photo.