Friday, April 4, 2014

Living on a Coast Guard Base

I've talked about this a little bit before, but this is my (and hubby's) first time living on a military base.  I had my reservations before we moved in, but now that we're more settled, it's time to broadcast on the interwebs my two cents about what it's like.

The Andy Griffiths Show  
Photo Credit:  CBS Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
To be honest, it's a little Mayberry-like.  Mayberry - as I'm sure the vast majority of you already know, but I feel the need to clarify for the young-un readers that may be out there - is a fictional community from a 1960's black and white sitcom set sometime in the 40's or 50's called The Andy Griffiths Show.  My point being, base living is kind of innocent.

Now I know you're asking yourselves what makes it innocent, so here goes.  We have the local po-dunk paper, The Kodiak Daily Mirror, delivered to the house daily.  No joke, it's delivered by a very clean-cut adolescent boy on a bicycle, and he carries the papers in a canvas satchel that's slung over his shoulder.  And he actually puts it in the mailbox.  Now, wearing safety gear when you're biking is mandatory on any military base, but his helmet is the icing on the cake.  I bet if I listened, he'd be whistling and saying things like, "Awww, shucks."

Just to contrast, in Key West we also had our paper delivered.  Only it was by a crusty old dude in a dilapidated pick-up who wouldn't get out of his car.  His method of choice was to fling the paper in the general direction of the house, which inevitably missed the porch and usually resulted in the paper fetcher having to take a mini-trek into the hibiscus bushes in front of the porch to try and excavate said paper from under the house.  Good times.  Pretty big difference from the squeaky clean teenager with a canvas satchel, right?  But I will acknowledge that Key West isn't exactly an even playing field as far as comparison goes.  We're talking about an island that's taken fetish to a completely new level.

Entrance to USCG Base Kodiak

And of course, it's not just the paper boy.  (I still chuckle at the fact that we even have a paper boy - who actually is a boy) Base Kodiak is one of the largest U.S. Coast Guard bases, so along with housing, it has amenities like the commissary (grocery store), the Exchange (a combo of a 7-11/Target/department store), a pizza place, movie theater, gym, bowling alley, pub, etc.  It's nowhere close to the size and scope of most Air Force bases I've visited, but it has a lot going on for a Coast Guard base.  The Mayberry-factor comes in the price of a movie ticket.  Ready?  It's five dollars. FIVE DOLLARS.  It's like being transported back in time.  And it's not like they're showing Rocky IV or The Karate Kid. - The movies are current, usually released in the last month or so.  So let's hear it for saving a few bucks at the movies.

This is our little corner of base housing
Another thing that's on the "of times gone by" side is seeing kids walking and biking to school in the morning.  Kind of sad to say, but it seems like that's not as common now as it was when I was little.  Add in the regular patrols throughout the neighborhood by USCG police and it's downright vintage around here. 

Living on base still wouldn't be my first choice if it wasn't required, but it hasn't been a bad experience so far.  Cookie-cutter and over run with kids, sure.  But it certainly could be worse.  Can't be too upset, especially when this is what's in the backyard:

Barometer Mountain - July, 2013

Mayberry or not, base Kodiak is a decent enough place to live.  Opie paper boys, Barney Fifes and all.

Ta-ta for now. 

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