1980-1985 • Fort Knox

In 1980, my father received orders from the ARMY to head to Fort Knox, Kentucky… and thus, like ya do, we went.  My brother came, too.  We lived in base housing, or ‘quarters.’  Our address was 5473 D Kelly Street and there was a huge park and sledding hill at the end of our street.

In 1982, I started Kindergarten at Van Voorhis Elementary and walked to school everyday with all the other neighborhood kids.  My teacher was Ms. McCracken (Silence.  I will not tolerate name jokes.  She is sacred to me.) and she instilled my love for education and the Kentucky Wildcats.  I would become a lifetime fan of both.

In December of 1982, my mother graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in Education (finally inishing what she was in the middle of when I was born).  I remember standing at the bottom of a round staircase as she took a cap-and-gown photo with her best girlfriends (Lynn Smith, Mom?  Is that a real person?).  I also remember being in a video for one of her senior class projects.  The soundtrack music was Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5.

Go ahead.  I’ll wait while you dance it out.

In first grade, I was chosen to represent my class at the school assembly… and announced the wrong teacher’s name.  The embarrassment was enough to make me block out the entire year from my memory, including my teacher’s name… correct or incorrect.  My face is red even as I type this.  I don’t want to talk about it anymore. [runs to her room, slams door]

Second grade brought Mr. Kirby, and learning to read (times and expectations have soooo changed).  It was also the year I went by ‘Mary‘ until Christmas break because I was too shy to ask him to change my name on the attendance roll the first day… and was stuck.  This is even MORE laughable because Mr. Kirby was a teacher alongside my mother and certainly knew I had never answered to ‘Mary’ before in my life.  God bless that man, he never gave me up until I was ready.

The crowning glory of Fort Knox was my 6th birthday party at Burger King.  It would be the one and only time I would have a party like the cool kids at a place with a play-land and vinyl booths.  It would also be the only year I would take a birthday photo without crying.  For such an occasion, one can only be expected to wear her blue E.T. pantsuit.  It had a belt with a silver buckle.

Go ahead.  I’ll wait while you dance it out.

The 80’s.  The Eighties were a w e s o m e.  Hey, Danny?  That’s a train on your red overalls over a  YELLOW TURTLENECK.  I’m wearing crushed velvet.  Dad, you are almost smiling.  Mom?  This is the last we will see of your trademark 70s hair.

The summer of 1985 brought new military orders for my father, and we headed back across the big water to (West) Germany again.

What was your kindergarten teacher’s name?

Timeline posts are a chance for me to get my life in order.  Literally.

1976-1978 • Belton

1978-1980 • Schonaich


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

15 responses to “1980-1985 • Fort Knox

  • susannah

    this series kills me. twill be the motivation for me to catch up on stella and cole’s photo albums so that at some point in the distant future, they too can marvel at the things i put them in.

    mrs. gledhill was my kindergarden teacher, but the only thing i remember from kindergarden was the sand and water table.

  • Carley

    Mrs. Wiebenga. She was good.
    I love these posts.

  • Amy B.

    Mrs. Baggerly at the kindergarten-only campus of Harris (formerly the site of the segregated black school) in Belton. I went full-day for half a year (the fall). And fell asleep at the dinner table at night.

  • Bev

    Mrs. Kloosterman. She said burple instead of purple and pretended it was normal. She was like a grandma with great big hugging arms and a huge smile. She said she was 100 years old if you asked her how old she was. When, one time after prayer, a boy named Jeff pointed at me and said, “Teacher, Bev had her eyes open during prayer!” She calmly looked at him and said, “Why Jeff, how would you know that if your eyes were closed during prayer?”
    I loved her.

  • MC

    I love this idea of timelining your life in posts. What fun! Mrs. Allen was my kindergarten teacher. I remember her well and the story goes that she left the room for a little while and left me in charge and when she returned I had everyone in timeout.

  • Cortney

    My kindergarten teacher was, no lie, Mrs. Kinder. How great was that? I lived across the street–like, DIRECTLY ACROSS, from the primary school, and there is video of my mom walking me to my first day of kindergarten. It lasts about 37 seconds. Mrs Kinder lived one street over, in a big beautiful Victorian house that, when she moved, became a bed and breakfast. She and her husband also owned the lot across the street, which they planted every year with veggies and lots of wildflowers. There was a big sign that hung at the gate that said, naturally, “The Kinder Garden”. I loved her to pieces, and visited her on walks with my mom for years and years after that first day of school, and I cried when she told us they were selling the house and moving.

    • texasnorth

      Is it possible that you had the most perfect Kindergarten experience in all the land? OF COURSE you cried when she left. I’m kind of crying right now, for Pete’s sake.

  • Rebekah

    My kindergarten teacher was Mrs Grimm. She was fantastic and I still love her to this day. She taught us the letters using the letter people. I remember the play house in the classroom. She still teaches at Ada Christian (but has since remarried with a new name) and it quite possible Asa could have her when he’s in 2nd grade. Can’t imagine more of a full circle moment that could be for me!

  • Chad

    I lived at 5437 b Brett dr. lol funny I can still remember adress i remember walking back and forth to vanvooris each day, I can still recall the way, from brett cutting through to the next subdivision Mulvaney st cross Gilkey st one block take a left and over the bridge and up the hill, scary woods to the right. The teachers I recall aside from the ones mentioned are Mrs Janican “Mrs J” Mrs Shoefelt and Mrs Cook. Your first picture I recall myself going to kings island, it seemed so huge. And I too had a few birthdays at the local Burger King. With the 80s superhero or sesame street cake mold ordered from the Tupperware catalogue decorated teadiously by my mother.

  • Brandy

    Hi, I somehow found this post. I used to live at Fort Knox the same time you did. Wasn’t it awesome back then? I lived on 5492 B Jameson street. You look familiar. Just wanted to say hi. I also went to Kings Island,Burger King,Wendy’s and Shoneys lol I think I was in the same grade as you. I had Mrs. Yount (sp?) and she was amazing. She would dress up like a scientist and just made the classroom experience so much fun. I also had Ms. P for P.E. neways I loved this story. It brought back wonderful memories from the Fort Knox days in the 80s 🤗

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