In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long haired hippies, peace signs and doves.
In Viet-Nam the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.
Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.
Written by Jimmie A. Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967
The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.
Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014. Aren’t parents good about keeping things and then later in life returning them?
I wrotethispoem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. It was just outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
Impressing my English teacherwaschallenging. Theassignmentwas to write a paper on “What I did on my summervacation.” Instead, I wrote about whatwashappening in popularculture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem.
Shecalled me a “beatnikpoetweirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in writing five pages of drivelavoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment.
The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.
I thought it would be fun to collect pictures of the houses I have lived in from birth to my current 60 plus years. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it was fun putting these together.
Below is visual proof of my lack of “roots”, that is my not feeling like I have a hometown. I was a military brat and United States Army Officer from birth until my late 20s. Then I worked as a Southern Baptist Religious Educator until my mid-40s. Military and minister are two vocations that are very nomadic.
Moving frequently goes with the job and life. I have lived/be stationed in over 25 locations. I attended 8 schools for 12 grades. The photos are either ones I took, my mother has, or compliments of Google Maps, street view. My memory or mother provided me with the addresses/locations.
I was born in 1953 at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
My father was in the US Air Force stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. Leaving the hospital, I moved in with my dad and mother.
We lived on Mesquite Street in San Antonio, Texas. It is located just east of downtown. The Alamodome is in the area where the house was built. I have a picture of the vacant lot where the house use to be.
Living in Ohio
In 1954 – 1955, my father was stationed at Clinton County Air Force Base in Ohio.
We lived in Bowersville, Ohio. I lived at 20 Church Street.
Living in Harwood, Texas
In part of 1955 and then 1956 I lived with my Grandfather in Harwood, Texas. My brother was born while we lived here. Well, he was born in Brooke Army General Hospital, just like me.
Living in in Greenville, South Carolina
My father was in Turkey with the US Air Force at this time.When dad got back from Turkey he was stationed at Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, South Carolina.
We moved to 201 Maco Terrace in Greenville, South Carolina. This where I have my first memories.
Living at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
While living in Greenville, SC we took a side trip to Scott Air Force Base where my father had extended military training.
While at Scott Air Force Base we lived in a military trailer park. We spent a snowy winter of 1956-1957 there before returning to our Greenville, SC home.
Living in the Valley of the Sun – Luke Air Force Base Arizona
In 1958, we moved to Glendale, Arizona as my dad took a new assignment at Luke Air Force Base.
We lived first in Glendale. I started elementary school at Glendale Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona in 1959. Dwight Eisenhower was the president of the USA. We lived on West G Avenue. Glendale renamed their streets around 1970 to match the names of the streets they connected with in Phoenix.
Then in 1960 we moved into the new base housing on Luke AFB where we stayed until 1963. I attended Luke Air Force Base Elementary School from February 1960 through the fourth grade. I had Mrs. Davis in the second grade and Mrs. Jensen in grades 3 and 4.
Living in Sequin, Texas – Dad in Vietnam
Dad headed to South Vietnam, and I headed to 803 Jefferson Avenue in Seguin, Texas.803 Jefferson Avenue, Seguin, Texas is where I lived in 1963 – 1964. I was in the 5th grade and living there when President Kennedy was assassinated and when The Beatles came to the USA.
The house was white with a green roof back then. It had trees in the yard and hedge around the house back in the day. It had a backyard that was over an acre. I had a great treehouse in the backyard tree as well as a huge garden. My father was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in South Vietnam.
I attend Jefferson Avenue Elementary School. It was located across the street from my house. Mrs. Englebrock was my fifth-grade teacher. She taught me to love to read and to write stories.
Living in El Paso, Texas – Biggs Air Force Base
Next I moved to El Paso, Texas in August 1964. My father was transferred to Biggs Air Force Base and B-52s. I don’t have a picture of our house on Raimey Circle. It has been torn down. I am still searching for a photo.
I attended Ben Milam School. Mr. Romero was my sixth-grade teacher. In the seventh grade, I played football and started having different teachers for each class.
Living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – Pease Air Force Base
From here I moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Pease Air Force Base.
It was a neat place with lots of snow in the winter. I got to go to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine to the Longfellow and Chamberlain Homes. I went to the Robert Frost farm. I attended science camp at M.I.T. and Harvard University’s Summer Institute for the Gifted studying literature, poetry, and writing in their Humanities program.
I lived at 2024 Larkspur Circle on Pease Air Force Base in 1966 – 1967. I attended Portsmouth Junior High School. I was the eighth-grade class vice-president. I went to all the historical places in Boston and fell in love with history.
I was here until my father retired from the US Air Force. He earned a degree in business from New Hampshire College while we lived there. From here it was back to Texas.
I finished the last few weeks of the eighth grade in Nixon, Texas at Nixon Junior High School. We stayed with my grandparents until our furniture arrived and we moved into the below house.
Living in Schertz, Texas
We lived in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz. I lived at 1407 Chestnut Drive Schertz Texas. I started high school at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas in 1967. I would move to the Dallas area at mid-semester. We also owned the house that was two to the left of this one.
Living in DeSoto, Texas – Last Place I lived Before I Married
I lived at 1010 Southwood Drive in DeSoto, Texas until I headed to college and married. My father still resides there. – Update: Mom passed away in 2014 and dad died in 2017.
Living in Arlington, Texas – My First Place
When I was 17, I got my first place. It was a duplex. In 1971 – 1972 I lived at 201 1/2 Ray Drive in Arlington, Texas while attending The University of Texas at Arlington.
Another College Residence – Arlington, Texas
I moved into an apartment with my brother in 1973. It was the Four Oaks Apartments off Pecan Street in Arlington.
Living in DeSoto, Texas- First Home as a Married Man
In December 1974, I married Benita Breeding, and we moved into an apartment in DeSoto, Texas on 283 South Hampton Road. We lived upstairs, the second unit from the end nearest as you look, was our home.
First Army Post – Fort Riley, Kansas
I spent the summers of 1974 and 1975 on active duty at Fort Riley, Kansas thanks to the US Army.
Living in Columbus Georgia
I graduated from college in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army. We moved to Columbus, Georgia. That’s where Fort Benning is located. We there 1975 – 1976.
We lived the Holly Hills Apartments with lots of second lieutenants in a unit off Oakley Court. I attended the US Army Infantry Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, and the Platoon Leader Maintenance Management Course while living there.
Living at Fort Lewis, Washington – Tacoma, Washington
We moved from there 3000 plus miles to Fort Lewis in Washington State. We were here 1976, 1977, 1978.
We lived in two different military quarters while there. The first was one bedroom. We got a two bedroom unit after our son Kristopher was born. While stationed at Fort Lewis I spent more time deployed or on training exercises
I made two trips to Camp Pendleton for training. I was there in 1976 and 1977.
In 1978, I spent some time at Twentynine Palms Marine Base.
Twice I spent months at Fort Irwin in the middle of nowhere for training. Actually think between Edwards AFB and Death Valley, CA for its location or halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Two times I suffered on the beaches of Coronado and San Diego. This was in 1976 and 1977.
In 1977, I was in a joint training exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho
While at Fort Lewis at the sub-post of Yakima Firing Center (as it was named in the 1970s) in 1976, 1977, 1978. Tank gunnery and T.O.W. Missiles had me there.
My unit had assignments like protecting the Alaskan Pipeline. Operation Jack Frost helped soldiers prepare for this mission, learn to preheat toilet paper and work in extreme cold.
My unit also had a mission to help if the North Koreans came back across the 38th parallel.
My unit also took part in REFORGER – Return of forces to Europe with treks to Italy and Germany in the fall of 1978.
Living in Fort Worth, Texas
From here we moved to Fort Worth Texas where I earned my master’s degree. We lived in student housing at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Gordon Avenue. This house had a floor the was not level. Our second son Jason was born while we lived here. We left here and moved to Decatur, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb when I graduated in 1980.
Living in Decatur, Georgia – Fist Full-time Church
We lived at 773 Scott Circle until our landlady moved back in when here husband passed away. Then we moved to a townhouse in Clarkston, Georgia. I served as Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.
The townhouses were large and state of the art for their time. It was an affluent baby-boomer paradise. This stock photo from Google doesn’t do them justice. They were located off Memorial Drive across from the DeKalb Community College. They were 99% owner-occupied townhomes with a very strict and sometimes mean homeowners association. I was still Minister of Education at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia while living here.
Living in Bogalusa, Louisiana
In December 1982, we moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana. We lived in a paper mill town and could smell it. I was Associate Pastor at Superior Avenue Baptist Church. While living here I started working on my doctorate.
Living in Jasper, Texas
In November 1984, we moved to Jasper, Texas. We lived in this house until 1988 when we bought our first home. Our daughter Sara Joy was born while we lived here. I was Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas. In 1987 I earned and was confirmed the doctor of education degree in educational administration.
The picture doesn’t do the house justice. The lot and house are larger than they look. The house was the Better Homes and Gardens House of the year in 1959 and was featured in Southern Living Magazine.
The people who bought the house after us took out all the azaleas and dogwoods we had and replaced with hedge and non-native trees. They also removed over a dozen seven-five-year-old or older trees. They added the black shutters, wrought iron windows, and doors and made it like a prison.
The multi-level tree house my kids had the backyard was also removed when the trees were cut down.
I was still Associate Pastor and Day School Principal at First Baptist Church of Jasper, Texas. I owned the house until March 1995. We moved from here in 1992 to Buna, Texas.
Living in Buna, Texas
This was on Halley Street in Buna, Texas. We lived in a church-owned home. It has been moved. The pastor lived in the house to the right. In the background is the church. I was Associate Pastor and Business Administrator at First Baptist Church of Buna, Texas. I lived here 1992 – 1993.
Living in Denison, Texas
Next I lived at 168 Chickadee in Dension, Texas from May 1993 until January 1996. Our oldest son graduated high school while we lived here. My father-in-law passed away while we lived here. I was Minister of Education and Senior Adults at Parkside Baptist Church in Denison, Texas. The house was small, did not have central air, and was close to the church.
Back in Jasper, Texas
I lived at 721 Marvin Hancock Drive in Jasper, Texas. We lived in the unit on the bottom left. We lived here for the spring semester of 1996. I was Vendor Management Specialist for East Texas Support Services overseeing the CCMS program for day care centers in 16 counties. I also taught early childhood education at a local university.
Living in The Colony, Texas
I bought our current home on Watson Drive in The Colony, Texas in July 1996. I have worked as a senior training specialist for American Express, Internet coordinator for Hilton Hotels, as a senior support engineer for Equator LLC, and in multiple Information Technology roles for Interstate Batteries while living here.
Our youngest two children finished high school, got college degrees, and our daughter married since we moved here. Sadly, the huge tree in the center of our front yard had to be cut down in 2007.
Update: My wife died in at home hospice care here on April 2018 from melanoma cancer.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of The Liberator Series. The Rebuilder – Book 1 is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released October 1, 2015. The Mission – Book Two will be available Spring 2016, The Traveller – Book 3 will be available Summer 2016, and The Seer – Book 4 will be available Fall 2016.