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No Control

John W. Pinkerton


I recall the first time that I realized that I had no control over my life.

The first time occurred when my parents told me we were moving from Louisiana to Arkansas.  I had little concept of what this would mean for me, but I did realize that I was not part of the decision process.

At that moment I did not realize that I probably wouldn't be seeing my grandmother very often or my few friends ever again.

But it happened.  There I was in Pinebluff, Arkansas, starting over as a misplaced seven year old.

For the next several years we moved a lot: Little Rock, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Houston.  If they bothered to tell me, it was only in rough detail.  I guess they were starting over.  I don't think they ever thought that I was being forced to start over again also.

I'm not sure what made me think about children not having much control over their lives.  When I was very young, I never questioned the moves.  With each move I became more and more regretful that once again I would have to give up my school, my friends, and my neighbors.

When I got to high school, Pineville High School in Pineville, Louisiana, I found old friends from living there previously and made new friends.  I established myself as an acceptable nerd and was very comfortable there.  I was a photographer on the yearbook (The Kepi) staff; I competed in speech competitions; I was in the Beta Club, and I performed in plays.  I read a lot of books from the school library, and I began to date.

One evening I overheard Mom and Dad talking about moving from Pineville.  Holy moly!  Dad was pretty adamant, but Mom saw the wisdom in staying in Pineville for one more year so that I could complete my senior year there.  I never even thought of entering the debate, but my heart was aching.  Thank goodness Mother prevailed.  I graduated from Pineville.

I have a friend, a lady who now lives in Arkansas, that I met at one of the high school class reunions.  I didn't remember her from high school, but we became good friends.  She explained that the reason I probably didn't remember her was that she had to move away from Pineville with her parents before her senior year. 

That must have been awful.

But she had an answer to her dilemma: she has kept in contact with many of her Pineville classmates, goes on trips with them, attends the reunions, and is still a Rebel (the class mascot) regardless of what her diploma may say.

I'm not sure how well I would have handled her situation.  I remember thinking that I might resist the move, but the outcome of that plan in my favor wasn't…in my favor.

I know that parents, for the most part, do the best they can for their children, and sometimes they must move---usually for purposes of employment.

However, parents should seriously consider their children before finalizing the decision to move.  I forever will be grateful to my Mom for persuading Dad to delay the move.