I remember when I was young, around the time I was 13 or 14, I made a proclamation that I would never make it to 30. I was convinced that I would burn out my flame well before then, as I was sure I was going to have an adventurous life.
Well I did, and life had other plans for me.
I joined the U.S. Army a couple months out of high-school, after a job interview in Cherry Hill, New Jersey fell through, and I had a pretty terrible car accident. Now I was not 100% innocent of the accident, as I had just blown my nose and was looking for a place to put the tissue in my sister’s car. Now I was in the center lane of a 3 lane highway, so how was I to foresee that there would be a Philadelphia Inquirer truck parked in the center lane delivering to a gas station? Needless to say, a seat belt saved my life, and the Mitsubishi engine was designed to crumple away from the driver… Again saving my life.
So there I was, a freshly out of high-school soldier. Where did they send me? Germany, where drinking is legal at 18. The town I was stationed in was in the middle of nowhere. I had only a small pay check each month, and could buy beer and alcohol at 18, what it was I did at this point does not need a doctorate in psychology to figure out.
I pretty much spent every night I was there drunk, at least when I can. We did have training maneuvers, and live firing exercises that would often take us from our base and bring us to another for up to a month at a time. While on these drinking was highly forbidden. Me and a couple guys did occasionally find a way to drink a beer or two without detection, but never enough to possibly endanger the rest of the team.
My next duty station, where I actually began to grow as a human was Fort Bragg, in North Carolina. This was in 1992. Here in the land of the 82nd Airborne, soldiers are honed into killing machines. There is almost no place for the weak of will, motivation is a highly treasured friend and strength of character is built. Here I met probably the most influential friend in my life. Through him, I found how education and personal growth is more important than any party. I am not saying that I didn’t party, rather I just didn’t party every day.
In 1993 My unit deployed to the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. The town where we were is called Sharm El Sheikh, it is the furthest south you can go on the peninsula. It was here that Jeff and I both had a total blast with some of our other friends, Joe Gower was the greatest of them. We had our barracks, a dog named Gumba, and a barbecue pit, all with what I could describe and be honest with as the greatest in the world.
We were part of a force dedicated to ensure the peace treaties between Egypt and Israel was fulfilled. It was here that I enrolled in my first college course, Criminal Psychology, through the University of Texas. I did not realize at first, however the short time I attended the class, I had begun something that would change me as a human.
I started to understand there were other things to do with ones life, rather than look for parties, and drink all of the time. I started to learn that self education and the furthering of ones knowledge in whatever it is you like is more important. One of the things I liked to do was write. However for the most part I kept it to myself. Jeff’s mother was an English teacher, so he would often correct grammatical errors I was showing in writing. I learned that English is actually fun to write, and placing word to paper I was better spoken than I ever was orally. Soon after leaving Fort Bragg, en-route back to Germany, I started to explore story writing and journal writing.
However, back to Egypt, I found out many many truths about myself. It was often times when Jeff, Joe and I would make trips to a small hamlet town (Now a major tourist town) named Dahab. It was here that I truly understood how destructive I was toward myself. I would often find myself the brunt of many jokes of all my friends and people we were meeting who were back packing through the town. We often times would sit on the beach with many people we would meet, and spend days talking, swimming and partying. I would often be left out of many of the activities, as I was trying to find any way to garner attention from people, including belittling myself to be the laughing stock. This measure from me never gained me many friends. I know the friends I did have understood, and liked me for whom I was, not who I was projecting myself as.
I found myself in a moment in Egypt looking inwardly trying to actually discover who I was. The classes in psychology helped me actually understand myself. I realized, with my two friends help, that I was not an average person. I now knew that I was able to excel on my own, and that I did not need to look for others for acceptance. With time that would come, and if someone could not accept me for whom I actually was, I would not adjust to them. They like it or they don’t. It became that simple to me.
I did however get into the occasional trouble there though. I was an infantry mortar man. We tend to team up with the scouts of our unit more often than not, and Egypt was no exception. (Mortars are like a small artillery piece that was able to be carried around, providing almost instantaneous support when needed. Scouts are also infantry soldiers, who often try to go forward of the front line to call for our mortar fire, and also provide enemy intelligence to the unit.) The scout platoon, for one reason or another never liked me. On one occasion Jeff, Joe and I were having a party with a few other people in our barbecue pit at out barracks. It became a crazy night, but we had a blast, and I for the most part, am a person who becomes way to talkative when drunk.
The next morning I was summoned to the commanders office. Jeff and I had no idea what it could have been for. Standing in front of the commander, he looked me over really quick, and asked me why I had attempted to light a guard tower on fire the night before. I stared at him, and tried to make sense of what it was he was asking me. I could not swallow the accusation. I may not be the most intelligent person, but I do know, and I am sure 100% of the other people on the planet also know, metal does not burn. The accusations were unfounded. I called forward 2 witnesses, Jeff and Joe and they corroborated my story. We were talking with the guard on duty, but there was no way I was piling wood under the tower, attempting to set it ablaze. If I wanted to light a fire under it, there would have been no try, there would have been a done!
Eventually I also decided to soldier up, and become more than I was, a mediocre soldier. I decided to attempt to be better in my job. Follow orders more closely, and study the army way. There is a test of basic soldiering for the infantry soldiers. It is a difficult task, involving everything from 12 mile forced foot marches, carrying over 50 pounds of equipment, first aide events, weapons proficiency and many more tasks. It is called the Expert Infantry Badge. It is an elite badge of honor for infantry that places them slightly above other infantry soldiers.
For the first time I took this test studying all tasks with a renewed fervour, determined to make it and pass all of the tasks. I accomplished my mission. In the testing phase you are only allowed to fail three tasks, I made it only failing 1.
One of the most proud moments of my life, I wore the badge with pride for the remainder of the time I was a soldier.
Egypt was an enigma for me. It showed me who I truly was, and I began to aspire to become a better person from that point on. I think of my time within the sand and sun as being a place that turned my life around. It helped me learn to strive to become a better person. To not try to please others, to please myself. It taught me not become what other people wanted of me. If I couldn’t not accept myself for who I was, then I strove to become the person I wanted to be. But only for myself.
I thank Joe Gower, and Jeff Holloway for giving me at that moment what I really needed, Understanding and friendship. Because of them, and Egypt, I finally understood who I was. It was at this point I decided that I would allow my flame to burn as long as it could. I wanted to learn everything I could, and maybe share it with someone else out there who is a confused young adult as I was, maybe showing them how to finally understand who they were to become as well.
Lance M. Goolsby
Well, I want to first wish everyone a wonderful Holiday season. To each of you as well, a truly wonderful New Year!!!
I finished on Christmas Eve my first book. It is not the longest, but rather meant to be read in a single sitting.
I wanted to write a Christmas story this year for everyone. A story that was more updated than many of the others available out there.
A 21st Century Christmas Tale, is what came out.
It is the story of Thomas, a truly gifted business employee, and a truly egotistical person as well. He is driven by his business, and money, not caring about anyone around him, to include his family.
But when a tragic accident takes the life of his parents and sister, he is left with the one thing he hates the most in this world. A 14 month old child.
Can Thomas embrace the challenges of life with a child? Or will he turn her over to the State to be raised in a children’s home, because she interferes with his career, and life?
This is not a journey of self discovery, this is a journey of family discovery.
It will be made available on Amazon.com in the next week or two, for some unset low price.
I hope you will come and read.
When it is available, I will post more details here.
Well, My family and I need to move out of our apartment after the new year. We weren’t kicked out, rather the company that owns our apartment flats has decided to finally renovate them after 40 years.
We are happy and scared at the same time. We are a family of 4, and the apartment we found through the company, that has recently been renovated, and meets our needs, only has 2 bedrooms… The square footage is slightly more than the one we currently occupy.
We are taking it though, with the hopes that sometime in the future, one of the boys will move out, freeing up one of the bedrooms. But we can only hope. For the mean time though, our new family room is in the shape of an “L” and we will turn the portion of the family room that is the bottom portion of the “L” into a temporary bed room.
My wife and I are not entirely too worried about it though. We agree that this is our second from last rental properties. The next place we move to, will be a small house, and we will finish our lives there.
There are some setbacks though.
although we are moving to an apartment owned by the same company that owns our current house, we still need to pay a deposit on the new one. We don’t need to pay the entire deposit, but rather half. This is still a staggering €700.00 or $900.00.
This is a staggering amount for us, yet there is still more problems we are facing as well.
I have never understood this, maybe it is the fact that I am used to how life in the Army was, or in the United States is. But in Germany any apartment does not come with anything installed. No kitchen, and by this I mean the only thing in a kitchen here is the hookups for the water, and the oven. No counters, no shelves, and no cabinets. Nothing.
Same can be said about any of the rooms in the place. There are almost no built-in closets anywhere in Germany. There are no cabinets in the bathrooms.
We will be bringing the furniture we have with us in our apartment. However our kitchen is approximately 40 years old. So I will need to re-work it to fit into the new kitchen, and also replace the counter top portion of it. This is not too expensive, however when we weigh the costs we need to already lay down for the deposit, we are pushing €1,000.00 or around $1,300.00.
This to me is an outstanding number, just to move apartments, at the request of the company who wants to renovate their own building.
I find it amazing that they do not assist us, or offer us anything more than the cost of the truck we need to move, and they are basically only paying the cost for the deposit of it for the 2 days we will need. So again, look here. another cost added to the overall expenditures already building up.
I am not complaining. No. Rather I am excited to finally get out of the area where the teenage hooligans are slowly, unchecked by the police, taking over the area. In the past 2 years, they have constantly been spray painting the area with their horrible version of graffiti. Which is nothing more than spraying their “gang” logo, “Bergl 11” on every vertical surface they can find. I have even seen places where they have sprayed trees in the park behind our house. These Children hang out in an area in the park that is also a children’s play area. there are monkey bars, and a climbing ring there for them.
Every morning when I walk our dog through the park, I am only able to take him in a single direction, as there are smashed vodka and beer bottles on the ground. Trash litters every single inch of the grass, and the children’s play area where they occupy for the evening. I try to avoid it as much as possible, as there are constantly children meandering through the park in the mornings, on their way to the school located only a hundred feet away. It is an embarrassment that the children need to see this every morning on the way to the school, which by the way has also been spray painted with certain slogans popular with the “gang”. Ranging from “F**k the police”, “Bergl 11”, And various other colourful phrases.
I have seen the police often times called into the park to rouse a fight between them, or to see if there are any illegal drugs being used. But I never see them haul any of them away with them. This I find amazing.
They drink, smoke pot, and scream and yell all evening, by all evening I mean until at least 1 AM. I have often times even seen reminants of a bicycle they set on fire with lighter fluid the night before. There are also various other things they have burned, which I am surprised when they do, no one has called the fire department. They steal anything that is not locked up. There have been children’s tricycles from one of our neighbour children spotted in shambles in the park the next morning, when the 6 year old didn’t bring it back into the house when he went back inside. Scooters from his older brother often lie in pieces on the walkway in front of the apartments the next morning, as the “Gang” smashed it on the pavement as they walked by.(He has bought 3 to date)
When it rains, there is a tunnel through the apartment complex where we live, right below our bedroom window, and one of my son’s windows, and they then take up residence there for the course of the evening. They tear the plaster off of the wall, spray paint them, and light things on fire. Constantly yelling and screaming at each other. We have called the police no less than three times in the last year alone. There are over forty families living in this apartment building. So it makes me wonder how many other times they have been called to no avail?
With the state doing nothing about these children thinking they are so big, by the way, most of them are about 16-18 years old, There will be no change. No matter how many times my family calls the police, and other families call the police, there is no change. With no change will come the slow methodical transformation of the area from what at one point was a higher standard of living area. Now it is almost a ghetto. Sadly enough.
So the thought of moving excites me.
But I will need to work twice as hard to afford it, but I don’t mind, as it gets me away from “Bergl 11”.
Peace my friends.