I have been around this country
And have seen so many things,
But there’s nothing like the agony
That ‘good-bye’ always brings.

–Donald J. Claxton circa 1984

I wrote that some time in 1983-84 and have kept it in a small box of notecards I’ve kept from the period of quotes that I thought were worth keeping.

When I wrote that piece I was around 18 years old and a junior or senior in high school. 

As noted here before, my dad was in the US Air Force and joined them in 1968.  From then on, we were nomadic wanderers of Air Force Bases around the continental United States. We moved all the time. To date, I have moved 33 times now in 45 years.

Hello, Goodbye

The Beatles‘ song Hello, Goodbye always has hit a spot in my heart.  I think The Long and Winding Road is right up there in the same genre of emotions, too. H/G from the standpoint of that’s what I’ve had to do with people in my life my whole life, and TLWR more so for the longing for a real place to call ‘Home.”

All these moves have greatly impacted who I am as a person.  It’s so easy to make new friends and talk to anyone about anything.  I’ve learned good skills on how to ask people questions in order to get to know them.

During my freshman year at Auburn University, I went in to interview then President Dr. James Martin.  When I was getting ready to leave he asked, “You’re a military kid, aren’t you?” Stunned, I inquisitively asked what had given it away.  His answer: “I don’t get many freshmen in here asking me about the university’s budget.”

And so, such is who I am.


A colleague of mine and I were talking about this subject recently and he noted a study from years ago that determined that if a child had moved more than 8 or so times before the sixth grade, it would forever have an impact on their life relationships–so much to the point he said, “they become worried that since all the other relationships of their life have been so short lived and they get worried about what to do in a long-term one, they can even at times submarine good ones in order to protect themselves from the pain of a good one going bad.”


I can’t say that I’ve consciously done this, but it gives me pause.  After years of growing close to people–and it always seemed/s like I always get the closest to people right before it’s time to move again–the pain of saying GB is still quite sharp.  So much to the point of where I don’t tend to use those two words at all, but opt for “I’ll see you soon,” instead.  This is because time and time again, I’ve run into people later in time and in a different place from whence I knew them first; In which case, the whole scenario gets flipped from Goodbye, to Hello Again.

Of course, I also have another quote that talks about how early American youth, being youth and prone to slang, created the word Goodbye because they got tired of saying, “God Be With Ye.”   So, in the sense of wishing “God along the ways of one’s journey” as opposed to saying, “I may never see you again,” that does seem to be a lot better.

(No Neil Diamond references here though.  Please.)

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  1. Sarah

    Well written. Now I want to hear the song hello goodbye.

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