Place is such an amazing thing: my trajectory has been more extended than most, but I still feel a deep connection with the places I grew up.
1. Born 1960 in Borstal. Would fall asleep to the sound of the M2 bridge pile drivers, wake when they stopped. Remember when the Medway was still a relatively unpolluted river (before the upstream paper works, we would catch sticklebacks). Dad worked at A.F. Smith next to Rochester BR station.
2. In 1965 moved to Binnacle Road. Got our first telephone. Mum started doing cleaning work.
3. In 1968 moved to Warren Wood Road. A new development just south of Rochester airport/Elliot Avionics.
4. In 1970, passed 11-plus and went to the Math School. This was a major adjustment - grew up poor but educated, and the Math School was a seriously middle-class establishment. First time I became aware of class.
5. Parents split messily in 1972. Ended up being farmed around relatives, group homes, foster homes for a couple of years with an interlude with dad and sis in Gun Lane in Strood for about six months. This ended when sis became a junkie and dad had a major breakdown.
6. 1973. Placed in a kids’ home for disturbed kids (only place available. Molested in a minor way by house master - bit of dick touching, but nothing really disturbing)
7. 1974. Was placed by KCC in an experimental kids home called Allsworth Court in Hextable between Swanley and Dartford (only village in England sans pub). It was here that I flourished and began to excel at the Math School. Still a working class pleb, but was a fucking awesome teenage chemistry student. Doing 1st-year-undergrad experiments even before O-level. Broke my duck. Started smoking dope (resin), taking amphetamines (French blues).
8. 1976. Ran away, spent summer of '76 after O levels on the streets in Amsterdam, Got returned to UK in handcuffs after escaping from normal restraint in cop car.
8. Late 1976. Moved to foster parents in Cuxton - lower-upper-middle suburb of Medway towns. Foster mum was a fucking great moose who kiddie-fiddled me and previous foster. I didn't really mind her sucking/cracking me off, but wish she'd been better looking. She was a controller who tried to stop me having girlfriends. I didn't play along and was OK with frigid GFs because Janet was fine helping me with sperm movement. She and her husband Norm had to leave the UK in their socks when the abuse came to light.
9. 1978. Turned 18, left school, moved to Bean (up the A2) for a few months. Got a job with Burroughs Wellcome at Temple Hill site in Dartford, Was an inti-intellectual and declined a place at John's, Cambs, despite four A-grade A-levels, and two S-levels.
10. 1978: Moved to Dartford, started becoming a serious speed freak - stayed awake for one week out of every three - continuous, Got bored with job at BW - too fucking easy.
11. 1979: Decided to go to Uni, decided on Bristol for no very good reason. No problem getting a place with my A levels.
Comment - all this time I'd been moving towards the metrop, but up the A2/M2 corridor. Went to many parties/squats/raves (just beginning in the UK at that time). Dated daughter of bloke who invented Baileys. She had an MGB-GT V8 and used to fuck me in it. That was fun...
12: 1979: moved to Brizzle. Met girl who became my 1st wife in 1986.
13: 1979-82 - conventional undergrad career, though as someone who'd had an independent life attending a Uni for Oxbridge rejects I fucked up a storm All you needed was a basic knowledge of cooking and a bed. Srsly.
14: 1982: Graduated in top four of 1982 Chemistry class, guaranteeing PhD grant. Spent summer of 1982 wandering around Bristol. Lovely city, great summer. Actually claimed supplementary income for four weeks - still makes me feel dirty.
15: 1982-1985. PhD work in Brizzle. Moved to Neasden with future Mrs. L (see earlier map link)
16. Started working at Kodak in Wealdstone in NW London.
17. 1986 got married in Brizzle, and awarded PhD later.
18: 1986. Kodak started sending me to the US (Rochester, upstate NY) six times a year. First time in US in Apr 1986.
19. 1989 Headhunted by a S/W company that Kodak partially funded. Spent most of 1989 in Morristown, NJ.
20. 1990. Same, company, spent most of 1990 in San Diego.
21. 1991 Headhunted by client of S/W company. Worked in Slough for 11 years, live in Edgware, Stanmore. Move from upper-working to middle-middle-class.
22. 1995-1999: buy and start breeding Lusitano horses. Spend LOTS of time in Portugal. First wife and I start growing apart. She finds Lusos too tough. I start to plan for move to Portugal.
23. 2000. We separate. I move to Iver Heath, Bucks. Fucking one of the younger members of the distaff D'Andrade family.
24. July 2000. I meet the current Mrs L. completely at random at SeaTac. Despite me have a job offer in Lisbon, plus a provisional purchase contract for land in Torres Novas I decide to move to WA State.
25. That's where we are now (the transiton was not easy - I was due to move to the US in Nov 2001. But after 2001-09-11 my visa was repeatedly delayed. Whoda thunk??
So for me, I never wanted to leave Medway, then SE London. Then I moved to Brizzle which promoted me to genuine middle class.
My employment experience has pushed me further - I'm not 1%, but I'm 2%, likely 1.5%. But for me it's NW London (Neasden, Harrow) or Portugal that define me. But I STILL have that atavistic urge to chavism from Medway (though I recently found out we may be Sheppey scum).
My favorite places, in order? Brizzle, Portugal, Rochester...
This is an evolvingly drunken stream on consciousness post, but although only partial, it's 100% honest.