To myself and my cohorts, the "Barracks" was a special place to explore. Exciting and also frightening. We would ride out bikes to the TP grocery, stock up on candy bars and sodas and cruise (with feet on the handle bars) down Columbia and take a left turn on 26th street where we now had to pedal.
Arriving at the "Barracks", we had to muster up some courage. But my friend Jimmy had his trusty BB gun with him so fear was temporarily set aside as we entered the maze of old wooden and beige colored building that are now called the "Barracks". Silently, we crawled around the grounds. Empty and occupied buildings were searched with caution. Our bikes always close by!
I am sure that we did not really know where we were. Or, what we saw. But it was scary for that reason. And, we did always find an empty building with windows that were beckoning to be be perfor ated by Jimmy's bb's and an occasional rock or two.
Who would ever have imagined then that this Vietnam era Marine would so dearly depend on the VA Medical Center (Barracks) for his much needed medical treatment some 50 years later?
Robert Henry Walz lives in Vancouver.