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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Bowling and Other Activities on Base

Growing up on a military base definitely had advantages. There were all kinds of amenities that were there for the military members but us dependents

were allowed to take advantage of. The military were always generous in providing space for our clubs, Cubs, Scouts, Guides, and Brownies and even frequently provided budgets for equipping the groups.

On base theatres, stores, gymnasiums, pools, libraries, schools (including school supplies like pens, notebooks and such). Even most of the field trips were financed for us. I had learned from my civilian friends, that they were not so well taken care of, paying out of pocket for most of these things. I grew to appreciate how the military took steps to improve out lives through these gestures.

One amenity I had a hard time understanding was one of the bowling allies. In Clinton, there was an excellent bowling alley attached to the base gymnasium. It didn't have automatic pinsetters so you either had to pinset for yourself or hire someone to do it. In Kingston, there was a bowling alley in BB4 (or 5, I've forgotten the Barrack Block number). The building, as its name implies, had originally been a barrack block, where service people would live while they were training or working at the base. At some point, it had become surplus and so one part of it was changed into a bowling alley. The strange thing was, there was a support pillar in the middle of the delivery area, where you did your little run before delivering the bowling ball down the alley. When doing your delivery, you had to maneuver around the pole, and jink back in line with the alley before letting the ball go.

There were six lanes, but only one had this errant pillar. Invariably, when I would arrive that would be the only open lane. The choice was, suffer with a lower score because that jinking move tended to make your aim less accurate, and accept the fact that your legs would be sore by the end of the game because of the odd way you had to step to get around the pole or don't bowl. I liked to bowl.

I always wondered why that pole was left where it was when the alley was installed. Would it have been that difficult or expensive to move the pole a foot to the left? I'm certain there was some logical reason but I struggled with it.

Are there any lingering memories from your brat childhood about oddities with any of the amenities on the bases where you lived or visited?

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