I was born on December 2, 1963 in Wichita Falls, TX. About four months before I was born, my natural mother made the difficult decision to place me up for adoption (more on this later). The adoption was all arranged through private sources and I was taken to the home of William D. 'Doug' Bell and Jeanie Bell about three days later. Not only did Doug (dad) and Jeanie (mom) take me in to their home, but their families also accepted me as one of their own. I could never asked for anything better!
At the time, dad was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base. We spent the next year and a half at Sheppard and got the thrill of going through an F1 tornado that hit Wichita Falls in 1964. I obviously don't have much recollection of Wichita Falls, but I've been back several times later in life and there is still a connection there. I guess I'm like a salmon that swims back up the river.
In 1965, dad received a remote assignment to Peshawr, Pakistan. Fortunately, he was a senior staff member, and got to take his family along. At least it seemed fortunate at first. A few months later, Pakistan and India decided that it would be fun to start shooting at each other. As things escalated, bombs started falling on Pakistan. One finally landed about two miles from the base, and President Johnson decided that it would be best to get the wives and children out of the area. So began a trek through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan, into Iran, and finally to Turkey. On the way through the Khyber Pass, a group of guerillas stopped the bus and threatened to kill everyone onboard. The driver was responsible for saving everyone's life by saying that the women were prostitutes and he was taking them out of the country. We finally arrived in Karamousel, Turkey where we spent the next six months. We then returned to Pakistan for the rest of dad's tour. All in all, it was an interesting experience, but I wouldn't want to go through that again.
The next assignment was to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, TX in 1967. Compared to Pakistan, San Angelo was a little boring, but you didn't have to worry about bombs dropping on you. We were also close to Coleman, TX where mom and dad had met and married. I enjoyed being able to spend time with my grandparents and other relatives. I didn't realize that the the short 18 months we were there would be the last time I'd ever see my grandfather on my dad's side. His mother had passed away just after I was born and I didn't remember her. I did remember his dad though. To this day, I still love candy corn and I remember him being the first person to buy it for me.
The next year we were assigned to RAF Chicksands Air Force Base in Bedfordshire, England. That turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. We spent the first 6 months living off-base and I got to start school in the English school system. Their methods of teaching reading are outstanding, and are responsible for the love of reading that I still have today. After that six months, we moved into base housing and I spent the next three and a half years living in a truly idyllic setting. Everybody had kids, and there was no such thing as a single parent. Little did I realize that that would come back to haunt me later. About the only bad thing that happened there was an epidemic of Hepatitis A that was caused by a problem with the water supply. I wound up with a minor case of hepatitis, but no major permanent problems.
In 1972, we got our next assignment to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. Lackland is one of those rare places where the military and civilian world meet face to face. The Vietnam War was still going on then, and the basic training facilities at Lackland were running at full capacity. I always though it was strange to see new trainees come in with long hair and jeans, and go out with no hair. After seeing that program in action, I'm still amazed at the changes that take place in a kid from the time he arrives until he ships out six weeks later a warrior.
Life as I knew it changed in February of 1974. Dad retired from the Air Force and we moved to Abilene, TX. For the first time in my life, I was going to a civilian school. This was the first time that I'd ever heard of kids with divorced parents. That was a bit of an emotional shock that I wasn't prepared for. I changed in ways that stuck with me through the rest of my time in school. I became a somewhat introverted in public settings, but was still outgoing in situations where I felt totally comfortable. One of the comfortable situations was Bethel Temple Assembly of God. As a teenager, I was very involved in youth and music activities in the church and around town.
I finally managed to graduate from high school in 1981. After seven and a half years in Abilene, I thought I was ready to head out into the world, but wound up spending one more year in college at McMurry University (previously McMurry College). After that year of college, I finally left home at the ripe old age of 18 years old and went off to make my fortunes.
When I was six years old, I asked my mom if I could take piano lessons. After much pleading, I was finally able to start taking piano lessons. After two weeks, the teacher told my mom that she though I had some talent and she should get a piano for me to keep playing. Nobody ever dreamed that music would wind up being one of the biggest parts of me, but it began simply.
In the fifth grade, I decided that I wanted to join the school band. At the time, we had a Volkswagen Super Beetle so instruments like the Sousaphone were out of the question. I wound up playing the trumpet; something that I still like to play today. Between fifth and sixth grade, I also added the guitar to the list of instruments that I played. As I got older, it was a pretty natural progressing to add the electric guitar and bass guitar as well. Music was one of the most stable things in my life throughout high school. By my junior year, I was playing in one of the hottest bands in town and most people thought that I would wind up being a star someday. I continued to pursue the professional music career when I left home in 1982. By 1985, I had met some of the biggest names in country music, and had played with Tanya Tucker. As it turned out, music wasn't to be my career for much longer. Even though I don't play full time anymore, music is still probably the most influential part of my personality. It has been a friend and companion for many years, and will remain that way for many years to come.
If there is one area where I've made the most mistakes, it would probably be in my personal life. I've had the misfortune of marrying and divorcing twice. About the only good news is that I've learned a lot about what not to do. I just need to figure out what the right thing to do is. I guess relationships are something that we all have to work on for the rest of our lives because they're tough.
There have been a couple of good things to come out of my second marriage. I have a beautiful step-daughter, Melanie Jane Lindsay, and a wonderful son, William Douglas Bell III. We've been able to stay close despite the complications that a divorce can bring. Melanie is living with me now in Seattle, and I'd like to hope that Douglas will be here someday too.
What does the future hold for relationships? That question is really up in the air right now. It's impossible to know exactly what makes a relationship successful, but sometimes I wonder if I have totally missed the boat. When we were young, it was all about love...there was no thought given to the realities of the life that we would face with another person. As we get older, we start to realize that there are other things that have to be considered...so much so, that we often lose site of love itself. It is all to rare that we find a combination of both, and all too sad when we lose it all.
I do have some definite goals that I'd like to accomplish while I'm on this earth. I'm of the opinion that a person can really have a lot of control over what they make of their life if they are willing to put out the effort. The only thing a person has to do is make sure they have realistic goals, and that they know what it's going to take to accomplish those goals. Here are some of my bigger goals.
Copyright 2008 (c) - Diggy Bell
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