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Birthday Illustration- Lee Neighborhood: Officers Quarters

V.J. Osmon, MG's Unit A- Lee Neighborhood. 8" x 10" Gouache, watercolor, pen on Crane Cotton Paper

It's the first time that I've (we've) lived on post. If you are in the military or married into the military, you know that means certain things. And here on West Point, there are a bunch of certain things: the sound of a cannon throughout post- (reveille announces the work day at 6:30, and retreat sounds at17:00), neighborhoods organized by rank host kids running through yards and spouses walking dogs, cadets in PTs run the roads and sidewalks, cadets ruck marching, (someone is always running), a post that goes insane with people and noise during home games (GO ARMY!), parades, class reunions to pair and accompany new graduating classes... There is always something going on, something happening. West Point is a military installation, a college, and a home. It's also beautiful and historical; it's the oldest continually operating military installation in the United States.

And we happen to live in one of the oldest neighborhoods: Lee. The neighborhood is tucked at the north end of the installation, midway up the mountain on a semi-flat stretch of land, overlooking the Hudson. Below us, you can see the rugby fields (hear them too) and train tracks that snake north, hugging Storm King mountain while tracing the river's shore. Looming above us- the rest of the mountain and a small highway that connects us to the rest of the world. Steeped in history and charm, quaint brick duplexes line the streets and outsides of the "loops." Oak trees, planted long ago, create a canopy that dapples lawns in sunlight and creates shade for Adirondack chairs. Strung lights stretch over back patios extending outdoor spaces and offering hospitality.

And what is extremely different about this neighborhood, not the historical quaintness, is the sameness. Most in our neighborhood have been serving for twenty years- we don't have to explain the compounded effects of PCS, TDY, or Deployment to anyone here. And from a spouse's point of view, we don't have to worry about our children creating friendships and finding a place; for the most part, friendships and inclusion happen fast.

Of course, it's not all peaches and cream...

At any rate- this small illustration is of one of those homes. I don't generally create illustrations (except in my sketchbook). And I joked somewhere else that I hate to give "art" because I don't want to impose it on anyone. I mean, not everyone likes the same things, and it would probably end up in a hallway or bathroom! However, when you move as much as we do, it's nice to have something that reminds you of your time there.. Plus, people have been asking:)

Historical photograph of Lee Neighborhood from 1935, before Oak trees were planted.. Notice the rise of the mountain on the left.

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