This is the question that always stymies people who grew up in military families. In her book MILITARY BRATS, Mary Edwards Wertsch estimates that the average Army child attends over nine different schools between kindergarten and twelfth grade. She attended twelve. Many Army children may attend twenty.  Navy children move a little less, since they sometimes stay put while the father cruises the seas.

I was born in New Haven, Connecticut, April 19, 1936.

I'm the son of Orlando Jackson Purdom (1908-2002, United States Navy 1925-1953) and Inez Tigna Purdom (1910-1998).

I grew up primarily (but not exclusively) in West Haven, Connecticut; San Diego, California; two places on the rural outskirts of Tampa, Florida; and the Bainbridge Naval Training Center in Maryland.

I've lived in Philadelphia since I left home in 1954-- 19 years in West Philadelphia, most of the rest in center city.

My father became a Purdom when he was adopted in Florida. He was a Winchenbach when he was born in Maine in 1908. In the past, I have sometimes referred to a family story that he was descended from a Hessian who deserted during the revolution (which would have been our family's first contribution to the military history of the United States). I have recently been advised that all the Winchenbachs in the United States are descended from Johann Friederich Phillips Winchenbach who was born in Germany on July 13, 1712 and emigrated to Broad Bay Maine in 1752.

My mother was the daughter of Italian immigrants who settled in Hartford, Connecticut. Her father was a sergeant in the Italian army, with eight years service before he emigrated.

My father met my mother because the Navy located its main submarine base in New London, Connecticut. I ended up in Philadelphia when I left home because my family had moved to the Philadelphia suburbs so my father could take a job working on the first nuclear submarines. If the submarine hadn't been invented, my father wouldn't have met my mother, and I wouldn't exist. If the nuclear submarine hadn't been invented, I wouldn't have come to Philadelphia and met my wife. And my son and his children wouldn't exist. If you went back in time and assassinated the primary developers of the modern submarine, John Holland and Hyman Rickover, you wouldn't be reading this page.

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