Elizabeth Hubbard had a pretty normal childhood for the daughter of an Airman. She was born in Japan at the Misawa Air Base, but grew up between Florida, California, Texas and Germany. Because of a mother who was committed to giving her as normal a childhood as possible, Hubbard didn’t know that it was unusual to pick up and move across the world on a semi-regular basis. As she grew older, the frequent relocations caused the introverted young girl to become something of a social butterfly.
While moving across the world every few years made it difficult for Hubbard to form lasting friendships, she did have one point of continuity in the form of the youth centers that the United States Air Force maintains at all of its major installations. She credits the various character building programs and emotional support offered by youth center personnel with getting her through her father’s understandably nerve-racking deployment to Iraq. On the subject of her father’s service, Hubbard said, “It’s very hard to understand what it’s like being in the military from an outside perspective. Even I only have a diluted understanding of it. Hearing what my father has gone through second-hand, I just want to say thank you so much for all the sacrifices you’ve made.”
As she grew older, Hubbard met the children of servicemen from a variety of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Those experiences taught her to be empathetic and the power of the unique and profound bond that exists between military families. As she reached her teen years, Hubbard’s father was assigned to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California for a five-year span. There she was finally able to forge close friendships that would last longer than a year and be able to complete her high school education at one school.
Hubbard now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and studies Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Harvard. Although many freshmen are intimidated by the institution’s rigorous academic standards, a peripatetic adolescence spent attending schools with varying curricula gave her a certain level of preparation for America’s oldest and most prestigious university. It also helped that Hubbard’s favorite football team is the New England Patriots.
With her father now retired from the military, the Hubbard’s relocated to the Northeast so that they could be near their daughter as she pursues her academic goals. When asked what place she thinks of as her hometown, Elizabeth explained that, because of the life she’s led, home is not a place on a map; it’s wherever her family is. For Elizabeth Hubbard, home really is where the heart is.
Mario McKellop is a freelance writer who has covered the pop culture beat since 2010.