I was reading an article earlier today about the US Air Force and those deja-vu memories came flooding back about my few years in service. It was by far the biggest step I'd taken in my life at that point. Just thought I'd share some of what I remembered, things even family haven't ever heard...
Initially, I remember leaving home for the first time and flying all the way to Texas-first flight as well. Landing at night in a strange state, city, environment and being yelled at immediately by a stranger in a uniform! Meeting people from so many different backgrounds. Awake at 5AM and lights out at 9PM, scrubbing wax off hallway floors with a toothbrush (oh yes they did). Twelve weeks of training and half way through after much testing, they inform you what type of work you will be qualified to do. I was told I would be going into Crypto (short for coding-secrets and such). I was so excited I called home to tell my parents and to my astonishment, I was told the next day that I was being reassigned. Apparently that was a test to see if I could keep a secret!! Phone must have been tapped or someone close by was listening :)
My reassignment was to a service club-a place where trainees could go to have fun. Whoo hoo for me and my big mouth! I worked in the office, ran pool tournaments, booked entertainment, dj'd, flirted, and generally loved going to work every day. I met James Brown and had drinks-til-you-drop with two members of The Fifth Dimension (remember them?). I learned to play poker in the club after hours with my SSgt & Miss Aileen, the civilian manager of the club.
I had my first cigarette and my first beer there. I fell in love 4 times, broke a boy's heart and ran & hid from the MP's with six other friends (we really weren't doing anything too bad!). I met my husband there (now ex). I drank my first mescal, ate the worm (it was a BIG one) and woke up the next morning under a tree in my friend's yard. I stood in that same yard and watched my first tornado working it's way to me. No fear, just wondering where to go as the houses had no basements!
I loved to go to the River Walk in San Antonio-great food, great music, great bars. I remember my first trip into San Antonio on my first weekend leave. Went into town by myself, walked around amazed by my new world, treated myself to filet mignon in a very nice restaurant, all alone-lovely. I remember seeing the Alamo at sunset and was stunned by it's size, smaller than I expected but an atmosphere that moved me just the same.
I remember the heat and the locusts, the comraderie, the sadness of seeing a friend not make it through basic training and be sent home, the care packages and letters from home, the uniform tailored to fit beautifully, the pride in oneself. And so much more that I won't go into.
Well then, that's a little slice of my life. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I did living it :)