A Veteran Recalls…

It is hard to believe, but recently, I recalled that it has been 44 years since I went through Basic Training in the Air Force. I consider this, along with my marriage to my wife, to be one of the most momentous events of my life. It brought me into adulthood in a hurry. There are images and sounds from that time that I can still recall. But not many. Drinking from a water fountain and running down the stairs are among them. The sound of the taps on the Training Instructors boots would still give me pause, if I were to hear them again.

Those were days when banks of phone booths in the training area would always have lines of airmen waiting to make a call home. This happened because all trainees would be given a break at the same time. There were, of course, no cellphones in those days.

There were smoke breaks for those who smoked; otherwise, you had to study your training manual. The chow hall provided us with three meals a day, eaten as fast as possible in the 15 minutes allotted. Sodas were available for breakfast, lunch and dinner back then. Although I would have milk for breakfast, it was soda the rest of the time. That is another change, there are no sodas allowed in basic training now.

Credit cards were unobtainable, debit cards did not exist. To make any kind of purchase we had to have cash. After a few weeks, we were paid twenty dollars to buy items we needed to replace, like soap and shaving cream. We would be required to write down the serial numbers of our paper money, just in case it went missing!

I remember running a 6:38 mile in combat boots. I have never forgotten that time. We needed to finish under 8 minutes. As one of the group that finished the run early, I went back to the slower trainees and “encouraged” them to pick up their pace by shouting inspiration at them. If anyone took more than 8 minutes to complete the run, we would all have to run again.

It seemed rough back then, but thinking of those days now gives me an appreciation for the simpler times of my life.

The Fabric of Time

Cleaning out my closet, I came across a still beautiful blue cocktail dress. It speaks to me of a long ago moment now frozen in time.

I remember wearing it, and even having had my picture taken right before we drove off on our way to a special event.

It’s one of those pieces that will remain in my closet forever, even though it no longer fits quite the way it once did.

New dresses come and go, but my blue sheath remains a faithful reminder of days gone by.

Old Photo Albums

Recently I decided to organize my mother’s old photo albums. Two of the albums were in damaged condition so we ordered new magnetic sleeves and consolidated all the pictures into one album.

Looking at old photos of people back when they were young is a good way to bring on a bout of melancholy. And, listening to old country songs makes those feelings even more pronounced.

There were photos from the 1920’s, some from the 50’s, some from the 60’s, some Instamatic Polaroids, some school class pictures. There were pictures of family cats and pictures of family dogs, with each one evoking memories of events from long ago.

All in all it was a trip down memory lane and a chance to say “hello” to those I haven’t spoken to in a while. Today, we have our photos in the cloud…just isn’t the same thing, although we do enjoy viewing them in a slide show on the TV screen.