Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Days of our Lives, Chapter II

I did something really fun with a couple of gal friends yesterday. I went to a movie in the middle of the week in the middle of the afternoon. If you haven't seen Nights in Rodanthe yet it's a must. I thought it was just as good or even better than The Notebook. I love Diane Lane and who can resist Richard Gere. It's definitely a chick flick and remember to bring a box of kleenx. The movie kind of put me in a reflective mood, thus today's entry.

A few days ago I wrote about some history (A Look Back in Time) and told you that I would continue the story for those of you who are newer readers. So here goes.

* * * * * * *
Prior to shipping out of Iceland, Ole tried in vain to have his duty station extended so that we could spend his last year of service there also. We both loved it a lot. But Uncle Sam had different plans for Ole. I guess he thought if Ole was going to be a Sailor, then he better be a Sailor and sent him to an aircraft carrier so that he could get his sea legs.

Now remember, this was during the time of the Viet Nam war, and the carriers were normally stationed somewhere in the China Sea, sending all their planes in to do bombing missions and such. The field that Ole was in would have put him right smack into all the turmoil. But Lady Luck shone on us AGAIN, and he caught a carrier off the east coast that was headed for a six-month Med Cruise. We were sent to Mayport, Florida, where three days after our arrival I waved goodbye again, and again, didn't know when I would see him.

Meanwhile I had to find a place to live, and ended up in a "trailer park" just out the gate from the base. That was all we could afford. I inspected the trailer prior to moving in and it looked good, someone had done a pretty good job of cleaning. I managed to get my stuff moved in and somewhat settled, and that evening sat down to watch a little TV. I had no lights on other than the light from the TV screen, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed some kind of movement. I thought I was seeing things, so went back to the TV. A few minutes later I noticed the same thing and had the eerie feeling something was going on that I didn't know about. So - I flipped on the light and THE WHOLE FLOOR MOVED! There were cockroaches EVERYWHERE - scurrying to hide anywhere they could - under the fridge, into the cupboards, I swear they were able to get between the baseboard and the vinyl flooring in the kitchen.

Now you have to understand - I'm a kid from the North Country where the cockroaches don't manage to live through the winter. I had never seen one before in my life, and hadn't the foggiest idea what to do to get rid of them. Up here we don't move out of our house every six months, encase it in a tent-like affair and call in the exterminator. The only bug we have that's large and offensive is the Minnesota Mosquito, and at least they're outside, not trying to live in your cupboards leaving tracks throughout all your food - Yech!!! Anyway - long story short - I managed to get rid of all of them and have a roach-free house for the remainder of the time I was living there, but it took constant work on my part and the purchase of a ton of roach paper and spray.

But - back to Ole and his Med Cruise. Three months into the six month cruise I found out that there was going to be a contingent of military wives chartering a plane to fly to Athens, Greece, where the carrier was going to be in port for approximately three weeks. So guess who was first in line to buy a ticket?? Lena, of course.

The big day of departure came, I arrived at the airport in plenty of time, everyone got aboard and settled in for the long flight. The plane taxied out to the runway and stopped. And we sat there, and we sat there and we sat there. After a long period of time the pilot finally announced that there would be a "slight" delay in departure due to mechanical problems. TWELVE hours later, we're finally winging our way east toward Greece. Believe me, you haven't seen "upset" until you've seen 300 angry (horny) military wives who haven't seen their husbands for three months and they're running twelve hours late! I think that's why the plane captain kept his cabin door locked throughout the flight!!

We finally arrived, and it was a mad dash to deboard - a free-for-all trying to locate your own personal sailor. As hard as I tried, I couldn't see Ole in the throng of people in the airport. I was nearly in tears when someone came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder and grabbed me in a tight hug before I could get turned around and see who it was. And of course it was Ole - I had walked right past him in the airport and didn't recognize him!! He had shaved off the handle-bar Snidley Whiplash moustache that he had always worn, and was as brown as an Indian. And you know, all those sailors look alike in their uniforms (snicker).

After spending a few days in Athens we struck out for quieter regions of the country, and drove up the coast to a fishing village named Halkis. We had a wonderful time just relaxing in the sun on the beach and taking in all the sites. The Greek food was out of this world. Most of the time we didn't know what we were eating, but who cared? In the little villages no one spoke English, so many times when we would stop at a cafe they would take us back into the kitchen and we would point to what we wanted and it was always tastey. The countryside was beautiful, just like a storybook, and the people were always friendly and helpful. We spent three wonderful weeks together before I had to go back home.

The flight home was uneventful once we got into the air. But getting into the air was another story AGAIN. This was during a period prior to airport security of any kind; the point in time when hijackings were just beginning and happened frequently, and bombs being planted in luggage compartments, etc. And remember how close Greece is to the Middle East? And how would the US Government react to a planeload of military wives being hijacked or blown up in mid-air? We were loaded on the plane, started taxiing down the runway accelerating to take flight when all of a sudden the captain shut the engines down and managed to get the plane stopped before it was airborne. The hatch was opened right there on the runway where we stopped, and we were instructed to exit the plane as rapidly as possible as they had received word that there was a bomb on board. You can move pretty fast under those circumstances, believe me. All the luggage was taken off the plane and gone through by officials. Yes, they did find a bomb on board, but fortunately it wasn't big enough to have done any damage other than make a mess. Pretty scarey stuff.

Anyway, I finally arrived back in Florida all in one piece, managed to exist by myself for another three months before Ole came steaming into port on the carrier and home for good.

So here's a few pictures of our time spent in Greece. I promise I won't bore you with anymore of these historical documents for awhile.

BTW, once again, turn off my juke box as this little diddy has it's own sound.


~ Sil in Corea said...

Thanks for stopping by my journal. :-)
LOVE your pictures!
I'll work on the story of how I ended up here and put it up soon. Meanwhile, I have a diary of my early days in Korea here: http://sillama1.diaryland.com

Anonymous said...

It was only a little bomb? Okay then, not too scary! Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Oh, no, bore me some more ... Please? Really, I love your stories. What went through my head (living in the middle east) is aren't you glad (in a twisted sort of way) that there was a bomb? Nothing really burns more than going through all of that for a false alarm. *wry smile* I'm glad you were all right. Mel

words-4-less said...

We rural folk really don't have much experience with cockroaches. The first I saw was in our apartment in the Cities. They loved the kitchen, of course, and the light switch was a pull one....in the middle of the kitchen so we had to walk at night through cockroaches until we were able to get to the light. We did have some fun burning those little suckers in the sink, but the way we really got rid of them was to get a cat!! Never saw another cockroach in that apartment. (I think they moved next door to the catless apartments!!!)