January 2017 – Scrapbooks are a lot of work and photo albums tend to sit on shelves and gather dust at our house. But stories travel. They mark the times we remember and are told or retold, sometimes much to the chagrin of the principal characters who are present at the time. When I find something that triggers memories of the places we have been and the people we have known I have someplace to tell the tell the stories.
1977 – I was standing in the airport saying a tearful good-bye to my brother. We were supposed to be graduating from high school later that late May evening, procession partners during the commencement. We found out the Marine Corps didn’t see ‘graduation’ from school the same way we did, seems the evening commencement ceremony was not required. He had passed all classes (graduated) and was now property of the USMC. He would be gone 13 weeks and then on to his first duty station and I would still be waiting to leave for the Navy until the following February, missing him terribly. Little did I know just 3 days later, due to an issue with another female recruit, I would be standing in the airport saying good-bye to my parents and a couple of friends. I was heading off to Orlando, US Navy boot camp for 8 weeks then on to my training schools in Memphis, TN. It’s funny to me now to realize lots of life and some of its most poignant and funny moments have happened in airports. (1-15-17)
1996 – We’d have five years in Alaska, the maximum the Air Force would allow us. The family was relocating from Fairbanks to Phoenix Arizona. For a lot of reasons the whole thing was going to go in three waves. When Honey-Dear came down in the spring the temperature change from there to here was 87 degrees. Fairbanks was 30-degrees the morning he drove away and the recorded temperature in Phoenix as 117-degrees when he pulled into town 10 days later.
In September I came back to Arizona to do school enrollment and move the pets. It was, in my opinion, still too hot for the mere mortal. When we were leaving the airport even the dog knew something was wrong. As we got ready to walk out of the terminal and the sliding doors opened the dog actually backed up when the heat rolled in the door.
By November when I was coming down for the last time there was already several inches of snow on the ground in Fairbanks but I didn’t even need a sweater for the first winter in the desert.
That was 20 years ago and I haven’t worn a real winter coat since. (1-10-17)
1992 – 1996 and the song remembers when, or at least the newsletter. The first almost affordable home PC units became available in the mid-90’s but like us most of the people we knew didn’t have one. You could use one at the library and data storage was on floppy disc. Phone calls were still charged by the minute for long distance and the most efficient way to keep the family up to date on what was going on was a good old-fashioned news letter. During some clearing out this fall I found some of the old copies.
Mine was ‘published’ irregularly under the mast-head “Half-Baked Alaska” until Alaska Magazine asked me to change it. Seems they had a long-standing column under the same name. Nooooooo problem…and the little family newsletter became Half-Baked Alaska.
I didn’t find any copies of Issue # 1 but Issue 2 was published December 1992 and this was the last article, appropriately titled “Lastly…”
Again, a whole year. I have to look back as I close this newsletter. Two years ago, for the first time, *A* and I were preparing to spend Christmas without *S*. He was facing the holidays alone at a bombing base in Spain. Without the support of our friends we would not have our many happy memories. We remember all of you and yours with love and special fondness this holiday season.
Last year our family was together in a motel room in Canada eating a Christmas supper of 7-11 sandwiches and soft drinks, trying to figure out Canadian T.V. No tree or tinsel but each other and the prayers of our family and many friends to carry us safely through.
This year with our tree and decorations in place, in a home of our own, our little family is once again all together to celebrate the season … Sort of like Tiny Tim, God Blessed Us Every One.
With Christmas 2016 just past that holiday in Canada was a story worth remembering. Now I’m looking forward to visiting those old newsletters to see what other stories are waiting. (1-7-17)