This being my dad’s 90th birthday (he died in 1987 but I still celebrate him every year) and the 70th anniversary of World War II D-Day, I pulled out some stories he’d written many years ago. Ones that I typed for him on the portable electric typewriter I bought with my high school graduation money.
F.D.R. and “Ike” celebrated my 20th birthday by ordering the allied forces to invade Normandy. It was June 6, 1944 and the only party I’ve ever had that was complete with fireworks and human sacrifice. What a glorious way to exit the teens.
Unfortunately, I was busy and couldn’t attend. We were having a much smaller and less spectacular gathering on the beaches of Southern California.
I was encased in the aviation cadet cocoon and undergoing the metamorphosis into flying officer and gentleman by act of Congress if not God.
At the time we were attending the preflight school in Santa Ana, California. If the gathering of information from the various scientific fields was your forte, and you could abide the discipline demanded the cadet educational process could be endured if not enjoyed.
On D-day a puzzle of early spring was solved. One day in March we were all called out of the barracks where we were waiting to be assigned to cadet companies and to be officially designated as A/Cs, aviation cadets. Throughout most of the day we gathered in small groups on the grounds talking and smoking. Even as pre-cadets such slack discipline was not allowed. You chatted and smoked indoors. As the day progressed those individuals who had volunteered from Army units other than the Air Corps were assembled, told they were to return to their old outfits and marched off. One frudite and eloquent transferee was particularly incensed. Drafted, he had been trained for and assigned as a mule skinner. His rhetoric in describing his love of those creatures was not plagiarized from the classics or the scriptures.
On that fateful day 20,000 budding fliers were marched to fill the need for bodies to grace my birthday party. There, but for the grace of God…
We continued our education. After pre-flight we went to Kingman, Arizona for 10 weeks of gunnery school. One week of this period we spent at a sub-base called Yucca, an isolated oasis ringed by mountains making it a mammoth barbecue pit. It was here that we met the town sex symbol, a beauty who either had seven copies of the same dress or, God forbid, wore the same outfit for seven consecutive days of 110 degree heat. I can still remember the fuchsia and lavender flowers on that black print garment. My nose remembers too.
From there we went to Victorville, California, an advanced bombardier school. When we graduated from here in December the class of 44-52B would be officers if not Gentlemen, the ones that made it, that is.
Starting school we were hailed with a new greeting in our bomb trainer session. “Hey, you bunch of pea pickers.” “Pea Picker” was the password of the school propounded by Lt. Ernie Ford, the “Tennessee Ernie” of days yet to come. He wasn’t my instructor. His ungainly crew of fledglings held forth on the trainer 2 slots away from my own perch. “Tennessee Ernie” was not to last at the school as long as his progenies. In his case he “washed out” and was transferred, leaving his charges behind saddened but laughing.
As I remember, Lt. Ford and his bride were living in a motel of sorts created out of a converted chicken coop. Mornings after an evening’s rain the smell of him approaching would bring a nostalgic tear to the eye of many a homesick country boy.
A “shack” in bombardier parlance is a direct hit. It refers to that 20 foot by 20 foot wood structure located in the center of a target with a 300 foot radius. That is not what a “shack” is to “Tennessee Ernie”. To him it’s something for a Tennessean to live in.
On December, 22, 1944, Freddie Martin, with Merv Griffin boy singer, I believe, played at our graduation dance. On the night of December 23, 1944 we got our bars, our wings and ten days at home. Returning from this leave my train from Minneapolis joined a train from Chicago bearing many of my classmates from the East among them a lad from South Carolina who proclaimed that come war’s end he was going to return to his chosen profession of bell-hopping. Later that evening while I was climbing to my upper pullman berth, he stuck his head out of the lower to complain that I’d stepped on the fingers of the lady who owned the ticket for that berth, an ugly duckling whose obesity was only complemented by her grating personality and Karloff-like countenance. Practicing his profession, I presume, he’d “checked” his whole being into her rolling boudoir. Thirty years later, watching a T.V. host type show I was brought up short when he was introduced as the author of an article on the adventures of a bellhop. By golly, he’d said he was going to do it and he did it.
I’d like to offer a posthumous thanks to F.D.R. and “Ike”. I had a fine time at my party. For others it was admittedly misery at its’ best and death at its’ worst. Frankly, had it not been for the honor of it all I’d have forgone the whole thing.
We’re wishing each other Happy Mother’s Days all over Facebook this morning. I mentioned my status as a Mom Sandwich…Still got my mom and still got both of my kids.
It wasn’t easy to keep both sides of the sandwich in place and who knows how long the top of the sandwich will be around but this year, I am a two-slices-of-bread Mom Sandwich!
We’ve had to deal with a lot of hefty issues in this house and I am so thankful that this Mother’s Day finds us in a happy place.
I got a text message from my friend, Dan, today. Wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day! I love him and it makes me sad that Allison, his wife and the mother of his two girls, died from breast cancer just months before my own diagnosis.
It’s not easy being a mother or the daughter of one!
But I’d never trade either part of my sandwich for anything in your lunchbox!
Before I write about what I’m going to write about today, I want to tell you (in case you aren’t a Facebook friend of mine or in case you are and you’ve hidden my feed, you brat!) my friend, Claudia Brevis, has her first book out on Amazon today. Kindle version right now, paperback version coming in a couple of weeks!
You need to stampede over to Amazon immediately and fork over a small amount of money for a whole lot of incredible story-reading! I’ve read it twice and I loved it – I’m going to read it again!
Oh, and I’m listed on the page of Acknowledgements.
I mean, Go Claudia!
So. Today’s blog entry besides Claudia’s success and my 15 minutes of fame…
Yesterday my friend Tammy and I were texting. She wanted to know if I had my appointment with the Lung Nodule Clinic (I do, next Tuesday I meet with a thoracic surgeon – they are really listening to me!)
Whilst texting, Tammy meant to type “said” but it somehow got auto-corrected to “airbag”.
You know I now have to call her by the nickname of Airbag. I just have to. It’s how that stuff happens!
Yesterday one of my coworkers by the name of Brad (don’t anyone turn me in to HR!) was telling me that one of his work nicknames was “Bad Brad”. According to BB, a long time ago when these kinds of things were still allowed to occur without immediate firing, he’d gotten a bit tipsy at a work function and mooned the room. Another employee approached him, offering him money to go to Cost Cutters to get his hairy ass shaved.
“So now they call me Bad Brad!” he said.
“Well,” I replied, “I’m going to call you Hairy!”
Hi might regret sharing that little story with me.
I’ve got a few nicknames myself.
“Juveli” was my nickname throughout high school and college. Nobody used my first name, not even teachers or professors once they heard it.
I babysat a friend’s daughter and she got confused, calling me, “Vujeli” instead. Which my friend, Dan, turned into “Vaj Vajelly!”
CiNDy’s mom misheard me on a phone call once, telling CiNDy that “Kathy, The Belly” had called.
And then there’s the GS (gold student) to my friend, Karna’s SS (silver student). Unless she beats me to the first 100wpm on the Star Wall of Fame at DCTC!
These days people mispronounce my married name Hauck as “Hawk” (It’s pronounced Howk) so often that I’m thinking about changing my first name to “Kitty”. Kitty Hawk, get it?
But now I can’t because Claudia put “Kathy” on her acknowledgement page. Guess I’m stuck with the name I was given!
What are your nicknames?
Blog entry by K-Lo :o)
So the other day I was whining to my boss that my chest was feeling “bronchial” and it was probably “the cancer.”
She wasn’t happy with my diagnosis and told me to start thinking positively.
“Well, it could be that my chest is feeling bronchial because I lifted weights the other night.”
“That’s it!” she said.
“Or maybe it’s the peanut butter I ate. Every time I eat peanut butter, I feel like I’m having a heart attack.”
“Maybe you should stop eating peanut butter!”
So I was sharing this story on the phone with my high school best friend, Tammy. Filling her in on the nodule in my lung. Tammy got quiet and started to stammer before I begged her to tell me what she was having a hard time telling me.
One of Tammy’s co-workers/friends had breast cancer before I did. During one of her routine exams they found a nodule on her lung. They told her to come back in 3 months for another scan. But she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t wait.
She had the cancer.
This made for a very troublesome night of sleep. Tammy and her co-worker/friend were working together the next morning so I gave them a call on my way to an early morning meeting.
I spoke directly with her co-worker/friend who told me about her small lung nodule that turned out to be the cancer. But because it was caught so early, they removed it and she didn’t have to have either chemo or radiation.
After hanging up with her, I immediately called my friend/nurse at the Piper Breast Center and left her a voicemail telling her what I’d heard and that I didn’t want to wait 3 months. I wanted to move forward.
Following lunch she called me and apologized for taking awhile to get back to me but informing me that she’d been making calls on my behalf.
Have I told you how great my cancer team is?
So here’s the plan…I should be hearing from the Lung Nodule Clinic (there really is such a thing!) affiliated with my cancer center and will schedule a consult with them. From what Tammy’s co-worker/friend said, the biopsy was pretty much nothing. Which is probably relative at this point in time but it’s better than going totally mental before the end of June!
Of course I’ll keep you posted!
Update on that last entry: I am suffering very little after everything became clear following my conversation with a friend this week. It truly is amazing, how much the truth will set you free! I appreciate her possible honesty.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, My friends are deadbeats! All of them!
Not a one of them would go to the Barbie Dream House with me. Not a one!
It’s a good thing they’ve got better sense than me or I might have actually gone to the stupid Barbie Dream House which, from the looks of the pictures I found on the Google, is really meant for little girls and not old broads who are the same age as Barbie.
Barbie never grew up while I am incredibly mature.
And have deadbeat friends!
God! When I say I want to do something, you people ought to jump!
I mentioned to my niece, Tracy (hi sweetie!) that I had deadbeat friends and I wanted to join her and her buddy, Amanda for some of the adventures they always seem to have…archery, painting stuff, whatever.
They just invited me to join them on one of those mud runs. You know what I’m talking about. You run, there are hills, you crawl on your belly – like a reptile – through mud with barbed wire over your head.
Guess who’s the deadbeat now?
Auntie Oma SuperNova (aka me)
If they want me to join them for a baking class, a group massage, cocktail mixing, pole dancing, I’m in!
But I will never crawl through the mud and mess up these rented Barbie boobs!
I do this I don’t know how many times a year. I decide it’s time to get back into the Weight Watchers World of points counting. After all, I did lose 30 pounds that one time counting points.
Oh sure, I gained all 30 pounds back plus another five or some other such number, some ten years or so ago.
I’ve tried the Weight Watchers thing many times since that one time. Each time I lose absolutely no weight but gain more self-loathing about my inability to go OCD with the points counting and food focusing.
I just did it again. Signed up for the on-line program a few weeks ago, lost 3 pounds then got annoyed with the points counting and food-focused obsession, canceling my account.
I’ve gotten so good at canceling my on-line account that it now takes me hardly any time at all to find the right link to click on. I am a Weight Watchers-account-canceling prodigy!
What I’m doing differently this time is not allowing myself to be self-critical about my inability to obsess about everything I eat or drink. If they could come up with a counter similar to my steps pedometer, I’d sign up! Instead I’m going to focus on making better eating choices (between the not-so-better eating choices) and getting myself off of the couch and into the gym – or down the street while I walk the dog who should sign up for Weight Watchers before I do! What with going from 56 to 68 pounds in one winter! If I was decent with math, I’d be able to figure out exactly what rate of percentage that was and it’d be huge!
But I digress. Speaking of digressing,
This reminds me of a story my friend CiNDy told me about a friend of hers, who died from cancer several years ago. Something about eating candy bars and not worrying about gaining weight because as far as she knew, fat people didn’t die from cancer.
Today, unencumbered by that Weight Watchers cloud, I met a friend for lunch. We had beautiful salads for our entree followed by a dessert for each of us.
The food was lovely but the conversation was what I focused on. And that, my friends, was a once in a lifetime conversation.