Friday, March 27, 2009

Leaving Home

I have no memory of leaving home to go off into the Navy.

How could that be? How could memory-boy come up with nothing? Well, it WAS September 12, 1966, that's a long time ago. It was just a few days past my nineteenth birthday and just four days after the very first Star Trek episode aired. You remember it, I'm sure, The Man Trap. Where the shape-shifting salt monster/vampire kills a bunch of people by sucking out all their salt.

It wasn't the first Star Trek episode shot, or even one of the pilots, but it was the first aired. Because it wasn't in the sequence intended, there wasn't any explanation of who these space people were or what the Enterprise was all about. Just Kirk's usual comments about the 'five year mission' (which turned out to be a three year mission) and -bam- right into the episode. Pretty gutsy, I think. I didn't see it when it aired, I didn't really see much TV for a couple of years before or after.

So, Star Trek was not
blurring my mind when I left. I remember the trip (it was my first jet airplane flight) and I remember arriving in Chicago. Was there some sort of trauma that caused me to forget? I've heard of people whose brain suffered some emotional insult and the brain said, "The hell with this! I'm outta here!"

Doesn't sound like me, though. More than likely, Bob Deeter's dad and/or mom picked me up after my mom and dad went off to work that morning and took Bob and me to the airport. Just nothing to remember.
Or else it was very early in the morning and I wasn't awake for any of it. Anyone who knows me even in passing knows I cannot abide getting up early in the morning, so it makes sense that I would go into military service. Or. . . DOES it?

When I was taking Physics in High School, the only accelerated class (HAD to be in the accelerated class! COULDN'T be in the regular class!) started at 7:15. 7:15 AM! Like in the morning! What sadistic bastard did that scheduling? There I was, working at Royal Castle,
flipping burgers and frying eggs until 9 PM, coming home doing my homework and then getting up in the stony dark to do it all again. I'm still tired.

Bob and I had joined the Navy together and we went to boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center where we learned to polish shoes and march. The GLNTC is on Lake Michigan in North Chicago getting close to the Wisconsin border. In a couple of years it will have it's one hundredth anniversary and some of the buildings looked it. It was in heavy use during World War II and some of the barracks from that period were still being used.

Remarkably, we were stationed in a brand new building. My company was the first one to use it. It was all clean and new. A little too new, actually. There was a row of brand new toilets in the head and everyone got the bright idea to leave most of them untouched so we wouldn't have many toilets to clean. As often happens, this had unexpected consequences. There was often a line. And since these were not stalls with doors, the line was directly in front of the guy trying to use the toilet. Not content to quietly await their turn, there was often yelling and abuse from those standing in line two feet in front of the poor schlub. "Come ON! Hurry UP! What's the PROBLEM!!" For some reason, privacy is a big deal for me now, I'm not certain why.

Not quite as bad as the public toilets in Roman days, but getting there.


Leah Kleylein said...

actually, the roman toilets look better because they didn't have a dirt floor....

Dave said...

Very interesting toilet comparison!

debbie said...

At least the Roman toilets had a constant stream of running water under the toilets - no flushing required!!! lol