My idyllic childhood was behind me. My carefree high school years were fond memories. August, 1963. I was married with three daughters—Micki, age five; Katy, age four; Mollie, age two. We were headed to join Jack, who was stationed at Goose Air Base in Goose Bay, Labrador. I was leaving home for the first time. Scary.
As our little entourage made its way to the Lake Charles terminal my mother was trying not to cry and my dad was singing a silly little song trying to keep her from it. I was too busy trying to keep the kids corralled to worry about anything else.
We boarded a puddle-jumper in Lake Charles and flew to Houston, where we took a Delta jet to New Jersey. Our last destination in the U.S. was McGuire Field (now known as McGuire Air Force Base.) We were taken to our room by a civilian employee who carried our luggage and checked that everything was working there. Before he left he unlocked the window and opened it. After he left I shut it and relocked it. I might have been from Small Town, Louisiana, but I wasn’t stupid.
Our flight to Goose Bay was the next night at 2:00 a.m,. Two in the morning? Who’s bright idea was that? I spent the next day in a room with two beds and not much else in the way of furniture, trying to keep three kids from going stir crazy. We only left the room to eat in the cafeteria, and we subsisted on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because I didn’t have enough money to get anything else. They were the cheapest things on the menu. Staff Sergeants in the Air Force weren’t exactly on the path to riches.
We went to bed extra early, since our instructions were to be at the terminal no later than midnight. We got there with time to spare, all dressed and ready for the final leg of our journey. The place was teeming with other families, active duty airmen, and even some members of the Turkish Air Force. However, that’s for Part II. See y’all next week.