The story of a boy, who enlisted in the Navy, who became a man, who still retained the emotional maturity of that boy, yet convinced a woman to marry him.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

1976 Part III-Tomorrow Comes

In our last episode, I had a breather before tomorrow.  Which finally comes...

August 30
Part III
New Haven, Connecticut

"C'mon, back that car
down the driveway already!
I've had two cups of coffee
and I can't hold it forever!"
    The first, tentative rays of the late summer sun burned through drooping treetops as morning slowly shook off the lethargic shadows of night.  Birdsong intermingled with the harsh whirring of cicadas and the daily symphony of nature once more commenced.  Commuters, faced with the prospect of another work week, inhaled a quick sip of coffee before slipping behind the wheels of their cars.

    The process I’d begun as the first leaves were falling was finally about to begin.

    I stood before my dresser mirror for the last time as a child.  My anxiety grew as I realized there was no coming back from the journey I was about to commence.  Luckily, it was offset by the pride I felt that I was doing the right thing for myself and my country.

    And the knowledge that I only had five dollars left in my savings account.

    Needless to say, it was a fun summer.

    I bent down to retrieve the small bag I’d packed for the trip.  A shadow spilled into the room.  I looked at my sister standing in the doorway.

    “So, this is it,” she said.


    “All right, then,” she answered as she pulled a measuring tape from her back pocket.  

    To my dumbfounded look, “Well, I gotta measure the windows before I buy new curtains.”

    I shook my head as I pushed past her.

    As we backed down the driveway, I closed my eyes and slunk deeply in the backseat.  Hoping to calm the butterflies I was starting to feel, I closed my eyes for the twenty minute trip to New Haven.  It would probably be a wasted effort, I knew.  I was fairly certain I would be a bundle of nerves the entire way.

    “Kenny, look at that,” my mother said from the front seat.

Much cooler than Mom's Canary Yellow
Ford LTD Country Squire Station Wagon
with faux Wood Side Paneling.
I poked my head between the bucket seats of my stepfather’s Pontiac.  While in the coming weeks I would learn their technique wasn’t perfect, my sister and three brothers stood at the top of the driveway, hands touching their foreheads in a salute.

    Yeah.  I’m gonna miss you, too.

Like this.
But worse.
The blubbering and sloppy mess at the New Haven processing station was embarrassing.  The raw outpouring of emotion got so bad that people began to stare.  It was pitiful.

    But, my mother finally told me to suck it up, grab my stuff, and head on out.  She had places to go and things to do.  Besides, breakfast at Mister Donut was on my stepfather.

    Minutes after Mom squealed out of the
"Salt and Pepper" uniform.
Picture obviously staged.
Because everybody's smiling.
parking lot, I sat across a desk from my transfer coordinator.  The slight petty officer, dressed in an immaculate white shirt and black trousers called “Salt and Peppers,” flipped through paperwork which would follow me to Illinois.  He ran his pencil over each entry, nodding his head as he went along.  Suddenly, he stopped.

    “Uh, oh.”

    “Uh, oh?”

    “Looks like we have a small problem.”

    Ooh, didn’t like where this was heading.


    “Well, you see here,” he gestured at Guaranteed Training, “after Recruit Training, you’re due to report to AX ‘A’ School.”

    “Yeah?  So?”

   “There is no AX ‘A’ School.”
What I thought I'd be.

    “There isn’t?”

    “No.  But, there is AV ‘A’ School.  They teach Aviation Electronics for several jobs similar to yours.”

    “And AXs go there?”


    “So, it’s the same thing?”


    “Well, uh, okay.  I guess.”
What they made me.
Hang tight, I'll explain later.
    “Great,” he said as he removed a black pen from his shirt pocket.  He drew a line through AX ‘A’ School and replaced it with AV ‘A’ School, initialed the change, and smiled.
What I became ten years later.
Just hold on to your britches, we'll get there.
    “Looks like you’re good to go.”

    Well, I figured, if I'm good to go...
Next:  West Bound and Hell...


  1. Wow, you made it from the east coast to New Haven in twenty min... oh. Yeah. You mean the one in Connecticut. My bad.

    1. New Haven, Connecticut.
      Home of Yale.
      And urban blight.

  2. haha couldn't even wait for you to go to whip out the measuring tape. Well AV A or AX A at least you got an A

    1. That wasn't all we whipped out. Those stories will come later.

  3. So was the guy lying and AX A actually existed and he cheated you out of it for God only know what reason? I laughed at the blubbering and Mom told you to suck it up.


    1. I believe he really didn't know because it was kinda confusing. The AV 'A' School trained sailors for several jobs (since they were all related to aviation electronics):
      Aviation Electronics Technicians (AT), Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technicians (AX), Aviation Fire Control Technicians "AQ), and Training Deviceman (TD). The school still exists (in Pensacola, Florida now). TD's and AQ's were disestablished and merged with other jobs. Now, this was more than you wanted to know, huh?

  4. I can just feel it. You are going to get screwed by having a "V" instead of an "X" after that A. Did your sister actually take over your room when you left? I'm looking forward to the rest of this...

    1. Good guess, but I didn't become a 'V' or 'X.' My sister took my room, but not for long. Since it was next to my parents room she decided to go back upstairs after a few months.