The old school.

Long,  long ago,  I had a breath-taking affair,  that went quite unrequited.  This affair was my secret dalliance,  her name was Sarah,I pined for Sarah and occasionally,  she would sweetly,  smile or hugged me.  That was tantamount to, an intimate moment.   Accordingly I often fantasized about her.  She was friendly,  as I said,  and I lost my faux virginity, in a blaze of glory.

Then,  Eureka, we had a date.    I was so passive-aggressive, so shy,   but she,   in  her days of in a one-sided relationship, constantly hurt, waiting for him to call.   I had a song to always remind me,  of her.   “Day after day.”  I was, lonely  but hopeful.  So it was not only me  but her as well.   I was the better guy,  at least, to me.

I know that sounds,  crazy, but that is the way it was.  So, I started seeing others surrogates for a time.  These nice girls were surrogate lovers.   I finally found another a girl,  in fact,  she was more than that,   she became my first hard copy girlfriend. She was beautiful with long black hair, cascading down to her lower back.   She was an heir to my affections.  We cuddled,  held hands and went to the Senior Prom.   She and I remained constant, but my going into the service,  was just too much.   It was hard, but life goes on.

My virginity was willfully taken by a young woman,  about my age.  One evening,  I am going home,  and I had an epiphany,   She wants more than someone to watch  T.V. with.  I was happy and nervous, at the same time.   I was 24,  going on 25.  She was sitting in my lap,  those,  ministrations,  wooed me.  Her eyes holding me prisoner and that was it.   My aut0-erotica partly banished.    Like Steve Martin,  I had my purpose!!!   lol,

She upset me,  as we were driving back towards the base. She was complaining about something and I yelled at her. She felt guilty and so did I, eventually.   When I went back to weather school,  she was constantly calling ME and it felt rather good.  I was going through,  a delayed puberty,  with hormones holding  me at bay,  and it felt like ‘The Stockholm Syndrome.’  Who was I to complain?   I remember that she  and I, were bowling.   I sucked,  and she had games of 240 and 260.   I bowled a 140 game.   Some guy was watching us, and said,  “she should go pro”.  I said, “she already is.”

I did see Sarah again.  She and I went to breakfast and I said to her,  “let’s take a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas”.    This was spontaneous and it was cool!  We had a great time!  Though short-lived,  because she had to have surgery.  I was on a roll.  She told me,  “What you need,  you have already found.”  Meaning her,  but my shyness,  cost me, something very special.   Life goes on.

Up and down, like a pregnant pause, that having more than one context. and for another time.  Now, as certain as death and Texas!  lol.  You feel me?   Anyhow, this subtext is beautiful. Back on Earth!

I always wanted to visit my old church,  but not at about 11:00 PM…  Needless, to say I did!!   Of course, the Minister had since passed away.   There are  a lot of memories in that real estate and more are to come.      As I scan across the street,  I see the old high school and I start walking slowly.   The cool air penetrates my armor as I continue on.

About half-way to the school,   I stop!   I notice a place where we used to ice skate. Unfortunately for me, I on my back with realizing,  any kind of skating is not my bailiwick.   Memories of first love was imprinted on my emotions.  The Gazebo and the ice rink still there.

Curiously,  I notice,  that the front entrance is slightly ajar.  As I approach,  there is a kind of de-Ja Vu.   My heart races, as I step inside, a war room of hormones,  full of peace and the irrevocable heat of days now irretrievably gone.     Now my life gets weirder.  A warm breeze now replaces the coldness outside.  I notice a locker,  with a lock and it is secure.    The combination lock has to be least, sixty years old!

As I notice, a combination lock and  as I twirl the dial, I hit the jackpot. The lock opens with a click and the locker door comes open.  I look below and then above.  On the upper shelves are a few books,  neatly arranged and I reach for the highest, of them.   As I open that book, the card with the names of past owners are faded but the dates still discernable.  On the back of the card are a few more names and below,  is a kind of message,  that I assume is addressed to someone.

I return the book  to it’s original place,  shut the locker and fasten the lock.   As I turn around, the door across the hall is cracked.  The old classroom door squeaks open.  A few of the original desks are decorated with love notes, etched into the wood.  As I look around,  I see an empty bed.  It is meticulously made,  with a white comforter, with tiny red Wolverines.

A paradox now happens.  Where it was hot, it is suddenly  very hot, with a light cooler breeze that meets my face.  I follow the draft to the bed,  where I repose and laying there,  I fall into a dream,  where a smiling face, greets me.  All of a sudden,  I feel a warm pair of lips on my own.  Not sure if this were a dream or the real thing,  I see a face.   It is much older but has a face I do not recall,  but as the light becomes lighter,  I recognize an angel, putting a hand over my mouth and whispering.  “Where have you been?   All of a sudden,   the face appears clearer and I mention her name out loud.

Many years had passed,  but it was like yesterday.  Of faces familiar and in a school I never attended,  but it all comes back.   A sea of words,  replaced by our awestruck faces;  we together and say,  “how have you been?”  She just smiles!

 

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Pistol-Whipping Hummingbirds?? lol Closings?

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These two pictures are iconic and probably before my time but they both encapsulate the meaning and purpose of young adulthood.    I for one can remember all the front gates at the stations that I was stationed at.     I think it is like an ant farm,  a collective of like-minded young people fulfilling tradition and populating the various career fields.

I had spent time at Sheppard and Lackland AFB bases but it is was Chanute and perhaps Rhein Mein AB,  Frankfurt,  Germany that hold my greatest interest.  Both places are closed no!!!~   A piece of me,  GONE!!!

Blog – Haunting Photos!

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL.

The Abandoned “White Hall” at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL.

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These were the new dorms back when I was there around 1979 and 1981.   I was in the NCO dorms and we had maids and cable TV and the place looked like a Motel but we as Sergeants drove to class and did not have to march.      Every day you would hear the cadence of ropes (student leaders) and the rhythmic beat of black combat boots.   Student had flashlights with their yellow cone-like caps almost like headlights leading the way.     Beware of the Air Force Form 341!  I will gig you!!  haha.

Fortunately that was behind us as we were Non-Commissioned Officers  and we were bad ass!!  Ok,  we weren’t but the new trainees froze when they saw us.   We could only think back to those days.  Seventeen to twenty-one year olds who for many was leaving home for the first time.

I was in the Gremlin,  Pacer,  Pinto and Vega-era.   We had K-Cars and dumb-downed Novas,  providing the late Twentieth Century with plenty of cheaply made cars.   Computers then had the memory of an old folks home.     Like Commodores and IBMs and softwear programs designed by Moses and I am not talking Moses Malone.  RIP sir!

We had psychometric wheels where we converted pressure values into Station Pressure,  Pressure Altitude and Altimeter settings.    We had no computers showing us Satellite Imagery and radar.   For this was the generation of Fax Machines with all that on it.   We analyzed charts by hand,  looking for anomalies that would describe current weather events and potential forecast products.

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FAXMAP2

My WordPress first edition weather blog.

Dan’s Weather Page. USAF

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We actually had all this equipment at Chanute and even put out our own forecasts using the technology of those times.   No Doppler Radar or double dopplers!    Even the fax machines we had above went from crappy to functional and it was all good unless you touched the blades that transmitted the signal to the paper.    You could seriously cut yourself and many observers did just that..

And reliability?  Forget about it!

Chanute AFB Museum     Good job by the author depicting the changes and how these memories remain kind of sealed in our subconsciousness.     From the Airman and NCO clubs and recreation centers,  those memories largely survive in vivid detail.     As the buildings collapse and are torn down,  other newer facilities fall to the ax.    Memories buried in debris of asbestos-laden buildings razed not to be seen again, only in our memories.

But the essence of these times will not be forgotten and as White Hall (Weather Central so-to-speak) and it’s radar have vanished like the morning fog.   Rows and rows of the Old World War II barracks are gone,  the only thing left are the concrete slabs used as foundations and the rows where troops marched in the morning an the afternoon.

But there is a side to all of this.  The side where young people got their hearts broken and broke hearts too.  Some of us may have drank for the first time.    It was 1984 when President Reagan signed into law the Federal drinking age.   Something I strongly despise.

We had an old place where Service Members went to have fun.   A local dance club (er dive…. lol) called the Prairie Lands and if you drove past the club and the old silos you could be blown off the road during the right weather conditions.   An eddy that surrounded the silos and that highway and we were all notified of this hazard by safety NCOs and Officers.

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I played AAU basketball for a church near Champaign.   I scored 34 points for our team there at the University.      I remember a  lot from those days including watching UI destroying University of Texas,  Texas-Arlington 119-74 and we got free pizza for them the Illini topping 100 points.   That was cool.   I also remembering watching WGN when the Phils beat the Cubs 23-22.

1979 Cubs/Phillies

It was in one of the new dorms (newer then) that I drank for the first time just at the end of the course when I got dizzy in the foyer and then made it to the room.   While laying down,   I saw Jesus,  made promises to him and my bed seemed to be spinning around.  I didn’t feel my best,  as I crawled to the porcelain throne and met the floor.   Oh well.   Oh and the girl who was turning 25 and talking about how her life was almost over.    Afterall that is a pretty advanced age!!!  Hahah

Observing school was a piece of cake and forecasting school not as much fun or as easy.  My problem being an ADD and Anxiety disorders that kind of hurt me all the way through except for Physics and had a 97 on the final.    Anomalies do happen.    I am just glad I made it through.

At that time pizzas were still 20 minutes or they were free at Dominos Pizza.  Of course we had people try to confuse drivers so they could get a free pizza.   I guess this is what drove the company to give discounts and then when they got GPS,  the gig was up.   Our nefarious plots and watching the original ‘Battlestar Gallactica’ along with the occasional female friend was our whole life beyond our studies.  And our studies? Well I would kill the subjects at the dorms with my friends expecting I would ace every test.  Fat chance of that.   You could swear that I was as apprehensive as going through the gas chamber or an MTI finding an unlocked personal locker.   You see,  they frowned on that a little.. ha

In passing,  just as our parents and their parents,  things change.   To the new people who come along and experience weather school at Keesler,  they probably do not get the fascination with Chanute.  That old and prestigious building (White Hall) is an enigma and it’s destruction feels  like a friend who passed.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd6zYQPCgsc

I took my chevy to the levy, but the Chevy was 55.

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I remember riding back on a bus from a wrestling tournament in which I did fairly well beating the number one seed and then getting pinned.  lol.   Charlie Brown couldn’t catch a break either,   I guess.    On the bus with the snow heavily falling I remember Don McLean wistfully popping off esoteric lyrics;  many of which had resonated with me.   I remember dancing in the gym and being born in February and making me shiver and the thought of my crush possibly seeing someone else.

It was a day when Rock and Roll and God were permitted to be sung or said.   Idealistic maybe,  but at the end of the day, that will be what matters most.   And as we wax poetically in a cape of invincibility,  the pieces all fit together.    “And the jester on the sidelines in a cast.”    And my main blog being,  ‘The Times Are Changin’.    A reverent nod to Bob Dylan and the perspicacity of the young McClean.     Who like in Vincent painted an indelible statue on the pantheon of auto racing history.   Likewise with the brand of our cars and stock cars they seemed almost perfect in form and in function.

The eclectic poets put down their pens.   The past which was ours is stilled remembered,  like a Polaroid snapshot we sung with our whiskey and rye much like our school’s fight song,  “you bring the scotch and I’ll bring the rye”.

Good times,  a bit of self-delusion,   we built a city within arenas playing the National Anthem and the song ‘Proud Mary’ which blared from cracked intercom speakers  during breaks in racing activity and the intermission.   A time of Drive-in theatres and Woodstock.   We encapsulated in a bubble,  a kind of time capsule in an era of war and rebirth.

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I do not know of a time in racing in which racing that had so much mystique as the day of Chevy and in particular but not restricted to,  the 55 Chevy.    In fact,  the popularity today is continuing with restorations of privately owned personal automobiles as the stock car that once was such a fixture in short track racing.

Like the Pinto and Gremlins and J-2000s which dominated modifieds,  the 55 is a marvel in itself.    Our own dad helped Dick Casterline with his #577 which was not a Chevy but of that era.    Ike Edmister’s old race car hauler which we used to slide through our yard with.    The old truck with a Late Model engine and besides Ike was pretty cool.

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I remember my dad and Dick partying, coming into my room and lifting weights with one hand (120 lbs) and me kind of shocked there.    Anyhow,  it is awesome how an era can say so much and the music reflecting the mood of those turbulent times.    We had this and this was enough.

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Wild action at Chemung Speedrome (Small)

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To all my old and new friends,  this song is dedicated to you.   To the drivers,  our parents and our children.  These were the days!!!!