Year 1: Aug 1983 to Nov 1984
After boot camp in Cape May, NJ I was stationed on the USCG Cutter Midgett in San Francisco, CA. (Actually Alameda). I flew out to CA with nothing but a sea bag of stuff. No car, no major possessions.
I spent the first six months carless. During that time I took a bus to visit my friend Turk who was in the Air Force down in Merced, CA. We went camping up in Yosemite. I did two long cruises during my 1 year and 6 days on the ship. My first cruise was to Panama and the second was to Alaska. Quite an experience.
After six months I took out a loan (didn't get paid too much back then) and flew home on leave. My brother and his first wife drove back with me with my Camaro. This was my first time driving cross country.
I spent a lot of time on Webster St in Alameda. It was within walking distance and had all a poor boy needed. I got my first tattoo on that street at Ricky Tattoo. $35.
After a while I received orders to Electronics Technician A School...
Year 2: 1985
In November of 84 I drove across country for my second time. This time alone and along a southern route to avoid the snowy mountains. I spent the next six months learning how to be an electronics technician in New York City.
I received orders to Cape May, NJ and reported at the end of June. I moved into the barracks and met my room mate. The next day he asked if I wanted to go to Wildwood and I did. We went into a McDonald's where he introduced me to a beautiful redhead.
Our first "date" was that night I think. We went to the beach at night. It wasn't very long until we were going on our own dates without the other couple. I remember my first meal at their house. Esther made me hamburger gravy.
I settled into the shop and made friendships that I still hold dear to this day. We worked together and played together, a close nit group.
Year 3: 1986
Life at the ET Shop and in Cape May fell into a very pleasurable routine. Work was great, with great people. My only fear was to arrive at work early in the morning after a big breakfast and be told I had to get underway on the 55 footer and jump on to the Large Navigation Buoy (LNB) and repair the engine controller. That was one of my jobs that I didn't look forward to. I only puked once, but the 55 and bobber like LNB didn't sit well with a big breakfast.
I made Second Class this year and we moved from the old shop behind the small boat station to our new shop by the Air Station. We spent the summer in one part of an abandoned boot camp squad bay. No AC or running water. The porta-potty was our friend.
We had great times on liberty hanging out and having fun. Thirsty Thursdays were epic as Lisa could get served. We also learned how to play Volleyball this year thanks to Willie and Wanda. Our team won the finals and we found a favorite sport that we still enjoy today (in the form of Wallyball).
Other things I remember (maybe 1986, not sure): Partying at Gerry and Wendy's. Grain punch party where Jim Emery lost half his beard (and Rick one eyebrow). So many good times.
Year 4: 1987
I was going to talk about the Light House Adventures, but Lisa covered them pretty well with last night's post. Actually she cleared my memory of the events, which my mind had homogenized into one event. The fact remains that she was with me both times and I will never forget that bright beam of light revealing the giant snow flakes.
This is the year I asked my girlfriend to become my bride. I had been planning this for a while and had a ring on layaway. Lisa was upset that I had to go away to another C School, so I went to the exchange and picked up the ring and came back to ask my best friend to become my wife. Little did she know what she was getting into by saying yes. We had a year to plan.
By now I think Anthony our black cat had come to live with us. He was very skittish and almost hairless when we adopted him, but would turn out to be a very faithful and well traveled cat. We had also adopted Cleo a female black kitten a while back, but she disappeared rather quickly.
Shop life was a good routine. We would come a little early and watch Deborah Norville on NBC News at Sunrise each morning. By now I had worked my way into the Supply room. The title was call Stock Cow.
A couple other memories are the nasty smell and taste of the water in the house I rented with Chris. Hardly stayed there, but I kept a few things there and paid rent. Also, the wine & cheese nights along the Washington St Mall. We would go from place to place snacking and drinking and getting into the holiday mood.
|Party at the house. Rick, Chris, Wendy, Gerry and Tom's head|
Year 5: 1988
This year had quite a few transitions. The most important event of 1988 was making Lisa my wife. For our honeymoon we took an actual month and traveled the country. My bride and I drove out west stopping in places like Graceland in Memphis, the Grand Canyon in AZ, Las Vegas, NV and Disneyland in CA. We camped out just as much as we stayed in hotels and hiking down into the Grand Canyon made us sore for quite a few days. So that was cross country trips three and four. It was a good time, but we got tired of driving after a while and just did a marathon drive to get back east after a while.
My next unit was going to be Governors Island, NY where I would learn to put aside my fear of public speaking and become an instructor. I made First Class shortly after reporting aboard and qualified in the classes I was to teach.
We lived in the high rises on St Marks Place on Staten Island and taking the two ferries every day back and forth became a skill. Anthony came with us and even though pets weren't allowed, no one ever made us get rid of him during the short time we lived there. Lisa got a job at the exchange on the island, so she too got to live the joys of commuting by water in the Big Apple.
When I accepted the orders to NY, there was a strong rumor that the school would be moving to CA soon. That hope would become reality and a new adventure would be starting for us.