Harem Girl

     The process at times was ludicrous. For example, on the day we were scheduled to run the obstacle course, the exercise was cancelled because the temperature was over 90 degrees. To replace it, we were taken to the air conditioned skating rink to get our P.T. (military speak for Physical Training). After all, we were airmen, not marines.

     After Lackland, my next stop was Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi, for eleven  months of electronics training. As time passed, the correspondence with Astrid tapered  off. Then, one day, the inevitable Dear John letter arrived and Astrid became history. My first reaction was anger. Not long after, it changed to loss.

     I missed her and the feeling that there was always someone there for me. Someone I could sit and talk with, trading stories, plans and dreams. Someone who was always glad to see me. Someone who loved me. How nice it would be to find someone like that again.

     At Biloxi, being faithful to Astrid was easy. For a Yankee, especially from New York, it was a romantic desert. After all, the city was the home of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy. The Civil War in Mississippi was known as the War of Northern Aggression, a bad omen. After our breakup, I still had eight months to go in training and dates were going to be few and far between.

     It would have helped if I had a car, but on what the Air Force paid the lowest rank of airman, I could barely afford insurance for one. However, some friends did have other sources of income called parents, not an option for me. Many of them could easily afford the extra expense of a set of wheels.

     One of my buddies had the redundant name of David Davis and occasionally was given the use of his Dad’s’ new, yellow, Plymouth Fury convertible. When he had it, he shared and life was good, especially since New Orleans was only ninety miles away and we always had weekends free. When the car, the weather and payday all aligned, we would leave Biloxi and escape to the Big Easy. I remember that we were there for Mardi Gras, but the effect of too many of Pat O’Brien’s Hurricanes blur the details. I was assured that I had a good time.

     The months passed in Mississippi and after surviving a long, hot and muggy  summer, similar to living in a sauna, the big day arrived. Our class graduated from tech school, which meant that my friends and I were about to receive orders scattering us over the globe. Although there was a possibility that I might end up in some Purgatory like Thule, Greenland, situated somewhere above the Arctic Circle, the military did something logical, an unusual event. I had studied German for two years in college, so I was assigned to the Air Force Station in Pforzheim, Germany.


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