Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Way Over

The beginning of the cockroach story actually starts in NH.  Lew had orders to report to the Philippines.  We had to clear out of base housing, Lew left for the Philippines and Andy and I waited for our papers so we could join him.  I don't remember anymore how long it took - I'm guessing about 2-3 weeks.  After we got our orders, we had shots, physicals, shipping things (including the car) and I wanted to spend a couple of weeks at home in PA.  After all, we would be gone for 2 years.

We came home and had a great visit until....... Evan, Eric and Brian all developed chicken pox. This was late 1971, Andy was 14 months old.  I forged ahead and about a week later, Andy and I left to join Lew.  We were flying commercial to San Francisco, military busing to Travis Air Force Base, then flying to Clark Air Base.  We were on the bus when I looked down at Andy asleep in my lap and noticed a red pimple on his temple.  No, It can't be.  We were staying overnight on base and leaving in the morning.  By morning he had more pimples.  I tried to get on the plane, but they wouldn't let us go.  Go to the doctor, yadda, yadda, yadda chicken pox, can't leave until the lesions are crusted over. 

Now I have three new problems.  First, I have a sick baby in temporary quarters with no food for either of us.  Second, I have $35.00 to my name.  Third, Lew is expecting to meet us at the airport and won't know what happened to us.

So, the Red Cross notified Lew that Andy was sick and it would delay our arrival.  Unfortunately, they told him it was small pox!  Next I call a cab.  I get in the cab with Andy and he drives me to a base version of a 7-11.  I don't want to take Andy in the store with me, so I ask the driver if I can leave him in the car while he waits for me.  What a trusting soul I was.  I went into the store alone, bought peanut butter, cereal, milk, bread.  When I returned, the driver took us back to the room and wouldn't let me pay for the taxi.

We survived four days on that one trip to the mini-mart.  On the fifth day, I had to take him back to the hospital for the doctor to release us to travel.  He did - and I even have the note to prove it - it says in part - "He can fly"  (I love that note!)

I wanted to check out of the BOQ but didn't have enough money.  They adjusted my bill from $7.00 a day to $3.00 a day.  That I could afford.  I got to the boarding area and the airmen and soldiers couldn't have been nicer or more helpful.  While in flight, if Andy was awake, the men played peek-a-boo or just talked to him.  We flew to Hawaii where we had a 6 hour layover.  Since he had thrown up on his clothes, I bought Andy a flowered shirt.  Next stop was a layover in Guam, and then finally the Philippines. 

And you know the rest of the story - except that the reason Lew had just moved us into a new location was - we had been robbed!  Before I even got there!  They knew it was the housing security guards but were unable to do anything about it except move. 

Military ties run deep.  I can tell you that the reason the men were so helpful to me is that they would want someone to help their wife and children should they be traveling alone.  Today I marvel at the communications military families have with their soldiers on tour.  It doesn't replace being home together, but it sure is better than the "old days." 


scissorbill said...

What an ordeal! I love how much you appreciate the angels that helped you. You are amazing! And you should write more often-you have great stories to tell.

Julia said...

I do remember everything that you just wrote and new things.