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August 24, 2021 By Bill Rawlinson

Why I Left Home

It was December and the Air Force’s “Flying Training Command” was going to shut down for the holidays. How rational! I had only been in the Air Force five months, but it was five months of “Yes sir, No sir,” up at 0500 hours, march in formation to every location (except the latrine), days of 100 plus degrees, cockroach infested barracks and learning a totally new language…as well as “Texan.” Christmas at home would be wonderful!

My parents picked me up in Boston, and we small-talked the hour’s drive to Providence. It did not take long to realize that we now lived in different worlds, even though their world was once mine. As we approached the house I turned to my parents and exclaimed, “Where’s my cah?” (That means automobile). My mother smiled and with great pride exclaimed, “I only paid $10.00 to have that thing hauled away!” I do not remember what I said, but knowing that my 1931 Ford was gone, and she had paid a stranger to take it away left me seething.

When we got inside, I hauled my few bags to my old bedroom…only it was NOT my old bedroom. It had been redecorated in a way that any woman would appreciate: frilly and flowery. As I threw my bags on the floor I looked to the corner where my comic book collection once stood. These were comic books published in the 1930s. With great pride my mother announced that all the comic books went into the trash and, “Doesn’t the room look nice?” I did not respond! A decade of collecting those literary gems was ended!

The two weeks of leave flew by and the half dozen of my old buddies who had gone into the service were also home on leave. That was not important, as my girlfriend Betty was still my girlfriend! We met together every day. When it was time to head back to Texas, I had to return to Logan Airport in Boston. It was a New England winter day with freezing temperatures, icy roads, and accidents every other mile. My parents would drive. I begged them to leave extra early, as a one-hour drive would not work. It fell on deaf ears! They were in no rush and my explanation of not returning to duty on schedule was serious. The drive ended up being 90 minutes! When I went to check-in, I was informed that my flight had departed. The airline rep said that she would try to find another light. I informed my parents that they did not need to wait with me. Fortunately, another flight did become available. As I sat on the airplane heading back to Texas, I reflected on the fact that “home was no longer home.” The Air Force life was starting to become part of the “new me.” Next task: convince Betty that she would love being an Air Force wife!

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