Great Loss

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September 11, 1997

On September 11, 1997 I graduated from Weaponeering School but I was upset. I'd made a series of stupid mistakes, some because of fatigue from the Texas heat (the air conditioner in the classroom frequently broke) which had dropped my score from a 95% to a 92%. My office had a little competition going back at Langley and I wanted to do well to prove myself. It didn't work. But that was the least of my worries.

I called back to the office at Langley, and Amanda answered the phone. She told me that she'd heard I had be confirmed to go to Omaha, Nebraska after my return from Korea, instead of Langley. This information had come three weeks ago but no one at the school passed the message on to me, to allow me to address the problem. Now I was in deep trouble because I was past the time limit to turn it down. Amanda listened to me for half an hour as I tried to think of what to do, and how Miimii would react if she had to move to Nebraska and lose her job. Amanda always listened to me.

I phoned Miimii and she flatly said she would not move to Nebraska with me, and didn't understand it was not my fault. She yelled at me and asked me why I was telling her this now? I got very, very drunk that night and hung out in Lou's room. The next morning drove 13 hours to Indiana. My favorite aunt, Henrietta, had cancer and was very sick. I always liked her because when I'd send a card or a letter, she was the only one who understood my humor. Not even my mother could do that. I wanted to see her. Feeling more desolate than I had in years, I arrived in Evansville late that night.
Mom said Henrietta had died the night before.

All Things Must Pass>>>
The other interesting thing I remember from that night is when my mother discovered I'd accidentally spilled edge dressing (similar to paint,used to shine the edge of black shoes) on my hands and couldn't remove it with soap, water, or a variety of cleansers. Mom insisted on taking me to the back yard and pouring gasoline on me--it worked. God forbid I have dirty hands at the funeral! It was as if she'd lost all sense, like a dog gnawing it's own foot off, I kept looking at her intent and focused expression, thinking William Shatner would show up in an episode of "Rescue 911". I went to bed coughing and sneezing from the fumes, and Mom said,"Boy, that edge dressing is really getting to you huh?" and I replied,"No's the gasoline you poured all over me!"

Over the next few days I called Langley and tried to work a deal over the phone with my boss to see if we could pull some strings and get me back to Langley in 1998 following my Korea tour, and save my marriage. All this time I was dealing with the funeral for my aunt, and scared to death of bursting into flames for standing near a candle. I didn't know what to say to my cousins who rarely saw me and wanted to talk. I was a zombie and wandered off alone to think in the cemetery. I had no outlet for my rage--my bicycle had repeated flat tires, then my aluminum fork broke. I called Miimii and told her if staying in Virginia was so important to her, I'd leave the Air Force to save our marriage. I'd been in for nearly 13 years, but when I took my marriage vows I said,"'Till death do us part".
Miimii told me no--she wanted a divorce.

All things must pass away>>> All things must pass away>>>