How I Met the Love of My Life-Part 6

30 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

On December 30, 1957 we loaded up the Mercury with everything we owned and headed east.  I had two weeks leave before the USS Hector sailed for Japan, and I was taking DiVoran to Albuquerque to stay with her parents while I was gone.  I had thought, at the time, that she was going to finish some of her collage classes.  We had planned to leave first thing in the morning, but you know how it is when you are trying to get ready for a trip; there are always those last minute things, you have to finish, that keep popping up.  That’s the way it was that day, we were trying to make sure we didn’t leave anything in the apartment.  We were both hot and sweaty as we locked up the apartment and gave the keys to our landlady.  As it turned out, we didn’t get away until late afternoon, and I wasn’t looking forward to driving the 800+ miles, across the desert at night.  And just as I had predicted, the afternoon desert heat was scorching (no air-conditioning).

As we got into the Arizona Mountains, the terribly hot desert temperature began to drop and we were so relieved.  That is, until I turned on the heater and nothing but cold air came out.  In all of our excitement about the trip, we had not thought about it being “Winter” outside the San Diego area.  The next thing I knew, the engine temperature gage pegged out on “COLD” and we were scrambling for something warm to put on.  As we came down out of the mountains onto the high-plains desert, I was hoping the temperatures would be warmer, but that was not to be.  Even though we were bundled up in everything we could find, and the heater off, we were still freezing for the next few hours.  In hindsight, a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator that night would have helped.  Oh well, as the old saying goes, you live and learn.

Then, after a while, I noticed the temperature gage begin to swing back toward “Normal” and then on over toward “Hot.”  What was going on, I wondered?  Back in those days, on the old two-lane Route 66, the “Trading Post/Filling Stations” were very popular and were usually spaced several miles apart.  The first of many miracles that night was that we were just coming up on one of those “Stations” right now.  We pulled into the station, but of course, they were closed (New Year’s Eve).  I looked under the car, and could see water dripping from one of the water pumps.  Another miracle; they had left a water hose by the gas pumps, and I was able to fill the radiator.  I made sure our two “Desert Water Bags” (Don’t drive in the desert without them!) I had hanging on the front bumper were full.  I jumped in the car, and we headed down the road, as fast as the old flathead Mercury “V-8” would take us, all the time watching the temperature gage closely.  If we didn’t come to one of those (few) “Stations” before the temperature gage got near “Hot” again, we would pull over and pour the two bags of water into the radiator and take off again.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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