Tag Archives: A military man remembers his life.

Fred Remembers~Part 18

30 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

More of Fred’s adventures at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (UNM):

 

University of New Mexico – Credit Google Search and UNM websit

 

During the first week – Freshman Orientation – various organizations on campus set up tables to advertise their presence.  As God would have it, the first table I came to was the BSU – Baptist Student Union.  They quickly found out I was a believer, and they offered to provide a ride to church the next Sunday.

Sure enough, on Sunday, one of the students came to the dorm and took me to his church – the First Baptist Church of Albuquerque.  I remember the young men’s Sunday School class he took me to was called “The Radiators.” Their motto was:  “if we rest, we rust.”

 

Photo credit Google search First Baptist Church, Albuquerque

 

After visiting that church for a few months, I joined the church and soon joined the adult choir.

One of the classes I signed up for was Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps).  (There are only three ways to be commissioned as an officer in the United States military:  (1) ROTC, (2) attending the Military Academy, or (3) completing Officer Training School (affectionately called the “90 Day Wonders,” since it is a 90-day program).

During my third semester of ROTC, I completed all the officer-qualifying exams which included a complete physical exam.  My vision was such that I was not qualified to be a pilot.  Since the Air Force was only commissioning pilots at that time, I was not allowed to continue in the ROTC program.  Some years later, after I completed my graduate school, I applied to Air Force Officer Training School and was accepted.  After completing the 90 days, I was commissioned a 2ndLieutenant in the Air Force.  I was immediately ordered to San Jose State College in California for training as a meteorologist.

 

Fred’s commissioning 1966

 

Fred receiving his commission papers as a 2nd Lieutenant

 

For many years, beginning in my high school years, I had a “Dairy Queen” hairdo, complete with a large curl in front.

 

 

 

 

I knew the Air Force ROTC unit would not allow such a haircut, so before my first class, I went to the nearby Kirtland AFB barber shop and had my hair cut in a very short “flattop,” which I kept until after Judy and I arrived in Germany in the summer of 1967. (As a side note to this: I quickly discovered after arriving in Germany in 1967, that the German people looked askance at me with my flattop.  It was because Hitler’s German Youth Corps wore their hair so short, that I reminded them of the Nazi’s.  When I learned that, I let my hair grow out – but no longer with the curl)

 

 

Charles wrote:   In December of 1957 we left Japan for assignment to Cannon Air Force Base at Clovis, New Mexico.  There we would be not too far from Fred.

We went over to Albuquerque to pick up Fred at the end of his first year there and brought him to spend the summer with us.  During that same summer we were visited by a group of young people from the First Baptist Church of Albuquerque.  Fred had joined that church and was active in the young people’s group. Among those visiting us was a very attractive young woman who seemed interested in Fred and he in her. Eventually this mutual interest led to their marrying a few years later.

 

 

 

And so, as they say, the rest is history……

 

~~~~~~~~~THE END~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers Part 17

16 Dec

Sunday Memories

Judy Wills

 

And so, in August of 1957, I left the family in Tokyo and flew on a PanAm flight across the Pacific Ocean with stops at Wake Island, Midway, and at Hickam AFB in Honolulu.

 

Hickam AFB flight line

 

Charles wrote:  It was during our assignment to the 41st  Air Division and Johnson Air Base that our older son, Fred, left us to return to the United States and matriculation at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. He was the first of our children to leave the nest and I felt his absence very keenly.  I know the other family members also missed him but, for me, it was a shock.  I was to feel that same shock when the other children, in their turn, left Kitty and me and I never did get used to it. Oh, I learned to live with the fact that we had our children only for a few years and that they must leave us to take their place in the world.  It was the will of God and we had to accept the reality.

A friend of mine, Pete Benefield, was on the same flight.

 

Pete Benefield and friends, Hawaii

 

While in Tokyo, we kept each other company.  We stayed at the same hotel.  Nearby was a theatre that was showing Around the World in 80 days.  The theatre had been built just for that movie.  A ticket cost 80 yen (360 yen = $1.00 U.S.).  It was in Cinemascope and full stereo sound.  We had seats near the back.  It was in English with Japanese subtitles.

The next day we flew out on a DC7  with four old propeller engines.  We stopped in Wake Island to refuel.  As we were landing, I could see the ocean white caps under the wing.  We used nearly all the runway to land.  After Wake Island, we flew to Hickam AFB in Hawaii.

Pete stayed in Hawaii.  I flew on to San Francisco International Airport.  I took a cab into town, to the train station.  I stayed in a hotel overnight, then took a train the next day to Los Angeles.  Aunt Eleanor (Mom’s sister) and Uncle Bob met me at the station.

A few weeks later, I took the El Capitan from LA to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend the University of New Mexico.

 

Sandia mountains from my dorm window – UNM golf course

 

After registration, the University put me in a room in Mesa Vista Dorm – the only men’s dormitory at that time.

 

Mesa Vista Dorm

 

They put me in a small, two-man room, but instead of two single beds, there were two bunk beds.  They actually put four men in one small room.  Apparently they did not expect all of us to complete the first semester.  As it turned out, two did drop out by the start of the second semester.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers-Part 16

9 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

During my senior year at Narimasu,

 

Tokyo American High School Narimasu

 

I was concerned about what I was going to do about college.  I knew I wanted to go to college, but I wasn’t sure where.

In the meantime, while we were in Japan, I had come down with some fairly annoying hay fever.  It wasn’t quite asthma, but similar.  Lots of people told me I needed to go to a dry climate, so I was looking and inquiring around as to where a good place to go to school would be.

The librarian at Johnson Air Base – I don’t remember how I got to discussing it with her – talked to me about going to college, and she was from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is little over a mile high.

 

Sandia Mountains outside Albuquerque, New Mexico – credit Google Search

 

It is obviously semi-desert and very dry climate.  She persuaded me to put in an application for the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

 

University of New Mexico – Credit Google Search and UNM website

 

UNM lobo – mascot – Credit Google Search and UNM website

 

I had already applied to Washington State University, Purdue University, Florida State University, and the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.  I actually had line numbers for Washington State and the University of Illinois.

Fortunately, my grade levels had improved over the years, and I was able to be the Valedictorian of my high school class, had done fairly well on the National Merit testing, and received Honorable Mention.  [Judy’s comments here: Fred’s sisters once told me that he went straight from age 12 to 20!  He lost all interest in pursuing girls, and began his absorption in his studies]   All that meant that the universities were sort-of bidding for my attendance.  But the librarian persuaded me that the University of New Mexico would be a good fit, both for the climate, and also the fact that it had a good physics department, which I was interested in.  I was especially interested in astronomy, and UNM had their own observatory there.  I think that was the last school I applied to, and I was, fortunately, accepted.

Since UNM was a land-grant school, even though I was out-of-state, the tuition was very reasonable – as I recall, it was about $323 per semester for tuition and about the same for room and board.  My parents were happy with that, and I happened to get a scholarship from my high school.

With all that in mind, come August of 1957, I left the family in Tokyo…….

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers-Part 15

2 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

I remember that at both Tachikawa and Johnson, I rode a bus about 45 minutes to get from the housing area  to Narimasu High School, which was in Grant Heights, which was in a housing area in Tokyo.  It was about a 750 student school complex that went all the way from 5thgrade through 12thgrade.  Even the high school portion was about 500 students, so it was a pretty good-sized school.  (The entire Grand Heights area was demolished by the Japanese for the 1968 summer Olympics).

 


Narimasu High School

 

It was an interesting situation there, especially going to school in Japan.  I remember several experiences with earthquakes.  We never received any damage, but I remember how the chandeliers in our room would sway.  I remember one time during one of the Baccalaureate services I was attending, and my Dad was preaching, that we had an earthquake.  The whole building was moving around and shaking.  One of the guys accused my Dad of being an “earthshaking” preacher.

In the Fall of 1955, a young airman started and led a Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) that met every Sunday evening in the base Chapel.  I decided to join this group.  I soon recognized that four or five of the teens were different from the rest:  they had purpose; were happy and helpful; and they did not curse or tell off-color jokes.  In fact, they were the real Christians in the group.  I wanted to be like them.

About the same time, my father brought home a book he found in a book store in Tokyo.  The book was Letters to Young Churches by J. B. Phillips.  It was, in fact, a contemporary translation of Paul’s New Testament letters.  As I read the book – for the first time in my life God’s Word came alive to me.

 

 

These two events:  the few real believers in the CYF, and the modern translation of Paul’s letters, together with the testimony of both my parents, who were strong believers, combined to lead me to commit my life to Christ.

 

Chaplain and Mrs. Charles Wills

 

As stated in the previous blog, in the summer of 1956, my Dad was transferred from Tachi to Johnson AB, on the opposite side of Tokyo.  Johnson AB did not have a CYF, so I started one.  The first meeting was myself and my younger sister, Emily.  Within a month or so, we were averaging over 20 teens attending, out of 28 who lived on the base.

In late summer of 1956, the CYF group from several military bases in the Tokyo area met for a retreat at a resort near the foot of Mount Fujiyama (affectionately known an Mt. Fuji).  The two events I remember from the retreat are: (1) I preached my first sermon (about 20 minutes long), and (2) I climbed Mt. Fuji (12,395 feet above sea level).

 

 

The climb over loose rocks and large boulders was somewhat difficult.  To aid the climb we purchased poles about 6 feet long and octagonal in shape.  At each of the 10 stations along the trail, for a few cents, we had the poles marked with a wood burned stamp that gave the altitude and the name of the station.   A few of the stations, including the top station, also sold small flags to attach to the pole.  We started the climb in the evening and stopped at a shelter after midnight.  We got up very early so we would arrive at the top before sunrise.  I still remember that the sunrise at the top was fantastic!

 

Fred’s sister, Emily, adds

Yes, I did do a hike up Mt. Fuji, and I remember that Fred was with the group. (Actually I climbed it twice) .  Great fun, and good exercise.

Emily still has her hiking stick – here is a picture of it, with stamps and flags

 

Emily’s hiking stick – Mt. Fuji

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers-Part 14

25 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

We also used to make trips into Tokyo itself by either car or train.  One interesting thing about the train ride was that – of course the Japanese could always tell who the Americans were, and we could tell who they were – the students, because they were always in uniform.  All the school children wore uniforms.  For some years they had been studying English in school.  One of the fun things was that some of the little school kids, some of them pre-teens or even teenagers, would come up and ask us to help them with their pronunciation.  They knew the grammar better than I did, but they needed some help with their pronunciation.  They never could get the “L” and the “R” sounds.  It just wasn’t in their language, so it was foreign to them, and they had lots of struggle with those sounds.

Back in those days, Kobe beef was the rage which, if I remember right, was beef that had been fed beer to drink, and when they slaughtered the beef, aged it with potatoes and carrots and other vegetables for quite some time, which made it very tender.

There was an interesting restaurant called Suehiro’s (advertised as the World’s Largest Steakhouse with the World’s Best Beef), which was our favorite restaurant.  This was back in the days when, in most restaurants, you could get a steak for $1.25.  We used to pay $3.00 or $4.00 for one of those fairly big T-bone steaks at Suehiro’s. It was a real treat – you could cut it with your fork it was so tender!  I think that now that same beef would be over $100 for the meal.

There was a Tea House in Tokyo that was a multi-storied building.  Each story served a different type of tea.  Green tea in one, and very sweet “black” tea on another floor.

 

Fred’s Mother, Kitty (in white top, center), performing a Japanese Tea ritual

 

There was a theater on base that was round, with an opening in the roof that could be opened in good weather.

Charles wrote:   Since this was a flying outfit, I also flew with our pilots, sometimes in the local area cruising around Mount Fuji or crossing the Sea of Japan to take passengers to Korea.  On one of those trips I flew over with 169 people on board, and on the return to Tachikawa, sat in the cabin with the pilots and the engineer.  On that flight our number 1 engine developed a fire. The engineer, a Master Sergeant, took his tool box and made his way out through the wing, passing through the number 2 engine nacelle and out to the number 1 engine which had been shut down. There he removed the generator which had caught fire, anchored it to the wing and then returned through the wing to his station in the cabin. During this time we were at 9000 feet and the plane, under three engines, had lost only ten knots of speed!

 

Tachikawa AB Chapel

Billy Graham visited Tachikawa AB in 1956.  Charles is on the right

Sometime in the summer of 1956, my Dad was transferred from the chaplain’s office at Tachikawa to the chaplain’s office at Johnson Air Base. Actually, it was a pretty good promotion for him.  So we moved across from one side of Tokyo to the other to Johnson Air Base, which was a beautiful facility.  We moved into a three-bedroom, four-plex there, where we had a little more room to spread out.  The middle two houses were two-story.  The second story had three bedrooms and one bath.  There was a large storage closet.  It was big enough for only one twin bed – that was my bedroom.

Credit Google Search and bobp31-Homestead-FHA

 

The Wills Family, Base housing, Johnson AB, Japan

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers~Part 12

11 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

Charles wrote:   Late in 1954, I received orders assigning us to Far East Air Forces.  So we were being moved to Japan.  

We left Tyndall in the winter of 1955, on February 1st, with the temperature being 28̊.  We headed West on U.S. 98 in ground fog.  The fog was right at windshield level.  We drove across country through Texas – and it took two days to across Texas! [that was before interstate roads] – then  across New Mexico and Arizona to Yuma, Arizona.

Charles wrote:   On our first day out of Tyndall heading to the west coast, we arrived in Beaumont, Texas in late afternoon.  Going through the city, we happened to be the last vehicle in the line to go through a light.  Unfortunately, a beer truck following us, also attempted to go through, but went too fast, and when we got into the next block discovered he didn’t have room to stop, so he crashed into our new Buick, bending the trunk lid.  Kitty had her sewing machine in the trunk, and she was concerned about that, but more about the children.  The driver came to apologize, but Kitty yelled at him, “what are you trying to do….kill my children??”  He arranged that very day to have a check cut for repairs for our car, so we continued on out to the west coast.

 

 Charles and Kitty with Sally by house on Beacon Beach, Tyndall AFB, Florida

1953 Buick, light green bottom, dark green on top

I think we ended up spending a few days with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins – I think at that time they were in Pasadena, California.  We drove up to Danville, California, which is just east of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay area.  Dad found a place for us to rent.

I think that, just a few days after we arrived in Danville, Dad decided to trade in his car – the 1953 Buick that was rear-ended – on a 1955 Chevrolet V-8 which was coral and gray.  It was an interesting car, and we really enjoyed it.

 

Emily and Sally by the coral and gray 1955 Chevy

We got in a three-bedroom house in Danville, south of Walnut Creek, California. It was a very affluent area, near Mt. Diablo.  Us kids were enrolled in the schools there.  I attended San Ramón Valley Union High School.  It was a new building.  I was quite disappointed to find they didn’t teach any Latin at all, or Algebra 2. They only had Business Math.  So I took two hours of study hall.  I had to take spelling again, something I hadn’t had to take since the fourth grade!  I was not impressed with the California schools.  We went to Japan during my second semester of my 10thgrade.  Since I could not take Latin and Algebra 2 while we were in Danville, I had to take them both during summer school in Tokyo.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers~Part 11

4 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

Back to our stay at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

 

Photo credit WJHG.com
Credit Google search

We were there from summer of 1951 through the first of February of 1955.  I attended 6thgrade at Cherry Street Elementary School.  From there I went to Jenks Junior High School. [It was spelled Jenks when I attended, but now it looks like it is spelled  Jinks, don’t know why]

 

                                                                                                          Credit Google Search

 

Jenks was a new school that year, and had been planned for 750 students.  The first day there were 930 students attending. They had to quickly put up portables for some of the classes.  I had my health class in one of them.  I attended Jenks Junior High School for 7th,8th, and 9thgrades, and one semester of 10thgrade at Bay High School.

 

Credit Google Search

 

We lived in the house at 107 Cove Lane, as I recall, until sometime in 1954. Then, because of Dad’s job, they wanted him to live on the base.

Charles wrote:  …Tyndall became for me the longest assignment in the Air Force.  I was the senior chaplain at Tyndall during the period 1951-1955 and, as such, the Base Chaplain.

 

Chapel, Tyndall AFB, Florida

 

So we ended up getting quarters on the base, out on what they called Beacon Beach. It was an old, old , fairly small house, right on the beach, maybe 50 or so yards from the actual Gulf of Mexico. There was some protection there, because out about a mile or so there was a sand bar.  I remember that Mom and Dad and the girls lived in the house, as it was just a two-bedroom house.  And out in a separate building – a detached building or shed – which had two fairly small bedrooms and one really tiny bathroom.  That’s where Larry and I lived.  I had one end of the building, which was away from the door and it kind of slopped down a bit, but it was big enough for a bed and a small chest of drawers. Between my room and Larry’s room was a small bath with a shower.  Larry’s room was just barely big enough to have a bed in it.  He also had the door that went out.

One of the interesting things about living out there by the beach was that, out in the water there was a lot of grass growing, about 8″ or 10″ tall grass.  I would wade out about waist deep and, if you were careful, either with bare feet, or preferably with some old sneakers, you could step on scallops.  So I could go out there and in maybe an hour or so could pick up a whole bucket full of scallops, probably 3″-3½” in diameter. I would take them back to the beach where I had a hose, away from the house, and we could clean out the scallops right there, take out the muscle of the scallop, put them in a separate bowl, take them back in the house, and we would have fresh scallops for supper.  If we got tired of scallops, we could wade out with a spin-casting reel and catch Spanish Mackerel

 

Atlantic Spanish Mackerel – Credit Google Search and Wikipedia

 

and occasionally King Mackerel with a spinner.

 

King Mackerel – Credit Google Search

 

Once in a while we would even get a Flounder, if we let the bait fall to the bottom.  So we enjoyed that.

Flounder – Credit Google Search and Diane Rome Peebles

 

It was probably a four or five mile trip from the house back to the main part of the base.  We rode the bus in to the schools.  We enjoyed our stay out there at Beacon Beach.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers-Part 9

21 Oct

  SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 In late 1949, my Dad was given the opportunity to switch over to the Air Force from the Army.  It wasn’t a requirement, but he said, “Well, wherever you want me , I’ll go.”  So they cut orders to transfer him over to the Air Force.

Charles (Dad) wrote: 

During1949 the Adjutant General of the Army put out a request to all Army chaplains holding Regular Commissions to indicate whether or not they would accept transfer to the new Chaplain Service of the Air Force.  I had tried for seven years to get into military aviation so I replied that I had been happy in the Army but would accept such a transfer.  Shortly before we left Trieste I received notice that I was one of 186 chaplains to form the cadre of the Air Force……When we reached Fort Hamilton in New York, I processed through the Air Force personnel section and began a new kind of military service.

 We began our Air Force career.

So, when it was time for the three-year tour to be up, we left Italy, but this time, on a ship (the Elden H. Johnson) – down through the Adriatic, up through the Strait of Messina, across the northern Mediterranean, out through the Strait of Gibraltar.

 

Credit Google search and ibiblio

 

 

I was on the deck of the ship as we were approaching Gibraltar.

 

Credit Google Search and Financial Times

I could see Europe on the right side, and Africa on the left.  I remember between Gibraltar and the Azores, we went through the tail end of a hurricane.  Our little ship was only about 12,000 tons, so it was a small ship. It was pitching, I think they said, at least 30 degrees – so the decks were “awash.”  When the ship pitched forward, the screws were out of the water, and the entire ship shook like it was going to come apart.  Most of us stayed in our staterooms most of the time. I never got seasick because I didn’t eat much, but a lot of people did.

We ended up docking in New York after a 12-day trip.  As we entered New York harbor, we could see the Statue of Liberty, and Staten Island. 

 

Credit Google Search and National Park Service

We went to visit Dad’s family – at least his Mom, in Ocean View, New Jersey.  I remember that, sometime while he was there, Dad went to Millville, which is not too far away, and he came back with a demonstrator 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. One of the distinctive things about it was, that for some reason, since it had been a demonstrator, it did not have wheel skirts for the back wheels.  Other than that, it was a good car, and I think it was his first ever V-8.

 

The Wills Family, Biloxi, MS

We ended up driving it down to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  After staying a few days in the Palm Hotel, which was right on the beach in Biloxi, we were eventually put up in an old, left-over, World War II barracks on the base. It was a fairly uncomfortable place, because there was no air conditioning.  There was one big fan at end of the building, which drew some air through it – moving through it, but it wasn’t too good.  Fortunately, it was just a few months until they put us in some new housing which had been built.  That was much nicer.

 

Fred – 1949-1950 school picture – – Howard Elementary School, Biloxi, MS

 

Dad’s Kodak Retina camera was stolen while we were in the Palm Hotel in Biloxi.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remember~Part 8

14 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

From Lucerne, we put the car on a train, and rode in one of the passenger cars in 2ndclass coach of the same train.  We went though a 12-mile tunnel that made several complete spiral turns as we changed elevation (St. Gotthard Tunnel).

 

Gotthard tunnel: World’s longest and deepest rail tunnel – credit Google Search and BBC News

 

The train started in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and exited in the Italian-speaking area, near Lugano.  I was amazed to see palm trees growing in Switzerland (all over Lugano)!

In the summer of 1948, I attended a summer camp (Yank-in-Switzerland), while my Dad was assigned to Trieste, Italy.  It was a two-week camp in the mountains at Lenk, and two weeks on the lake at Oberageri.  It was organized and run by former U.S. military men.  I took a train from Trieste to somewhere near Venice.  I met up with others going to the camp, and went on to Switzerland.  After two weeks in Lenk, we stopped at a fair in Thun, then on to Oberageri, Canton Zug. There was a Lake Oberageri, where we went swimming.  They had a boat from the camp that “led” us out, then we swam back to camp.  In the nearby town of Altdorf, I remember the presentation of the William Tell pageant.  The actor playing William Tell actually shot an apple off the head of a child actor with a crossbow and arrow.  I also remember getting ice cream cones for 3¢, and getting apfelsaft (apple juice).

 

 

This little log house/bank was a prize I got during the camp.

 

 

 

The beanie/cap and this pennant are from my time in the summer camp.

Most of the time while we were living in Trieste, we lived in downtown – or near downtown – on via Carducci Street, number 2.  Our apartment was on the “mezzanine,” and it looked out over the main street, via Carducci, which began just a block or so away from there.

 

They lived “under the arches” of this building

 

On one side was the piazza Oberdon, which we could see through our den window. Our apartment had eleven rooms, which I think had been an office complex at one time.  As I recall, it did have two bathrooms and a real long room, which functioned as a kitchen.  I think it had at least four or five bedrooms, so each of us kids had our own room, plus the den.

 

Living Room quarters, Trieste

 

I remember getting very well acquainted with one of the men there who was sort-of a building manager or care-taker.  I think his name was Mario.  I even went out fishing with this guy a couple of times.  He was a really nice guy, and spoke pretty good English.  By this time, I spoke pretty good Italian, since a lot of my friends were Italian.

Right around the corner from our apartment [in Trieste] there was a shop that, among other things, sold used postage stamps.  By this time I had gotten interested in stamp collecting.  I remember going there frequently to buy stamps fairly inexpensively.  But I remember walking pretty much just all over the town – and this was a city of 350,000 people.  So it was pretty big.

When we arrived in Trieste, I was eight years old, and when we left, I was 10.  I used to walk the mile from our apartment to downtown, which was probably eight or ten blocks to the port area.  I also walked a couple of blocks away, and there was a funicular, or cable car [actually it was a cog-train] that went up the side of the mountain to a place called Opicina, which was sort-of a suburb of Trieste, but it was about 1,000 feet above, with a steep escarpment.  I had such fun riding up there, not knowing that the last five or six months we were in Trieste we actually would move up to Opicina and live in a villa – a 16-room villa!  It had a wall around it, that was 15-feet tall – and it had six bedrooms and five baths, actually servants quarters – the whole works, and my Dad was only a Captain!  My how things have changed!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers~Part 7

7 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 Sometime later, we drove down through Belgium.  I honestly don’t remember where we stopped. But just on the other side of the French/Belgium border, we stopped at a French restaurant.  I think it was part of a fancy hotel there.  Dad had talked to the Maitre d’ there, and they set us up at one of the real fancy dining tables, and brought out a huge tray of filet mignon, and huge heaping trays of french fries.  I’m sure we had other things, but those were the only things that I remember.  I remember the filet mignon was so tender, you could cut it with a fork.

From there, we went to Paris and we stayed in a hotel, the Hotel de la Paix.

 

 

We did take a tour out to Versailles,  and I remember being very impressed with the Hall of Mirrors;

 

Versailles – Credit Google Search and By G CHP, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72739008

 

Hall of Mirrors – Credit Google Search and By Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15781169

 

 

Later we rode one of the elevators up the Eiffel Tower.

 

A much later picture – Judy, Karen and Janet – 1981

 

I remember being surprised that it was a two-stop trip.  Partway up on one big elevator we stopped, then we got on a smaller one that went the rest of the way.  I just remember it was a beautiful view from the top.  We also walked around the Arc de Triomphe –

 

In the setting sun – 1981

 

and at the time we were there, there weren’t too many cars around on the Champs Elysees.  We also toured the Louvre.

 

The Louvre and small arch – 1981

 

From Paris, the next stop was Neuchatel, Switzerland, on Lake Neuchatel, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

 

Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland.Martouf – Credit Google Search

 

Sometime between Paris and Neuchatel, I had come down with a rash, and when we got there, and got settled in the hotel, they called a Swiss doctor, and he diagnosed me with German measles.  The first thing the doctor did was close the curtains in the room to make the room dark.  That cooped me up in that room, and the doctor said, “You’re stuck in the bed for the day.”  While I stayed in bed, the others went out to see the sights.  Because I stayed in bed, the spots were gone in a day-and-a-half, and I was able to continue my tour.

After we left Neuchatel, we went on to Lucerne, and Emily came down with the measles.  Emily, being a little bit more rambunctious than I was, decided she didn’t want to be cooped up in bed, so she insisted in going with us everywhere.  As I recall, it took her a week to get over the measles, where it took me a day-and-a-half to get over it.

I remember being very impressed with Lucerne – it’s still one of my favorite cities.  We walked across the old covered wooden bridge, which is still there.

 

Covered bridge on Lake Lucerne – credit Google Search

 I remember going to an unusual place – I guess it was out of the way – it was in kind of a base relief in large rocks.  I remember some lions and some other animals in there. It had been dedicated to the Swiss guards that guarded one of the popes.  Wikipedia states:

The Lion Monument, or the Lion of Lucerne, is a rock relief in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and hewn in 1820–21 by Lukas Ahorn. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

 

 Credit Google Search

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

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