Tag Archives: Tyndall Airforce Base


19 May


Judy Wills


Growing up in New Mexico, there wasn’t a lot of water around – no swimming pools (except at the public ones), no ponds or lakesides, no oceans, etc. So, consequently, I was not really familiar with boats of any kind. That really didn’t bother me too much I had a lot of other interests.

If you have ever lived in government quarters – as we did on any military base where we were stationed – then you know that, when you leave that posting, you are required to have those same quarters absolutely immaculate! Better than when you moved into them! And there would be an inspection of those quarters by an official inspector. If they found anything wrong – you were required to “fix” it before you were allowed to leave the base.

We had lived in quarters on Tyndall AFB, Florida for five years. That’s almost too long, actually. Our usual moves were about every three years. I told Fred that we needed to leave soon, because I was beginning to put down roots – in a government duplex!!

He was finally given orders to relocate. So then the work of packing up and moving out began. After the movers had taken our belongings away, we started cleaning the unit. We had always thought we could do that ourselves, rather than hire someone to come in and do it for us. So I set Fred and the girls to cleaning, and I thought I would tackle the kitchen. I had planned on the weekend to do the entire kitchen. Unfortunately, the stove was so old that, in taking it apart and cleaning it – it took the entire weekend just for the stove!

By the time we had finished, we were exhausted.
Now….you may think there is no connection to cleaning and boats…but wait….

page1image16592 There was a gentleman who worked in the Weather Station with Fred, who LOVED boats! And especially sailboats. Not being able to purchase one for himself, he had contracted with another gentleman from Alabama to care for his sailboat.

It was a 33-foot Hunter that would sleep six people. It had a full galley and full shower. It had a small auxiliary engine to get us in and out of port. It was set up for ocean voyages and was one-person configured. Whenever the owner wanted to “play” with it, he would call and come down and retrieve it. That usually only happened once or twice a year. The rest of the time, our friend could take it out whenever he wanted.

And that’s what happened with us. He had offered to take us out for a sail, on the last day we were in town. And so we did. I was a bit confused when we motored out of port, thinking “what does this have to do with sailboating?”

But then he cut the engine and unfurled the sail. It was the most wonderful thing – so very quiet, and peaceful, and RESTFUL…just exactly what we needed after all that cleaning.

He even let our 8-year-old handle the wheel for a while. She loved it!

We’ve never purchased a boat of our own – never felt the need to. But it was an experience that we savored and have remembered all these years.

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