It began in San Antonio, Texas. My Mom married Daddy when I was 3, and we all lived in a small apartment in a Mrs. Steele’s comfy old house where the roosters perched on her grand piano and generally made a mess everywhere.
We weren’t there long since the minute Daddy married Mom, he got on the waiting list for base housing. Lackland AFB was great. All the families were young, and I suddenly had tons of friends to run and play with until the orders came.
I was six and my brother was two when we boarded a ship out of New York bound for England. I was seasick from day one. My most vivid memory is lying on a bunk and staring at a porthole of dark water and trying hard to keep down the saltines I was nibbling on and praying it would be over soon. The crossing took nine days and Daddy had to stay in the men’s quarters, so we only saw him at meal time.
We spent only a day in London, and I remember a parade. Mom got a picture of the Queen, well the back of her head. The next afternoon, we got in a black car and headed out of town to a little village called Oundle then on to Northhamptonshire. It’s about 70 plus miles but with no highways, it was well after dark when we arrived at Wadenhoe House.
I felt like we were in a scary movie. This huge castle loomed in the night as the fog rolled along the ground all around it and us as we got out of the car. Daddy, ever the practical joker pointed at the head carved above the entrance and said, “That is the ghost of Wadenhoe.” Mother told him to cut it out, but I had to pee too bad to be scared.
An old woman, Mrs. B, opened the door and welcomed us; showed us to our flat (English for apartment); told us what time breakfast was served in the kitchen and left.
We were home.
Next: Goose eggs.