Choose Life

H1, H2, & Big Boy Life on the (L)edge

Begun in the aftermath of Katrina, this blog was a way to keep family and friends updated as the family struggled to return to a semblance of normalcy. Now, more than four years later, the memories are still strong, the family is, to some extent, scattered. However, life did go on, and this is our story.

June 7, 2007


So. I've been called out by my daughter. She wants to know where I've been, outside the U.S. That could take some time. Let's see...

Canada - I've been to Canada on several occasions. We took the family to see Niagara Falls one year. Being the laid back, "take life as it comes" type of people we are, we didn't bother to make motel reservations for the weekend. Turns out it was Canada Day or some such thing, and we couldn't get a motel for miles and miles. We ended up spending the night in a rest area on the New York State thruway! The good thing was it had a Burger King, so at least we had breakfast before going to the falls. Then, while on the Canadian side of the falls, we went into the gift shop there, which was about the size of a Walmart. It was huge. We lost Kenny! He just kind of wandered in one direction while we wandered in another. Fortunately we found him again without much trouble.

I also went to Quebec and Novia Scotia while stationed onboard the U.S.S. Moosbrugger (DD-980), affectionately known as "The Moose". We got to tour the Moosehead brewery in Novia Scotia, which was really interesting. In Quebec the St. Lawrence river rose and fell by about 20 - 30 feet as the tide came and went. While on duty we had to be continually on the alert to adjust the gangway as the ship rose and fell with the tide.

Mexico - Linda, DLG, H1 and I went to Tijuana when they were small. It was pretty neat. We walked from the border into the town. The route was lined with little shops selling all kinds of souvenirs, trinkets, food, clothing, etc. We had our first taste of "chile rellenos" during this visit. On the way back to the U.S., I was carrying H1 on my shoulders. As we passed under a large sign, I ducked, but not enough, and "BAM!!!!" I ran H1 right into the sign!

Guam, Pago Pago, New Zealand, Antarctica - Early in my Navy career I was assigned to Operation Deep Freeze, which sends sailors to Antarctica to accompany and support the USARPs (personnel of the U.S. Antarctic Research Project). We flew from the U.S. (Davisville/Quonset Point, Rhode Island) to Christchurch, New Zealand on Air Force planes that were similar to regular airliners, without the service. The flights stopped over in Hawaii, then went on to Christchurch. Due to the weather in Antarctica, flights to and from were usually backed up, so I ended up spending two to three weeks in Christchurch. The time was spent sightseeing (it's a beautiful city, with museums, parks, lovely countryside), trying out different restaurants, and eating meat pies and drinking tea for breakfast at the airport terminal. Once we left for "the Ice", we flew on specially ski-equipped C-130's of VXE-6.

I made three trips to Antarctica, I was mainly stationed at McMurdo Station, with some side trips. I went to Byrd Station (totally underground (undersnow??) on one trip, and the South Pole Station on another. That was really cool (no pun intended... or was it??). I have fond memories of the Ice. Landing on the ice runways. When leaving Byrd Station, we had an airplane engine in the plane with us. It weighed the plane down so much that on takeoff we ran out of runway and just kept on going until we got enough speed up to lift off!! Raking volcanic rocks (busy work for idle hands, I'm sure) was always fun. Can't forget urinating into funnels that ran through hoses into "U" barrels (so named because of the large, yellow "U" painted on them) outside the buildings. If noone was paying attention, the U barrels overflowed and the yellow ice had to be chipped away so the barrels could be replaced and disposed of. Fun stuff!! While at South Pole Station I got to visit the geographic South Pole, the magnetic South Pole, AND the visitor's South Pole which had a barber pole with a silver globe on top surrounded by flags of all the nations that had projects in Antarctica. Made a great place for pictures. I remember a New Zealander named John Brown who would repair our typewriters. He drank tea, but always refused to use our tea bags. He had a little metal container that held the tea leaves for brewing. He always said he didn't like the idea of drinking tea brewed from leaves wrapped in toilet paper!!

So many more memories. Getting peanut butter and jelly from home. Linda had sent two of each, but the box had been run over by one of our trucks. Miraculously, one each of the pb & j escaped unscathed. We sat up at midnight with fresh baked bread from the kitchen and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Soooooo goood!!!! How about cases of steaks left outside our huts? We would chip out a couple of steaks at a time and fry them up in a skillet on a little two burner stove. Delicious! One year I worked at the transmitter site up on the hill. We had our own building, bunkhouse and kitchen. One of the guys used to cook up a HUGE pot of chili, and we'd reheat and eat for a week. The pot just sat on the stove until empty. No germs. Nice!

During one trip DLG got very sick and was put into the hospital. I was given emergency leave to fly home. During that trip we stopped briefly in Pago Pago, then Guam. Pago Pago was just what you would expect, grass huts, heat and humidity. Lush greenery everywhere. The only thing I got to see in Guam was the inside of the base air terminal.

DLG didn't know what she was asking for, did she??? More to come!

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Blogger Patti said...

Wow, interesting stuff...I am enjoying your stories. Thanks!

12:56 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

Keep it coming, good stuff!!

3:18 PM  
Blogger Louisiana Rose said...

As I think about it, H1 never really recovered, did he? And Ellie, have you noticed Kenny doesn't seem to wander too far? Ever wondered why?

4:37 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

I knew there was a head injury somewhere in there. hehe

4:50 PM  
Anonymous maggie said...

I still have my Deep Freeze T-shirt and sweatshirt. I came across it the other day. Boy they are old!!! Great memories.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Saran Wrap said...

I remember a picture of you in Antarctica with your beard and eyebrows totally frozen white.
I really am enjoying this too! Thanks to Patti for thinking of it.

1:42 PM  

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