Cinfulcinnamon's Blog

Falling in Love in Basic Training…part 1

Posted on: January 28, 2010

     The first time that I had ever flown on an airplane was on my way to Basic Training back in 1977. I was so excited. Beginning a new life with the military, leaving home, and flying on an airliner was just about enough to make me bust. I will tell on myself here and say that yes, I did fall for the trick that someone played on me while on that airplane.  As we were taxiing down the runway, an older guy must have seen how nervous and excited I was, so he told me that right at the moment that the jet leaves the ground…..everyone has to pick up their feet…..or else the plane wouldn’t get off the ground.  I did it. And everyone around me laughed including myself. Hey, I was only 19 years old…what did I know?

     We arrived in San Antonio, Texas  late in the evening. We were bused to the base and everyone fell off the bus almost exhausted. We  lined up and shuffled off with our suitcases to our barracks. I had packed entirely too much stuff I was to learn. Afterall, we would be given uniforms the next day, and for the six weeks that we were there, all of our civilian clothes were put into storage. After our belongings were inspected for contraband, the drill instructors assigned us a bed and it was soon lights out. No one spoke much that night. There were women from all over the country and we were all tired. Some had been flying all day, were now thrown into a barracks with bunk beds and told to go to sleep. As excited as I was, I passed right out.

     The next morning we were all awoken by the sound of the bell and the drill instructors coming into the room yelling for us to “fall out” and line up. It would be the last time we wore “civies” for a while. After breakfast, they would march us over for our uniforms and shoes.

     As is usually the case (in most of my life) we lined up according to height. Being 5′ 10″ I have usually ended up at the back of the line all my life. This time, in front of me was a tall, blonde girl. She had the most beautiful smile and blue eyes I had ever seen. She laughed easily, and the sound of her giggle made me grin.  Her height had placed her right in front of me.  And as fate would have it, she was also in the bunk right next to mine. This also meant that we shared side by side lockers. We hadn’t gotten off to a really good start so far, because I had accidentally closed the locker on her hand. Not hard, but enough that she gave me a dirty look while I fell over myself apologizing. It didn’t surprise me when we all lined up to march to the chow hall and she didn’t speak to me much. By the way I had heard someone ask her where she was from and she had told them Toledo, Ohio. Since I was from Cincinnati, I felt like we would at least have something to talk about. And then I caught myself wondering why it was so important for us to talk. 

     During the next few days, the women got to know one another while we had breaks between classes, or drills. Alliances were formed, gossip started, home-sickness started with some, but all in all we were settling in. I wasn’t homesick in the least. I’d already had my apartment and lived away from home from the time I was 17 or so. Worked, and went to school and was on my own as soon as I could “fly the nest”. Others weren’t so lucky. This was their first adventure away from their families, and some of them were not dealing with it very well. Some of us were trying our best to make the others feel good, and I noticed that my bunk mate Sandy was doing her best to make them laugh with some of the crazy stuff she would do.  Our drill sergeant was clearly a lesbian and good at her job. I made it a point to get on her good side pretty quick. She made me the flight canary which meant, that as we marched, I was in charge of making up songs to march to the cadence by. This was fun. I tried to make some of them a little risqué just to break it up. I’d heard some of the marching songs that the guys were doing as we would pass them on the parade field, and I felt it was only fair. And everyone in my flight seemed to like it and would give me ideas about what to say and how to get it to rhyme. I didn’t realize it then, but I was trying very hard to get Sandy’s attention. And she really couldn’t be bothered with me. Not sure if it was the hand slamming incident, or the several times that I had stepped on the back of her shoes as we marched that made her dislike me. Or it could have been the way she caught me looking at her.  I didn’t know, but I wasn’t scoring any points with her and it was really starting to get to me.  Everyday I had to march behind her and smell her perfume. I’d see the way the sun would bounce off her blonde hair and it made me dizzy. One day, I finally realized that I had a crush on her. Being the good Catholic girl who I was, I knew this couldn’t be right. With my Church, if it felt good, it was wrong. I knew that I’d always been attracted to girls for a long time. And I’d seen girls hook up on the sports teams that I’d been on in high school. So, I wasn’t totally in the dark. But none of them had affected me like this. I’d only had a couple of boyfriends before I went into the Air Force, but that was because I didn’t even start to date until I was 17. I was much too busy riding horses and being a total tomboy.  No, this was different. And I wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

     Sandy was a clumsy girl. She was slightly knock-kneed and so I think that when I would step on the back of her shoe, or out run her on the obstacle course or running track, it kind of got under her skin. I tried my best to talk to her, but she was polite but brief with me. I had to find a way to break the ice. I was running out of time. We were only two weeks away from graduating Basic Training, and we’d all be going off to tech school and probably never see each other again. I was getting so desperate, that during the evening time in the common room that evening, I went over to talk to the lesbian group. One woman who I talked with, named Angie said that they had already laughed about me. It was pretty plain that I had the hots for Sandy and they wondered what I was going to do about it. I was obviously not going to get any help from these girls….as they said I should just “go for it” and tell Sandy how I felt. That was definitely not going to happen. You could get kicked out of the service back then if there was even a hint of same-sex activity. As the years of my service went on, I would have to watch that all the time.  But being new, I was very on guard about that kind of thing.  Little did I know that Mother Nature AND The Air Force was going to giving me a little help in the love department.

part two in the morning….

Cinn

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Goofy Me

I am: an Air Force vet, Mom, sister, friend, Lifestyler, and all-around smartass with a heart of gold. I have lived all over the far East and learned many things about people and cooking, art and true value. I like to share my experience with the rest of the world. I will be the most loyal friend or most annoying enemy you've ever known. Honest to a fault. My life has not always been easy, but it has never ever been boring.

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