96. Office Furniture From France?

While I was busy vacationing at the Air Force Hospital, our remaining cargo of napalm had been unloaded.  There was of course no reason for us to be in the war zone any longer and within 24 hours of my return, we were on our way back to Subic Bay.  

I was already feeling better and looking forward to once again enjoying the beautiful people of the Philippines and possibly, just maybe someone would say, “We’re on our way back home.”  

The next morning after wrapping up breakfast, I was making my rounds about the ship when I discovered we’d just received orders to leave Subic Bay… first thing tomorrow.  Europe.  Whaat?

My ship had a bulletin board on the wall space just outside the Bridge.  The real important information would always be found here and that included our next destination.  There it was, freshly posted up on the board:   🇫🇷 France.

Guess it wasn’t in the cards for me or any of us this time … and it doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing my family anytime in the near future.   

Our now empty and -ready for whatever was next- cargo ship was in for a very long voyage.  Our ship’s mission was to retrieve remaining military equipment left behind after France withdrew themselves -formally that is- out of NATO’s integrated military structure, sending the headquarters over to Belgium.

As I understood it, France was the host country since 1952 and their President, Charles de Gaulle, gave foreign forces the ol’ dismissal letter; all were given one year to depart France.  

Based on whatever news tidbits I’d picked up here and there, de Gaulle wanted his country to be completely independent of any foreign military influences; such a sensitive issue to be sure.  

As we had a lot of American [Air Force] stuff over there, to include tons of office furniture (?) our cargo ships were empty, ready to repossess those jeeps and what-nots!  

As I stood on deck after lunch, I was looking out over the sea in gratitude, acknowledging that I was still alive and yes, in good health.  Well then, tomorrow shall bring on a new adventure and I’m ready!



24. A Truck Full of Furniture

One afternoon as I happened to pass by one window which faced our road, I noticed a truck pulling onto our driveway.  It was loaded down with furniture.  Pulling up the rear was an automobile with Hemma’s family on board.

I called Hemma to have a look with me out the window.  ‘Why is all this furniture coming to our house?’  I took a deep breath, ‘and your family too?’  Eyes lowered, she unassumingly answered, “I see my family, yes.  They sold their old house and they’re moving in here with us.”

See my jaw hitting the floornow!

‘Hemma!  You knew about this?’ Her eyes looked up at me and the answer was there.  ‘And you didn’t tell me, why?’  Now she’s crying.  “If I had told you about this, you would’ve moved out and left me here all alone.”  I couldn’t help but to look at her in disbelief.

She kept going, “I did not want to lose you!  I love you so very much so please forgive me.  I will do anything for you so please, just don’t leave me!”  Then she embraced me so tightly and wouldn’t let go.  I broke loose from the lady bear and said simply, ‘Okay.’

As I was pulling away from my wife’s grip, thoughts raced through my mind like a hurricane and on top was always, ‘God, what is going on?  Why is this happening again?!’  It was like something is trying to make certain that I know 100% I have to separate from Hemma.

Well, I do know now we can never truly be as we were becoming over these last 3 weeks.  When I said, ‘okay’ to her, I had decided to play their game, staying on in the house long enough to formulate a plan.  I believed I could manage to avoid them for a little while, but not too long.