In one of my last entries in this category, I said that I spent the second half of the eighties stationed in Germany, in occupied Berlin, to be specific. It’s there that I made some of my oldest and best friends, including this one.
Since my career was in intel, I can’t talk too much about it. I can only say that it was the highlight of my career, both professionally and personally. I had a blast!
But aside from good friends made and kept, my presence in Germany had another wonderful effect that lasted from my first life into my second and, as it appears, far into the future.
In 1988, one of my sisters, nine years my junior, came for a visit. I wanted to give her the opportunity to see a bit of the world outside of the states and give her and our mom a little time away from each other. (I well remembered how those teen years were. Parents are the enemy; especially Mom, if you’re a girl.)
My sister, ever the resourceful one, stayed there for a while and settled into things nicely. She even found a job.
I found out from the grapevine that she was dating this guy I despised and who didn’t care too much for me either. BM--yes those are really his initials--was the kind of guy that everyone hated: a smart-mouthed, condescending little rich brat. What he was doing in the AF as an enlisted person was anybody’s guess. Maybe his parents wanted to be free of him and cut off his allowance. Maybe he wanted to become a man. (giggle)
The history behind the mutual ill feelings is pretty straight forward. I had watched how he would relate to and infuriate other people, so, knowing my temperamental nature well, I studious avoided him. But BM was the kind of guy that would purposely yank another’s chain even when you would go out of your way to ignore him. I swear, the guy must have had a list of people to tick off and, one day, I guess my name had come up on the roster.
To make a long story a bit shorter than it might be, the verbal confrontation ended with me punching him. I did it mostly because I suspected that he was used to dealing with the kind of girl who would run away crying upon being verbally insulted. He didn’t hit me back, though, as my stepfather had taught me, I had expected him to. He said that if I ever hit him again, he’d hit back and go to the security police. Wearing my blue uniform—skirt and high heels--I pulled off my flight cap, stepped out of my shoes and sneered at him. “I’m ready right now, you little punk! (Back then, I was lean, mean and fiery—now I’m just mean and fiery.)
Well. I came to be embarrassed about my actions that day, but our co-workers loved it. More than once, most of them had wanted to do what I had done. They even saved me from a (deserved) non-judicial punishment. I’d heard that BM was still considering filing charges against me—there were plenty of witnesses. He even had some evidence, a slightly visible shiner. But our co-workers pointed out to him that, were he to file charges, everyone on the base would know that he had received a black eye from—gasp!—a woman. I remained a free woman.
Fast forward to the presence of my sister: when I found out the two were dating, I told her what had happened, but I didn’t flip out or suggest that she stop seeing him. I knew well the nature of a teenaged girl: if I demanded that she stop seeing him, she’d likely want to be with him all the more. Maybe she’d even end up married to the fool! So I played it cool. Besides, I knew, even then, that she had a good head on her shoulders and would see the light. She did.
She dumped BM and started seeing another guy, someone I didn’t know, with the much cooler initials of MG. (I wondered aloud if BM were ready to declare a blood-feud on our family.) Well, to again shorten the never-ending story, MG has long been my brother-in-law. The two have four children: two boys, twelve and eleven, a girl, five, and one baking, due in May (those two are like rabbits). If I were the type of person to be envious of another--thanks for the correction, Mr. Pibb--it would be my little sis, but I’m so proud of her I could just burst. She and MG have made for themselves the picture-book family: two jobs, nice cars and a nice house full of kids, dogs, cats and who knows what other kind of pets. At this very moment, the six of them, plus dogs, are sitting in a Ford Excursion, making their way from their home in Albuquerque to Grandma's house (MG’s parents) in Fort Worth.
Here’s to the second life and to my ever-growing family. May the road go ever on.