Posts

Showing posts from May, 2014

In Memory of a Fallen Hero

Image
I originally published this a while back, but some things are worth repeating....

I was twenty-one and stationed at a small Air Force hospital in the city of Bitburg, then part of West Germany. As a medical administrative specialist, part of my job description was to provide on-call, after-hour support to the Emergency Room.

It was late one night, about 11:30, when my beeper went off. It was cold and wet as I left my warm, comfortable apartment to walk the quarter mile to the rambling, one-story hospital with its endless black and white tiled floor.
Even in my half-sleep state, I was aware that the emergency room was not in it's usual chaos. There were two reasons my department was called in at night, the emergency transfer of a patient or if a patient dies. It occurred to me at that moment, no one was being transferred. The sergeant behind the desk smiled at me as I walked into the room, he probably saw death all the time. I didn't, especially not after being asleep for an ho…

My New Adventure Begins...

Image
Better known as, what the heck was I thinking??


As I lay there on my bed, that first night, in an open room full of other women, I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking. But one thing's for certain, I was more concerned about survival than deep, introspective thought. 
As the sound of sniffles reached my ears and I realized someone a few beds over was crying, my first thought was that she was going to be eaten alive. I don't know how I knew, but somehow I did, that crying was not an option, not here, not in this foreign place. 
Every instinct inside me was set on one thing and one thing alone, making it through the next six weeks. I knew that if I could do that, I could face anything the Air Force had to throw at me. I just had to get through basic training and believe me, that was harder than you think.
From the moment we arrived, the Military Training Instructors (MTIs) or TIs as we called them, were using that loud, authoritative voice. You know the one, it's the …

Review - Autumn in the Abyss by John Claude Smith

Image
John Claude Smith never ceases to amaze, delight and shock me as he pushes the limits of both his ingenuity and his ability to see the world through unique eyes. Autumn in the Abyss, John Claude Smith's newest collection of dark stories, is a perfect example. I found each of the five stories compelling and entertaining though in ways truly as unique as the stories themselves. 
The first story, Autumn in the Abyss, about a recluse obsessed with a reportedly dead poet by the name of Henry Coronado, aroused my love of mystery while, at the same time, I wasn't sure whether to be revolted or feel sorry for the character's seemingly forced lifestyle. I think if anything I was intrigued by each new passage, wondering where the story was going and, as usual, I was not disappointment by the outcome. 

The second story, Broken Teacup, as despicably immoral as the main character and his amoral buddy were, I was compelled to keep reading simply because I wanted to see what happened nex…

And Into the Fire...

Image
Braniff Airways (now defunct) flew us from Philadelphia to San Antonio, Texas. It was an interesting flight. I somehow managed to sit between two guys. Mind you, I had lived the majority of my life in the same house, a farm house, on an extended family farm surrounded by relatives. I had gone to the same school district my entire life, grew up with the same kids and been stuck in the same social hole, never able to quite figure out how this enigma called small-town society worked.

Then, all of a sudden, I was on a plane, surrounded by strangers and placed between two attractive guys who both wanted to talk to me. Quite frankly, it was weird. And so describes most of my military life, weird. To be honest, I don't think I ever quite understood any of it. I used to joke that when I passed my E-5 Staff Sergeant exam, any answer I didn't know, I picked the least logical answer. Yes, I passed the test, but it was just another example of how I never "fit."

But I digress, th…

From the Frying Pan - Philadelphia

As I emerge from the sleep of early morning, taking eager sips from my coffee cup, the one with an antiquated Mickey Mouse waving on the front, seriously, that mouse is far too happy in the mornings, my mind wonders back to the post of yesterday. Now, please keep in mind, my memories of my adventures in the US Air Force are not necessarily happy ones, so fair warning, these tales at times will be dark.

My first recollection was of the Military Entrance Processing Station in Philadelphia. Now I'd only been to Philly a few times in my life, all as a small child either going to Germantown to see relatives or on a school field trip. Never on my own and never as an "adult," and the other thing to consider is growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I had never experienced racial discrimination, at least not to my knowledge. Well, the first people my own age that I encountered in this massive, government building took an instant dislike to me and since I was friendly and had good hyg…

A New Adult Novel??

Image
This morning while dressing, it occurred to me that since young adult novels seem to be "it" right now in regards to book sales, maybe I should be working on that "great" young adult novel I still have inside my head. But, of course, being ADHD, my brain went in a multitude of directions from there and when I finally sat down to write, what came out was more "new adult" than "young adult."

One of the adages that writing teachers readily preach is "write what you know or know what you write." So, with that in mind and being that my "new adult" experiences began when I left home and enlisted in the Air Force, this is what came forth from my cranium this morning....

In June of that year, I graduated high school, less than two weeks later, I turned nineteen and more than a month after I graduated, my new life began, or at least that was the plan. In retrospect, I never should have enlisted. I should have figured out a way to go t…