I have only a couple of friends who I’ve been able to keep up with since my childhood days in Northern Michigan. One of them is my good friend Michelle. Tomorrow’s her birthday. My how the times have changed since we were kids.
She now lives in up-state New York. I’m in Texas. Thankfully, we got to visit with each other in the past year or two when she was in Fort Worth for a conference.
For those of you who did not have a dad in the military growing up, it’s important to understand that, particularly in the Strategic Air Command, you seldom stayed anywhere for very long. That’s what made it very hard to keep up with friends of yesteryear. (And yes, by God, that is a Dallas Cowboy sweater that I have on!)
Michelle and I were the student council reps for our fourth-grade class. That year we also led the way in getting all the other classes in the building to make Bicentennial Flags. We then did a presentation that was done at our school, Leo P. McDonald Elementary School, and even at the K.I. Sawyer AFB Rec Center later in July. We marched in a parade in Gwin, and even went to a school off Highway 41 headed into Marquette.
We left Michigan in 1978 and went to California. Michelle and her family later moved to Shreveport, LA to Barksdale, AFB. (Her father used to call it “Sleazeport” which is what you hear me call it now when I mention it.)
After California, we moved to Montgomery, AL to Maxwell AFB. The first day of school my sophomore year of high school, I had gone into Mrs. Reese’s third-period English class and sat down on the far side of the room, in what then was where the remaining seats were. So I sat down, and just kind of began to look around the room. My eyes passed by this girl sitting about four rows over but sitting in front of the room. She was beaming at me and our eyes met. Mine kept going because it wasn’t often in those days (these either) that I had women I didn’t know staring at me like I was Tom Jones.
As I passed back across the room visually back to my side, I crossed her again and she was still looking at me. Then it hit me.
We’ve been good friends ever since and have kept up with each other. I think the first time we were in a class together either was second or third grade. DeWayne Henshaw, one of my best friends from the KI days, is probably the only person outside of my family who I’ve been able to connect with since those days of long ago. I’m still looking for Jimmy Love who moved to Hershey, PA, and Kim and Kevin Casey who moved to the Air Force Academy in 1977 and I’ve never been able to find either.
But I do have the trusted friendship of Michelle and her sister Renee. Thanks, Michelle for being such a life-long friend. And Happy Birthday, my dear.