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Sunday, December 16, 2012

POST 1021; DECEMBER 16, 2012; HAMILTON AFB / PAINE FIELD (1954 - 1955)

Hamilton Air Force Base lies on the northwestern shoreline of San Francisco Bay, a bit south of the small town of Novato.  The famous wine growing region of Napa Valley lies 20 miles north.  Some serious hills - the Coast Mountain Range, lie south, reaching the Golden Gate Bridge...dominated by Mt. Tamalpias.

A narrow, steep roadway winds its way from Pacific Ocean beaches on the west...and from the Golden Gate Bridge on the east, up the side of 2,571 foot high Mt. Tam...passing through the elegant yet massive redwood forest of Muir Woods  The summit of Mt. Tam gives a 360 degree view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco to the south; Oakland, California and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, Sacramento Valley and Napa Valley to the north, and the unending Pacific Ocean to the west.

A favorite place to take a girl is Stinson Beach...a sandy stretch bordering the Pacific Ocean beneath Mt. Tam, a bit north of the Golden Gate (waterway).  My first introduction to USA girls is during an excursion with B.B. to Stinson Beach.  Bruce now owns his own car and has Carol, his girl.  Hey, Bruce...getchyrself a girl and come with us to Stinson Beach...I have no girl, but ask a WAF (Women Air Force) acquaintance, Dolores S., a nurse living in women's barracks up on Cherry Hill...Cherry Hill, so called because - it is said - not a single cherry can be found on that hill  overlooking Hamilton Air Force Base.

The four of us spend a number of daily outings on Stinson Beach.,_California

Dolores and I become good friends...strictly platonic, but some interesting moments.  I, too purchase a car...a l949 green four-door Mercury.  Returning from a day in San Francisco, Dolores and I sit all evening talking and snuggling in my car.  Next thing I know, the car rocks...I open one is still dark...and three guys are sitting on the fenders and hood of my car...Dolores and I still snuggled.  Playing dead, I don't move...Dolores sleeps on...finally, the guys jump down, walking to the WAF Mess Hall, where they are pulling KP.

Wanting more than a platonic relationship, Dolores moves on to more responsive guys.

Alone again...a pattern to be indelibly ingrained in my life...I begin week-end trips to Kennewick.  Leaving Hamilton AFB  at 5:00 pm Friday after work, I drive straight through the night, arriving in Kennewick 13 hours later...a distance of 800 miles.  Sunday afternoon, I return by way of Highway US 97, via Yakima, Washington; Bend, Oregon; majestic Mt. Shasta, California; where I pick up Highway US 99 through the narrow twisting Sacramento River Canyon; onto the plains of Sacramento Valley with its tens of thousands of olive and nut trees, finally turning west towards Napa Valley and back to Hamilton AFB in time for work Monday morning.

In the Spring of 1955, I ask for and receive a transfer to Paine Field in Everett, Washington.  Paine Field, 25 miles north of Seattle, is only 4 miles from the tiny village of Mukilteo, Washington on the eastern shores of Puget Sound.

Mother and Dad suddenly pull up stakes in Kennewick and move onto Whidbey Island where they purchase a 40 acre forested farm...nearly all view property...glacier peaks of the Olympic Mountains visible 60 miles to the west.  The farm has a small two story house, a big ole falling down barn,  15- tree apple orchard, two hand dug water wells, and 15 acres of cleared pasture...all surrounded by second-growth Douglas fir trees.  A barb wire fence fronts north-south Highway 525...the village of Bay View directly across the two lane road.   Purchase Price:  $7,200.00.

Six miles east of Bay View is Columbia Beach, 7 miles directly across Puget Sound from Mukilteo.  Washington State Ferries CHETZAMOKA and OLYMPIC make the crossing in about 35 minutes...the wait to board is often an hour or more.

Reporting in at Paine Field, I receive approval to live off base, and reunite with my family by moving into one of two upstairs bedrooms.  Brother Jim has stayed behind in Kennewick - moving in with Uncle Harold -  to finish school at Kennewick High.

I quickly learn from mother that letters from Keiko have been intercepted, opened, and responded to by Dad.  He, without my knowledge, has informed Keiko that I have become engaged to be married and that she should leave me alone; also, that he has burned the photographs of Keiko and I.

From that moment on, I come to distrust my dad...indeed, I have come to despise him.  As the years have gone by, I find his transgressions minuscule as to those perpetrated against many others.

I continue to write Keiko, telling of dad's lies...and I continue to send my $50.00 to our joint bank account in Kokura.  Even so, I never again hear from Keiko.

Two events occur within the next few months...both of which shock me, anger me, and form much of that which my life is to become: 

Be very careful as to whom you help;

Be wary of those who profess to help you.

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