Friday, December 21, 2012
POST 1023; DECEMBER 21, 2012; WHIDBEY ISLAND, WASHINGTON (1955-1956)
Standing in front of the class, Miss Ronning asks me to introduce myself...I can not get a single word out...this, class, is Bruce...directing me to an empty seat next to the most beautiful girl my young life has ever seen. I take my seat next to my instant life-long companion... she leans across the aisle, smiles, whispers...Hi, Bruce...I'm G. (SAM).
57 years later, I hear hear those words once more...but I'm getting ahead of myself !
For two years, I plunge into mastering Gregg Simplified Shorthand and typing. Weekly competitions are held in both classes, the winner to receive a reward at the end of the year. The competition is stopped after two months...my name standing alone over the chalk-board. By graduation, my shorthand speed is 165 wpm (words per minute); typing something close to 100 wpm). I never ask why no "reward" is given.
Receiving a "by-pass specialist" upon enlisting in the US Air Force, I am, 90 days later, recording courts-martial in Wichita Falls AFB, Texas...thank you, G. for inspiring me...as you still do.
During 1955 at Paine AFB, a new electronic device is brought into the court room. As the only court reporter, I quickly master this new machine...the STENOMASK...in about one week.
Using the Stenomask, I ad-lib throughout the proceedings...giving "color" about the folks involved...mannerisms. gestures, and expressions. I am really enjoying myself.
Having moved onto the farm at Bay View, I am becoming reacquainted with my family . Dad has taken up scavenging the beaches of Useless Bay for lumber to build a chicken house...he is determined to become a gentleman farmer by going into the business of raising chickens. I am pressed into service to help pull the waterlogged planks out of the sand and haul them the 5 miles home. The chicken house is soon completed, with automatic heaters, feeding, and watering system for a couple hundred chicks.
In 7 weeks, chicks become 5 - 6 pound chickens. In the beginning, chickens are decapitated and let run loose...a good way to make sure they "bleed out" before dipping them into a washtub of scalding water, pulling the feathers - make sure ALL pin feathers are out ! - and dressing - removing the guts, liver, heart and gizzard - before packaging for sale.
Dad comes up with the idea to roll a length of wire around as small pipe, nailing the spiral wire to a 2 x 4 nailed between two posts. One leg of a live chicken is threaded into the wire..the chicken now hangs upside down. Sister Millie is our master executioner...holding flopping chicken still, Mick inserts her Paring Knife (a sharp kitchen knife about 4 inches long) into the chicken's mouth, giving it a twist before moving on to the next sacrifice. The flopping chicken bleeds out completely...and we don't have to chase the headless critter across the yard.
This gives him time to turn to fishing. In 1955 salt water fishing is