A Flash Back Memory…

Last night while I was browsing You Tube, I came across a video for the Navy Lodge in Yokosuka, Japan.   This caught my eye as this is where we lived for the first couple of weeks after arriving in Japan.  I clicked on the link and smiled to myself.

This lodge is definitely not the classier place to stay when looking at first class hotels around the world.  It is by no means a four star resort to most.   It is a good, functional place to stay when you are being relocated to a foreign country and you don’t have your own home to move right in to.  It is a great place to drop your bags when you have arrived after a long and hard flight across the ocean.

I remember well the relief I felt when we first arrived to the Navy Lodge in June of 1976.  It was a dark and dreary night, no lie! It was a rainy night and the drive from Tokyo to Yokosuka was both invigorating and strange.   The signs were flashing neon, beckoning people to come into the pachinko parlors and restaurants and bars.  Each was fascinating to see, but overwhelming after a long flight from San Francisco.

We had a sponsor from the base meet us, which meant someone who my husband would be working with met us at the  airport and arranged for our lodging and getting us settled in for the first few weeks.  He drove a work van to the airport and talked most of the way from the airport.  Hubby carried on a conversation with him while I stared out the windows wondering how this was ever going to feel like home.

When we were dropped off at the Navy Lodge that night we checked in and were shown our room.   It was down a dark hallway.  On the way to the room we were shown where the bathrooms were and where the showers were.  Women on one side, men on the other.  Sort of like when you had gym class, those types of showers.   The only t.v. was in the lounge at the end of the hall.  Our room had a sink in it, a double bed and a small window, but it was quiet and it was ours.   We sunk into bed and slept like you can only sleep after a trans-Pacific flight.

After a good night’s sleep, a shower, and fresh clothes we met our sponsor for breakfast.  I can’t remember what that was, or where it was, all I know was the new day brought new energy and an excitement.

It did not take long for Japan to feel like home to us.  The signs that were so strange on our arrival soon became friendly to us.  The noise of the traffic and  the crowds of people became the melody of our lives.  We learned to move and flow with it.  Trains were second nature to me as I did not drive while living there.  I became familiar with the bus schedules, the bus stops, the train stations.  There were very few boring days while living there.

I often wonder what it is like now.  After watching the video last night of the Lodge, I smiled to myself.   A kitchenette in each room, that was unheard of!   A bathroom in each room, how wonderful!  A television in the room, amazing!  Plus, right before we left Japan, the Armed Forces Radio network brought us American television!  So, there is no more watching American shows dubbed in Japanese!

Time changes so much.  Things advance and improve and improve some more.   I would surmise, though, the people of Japan are still like they were.  They welcomed us and spoke with us and shared what they had with us.  They are a part of my history, my story, my heart.

Thanks for stopping by today,   I appreciate you.   Cathi (DAF)


It’s All in How You Look at It

Last week I read a post from a fellow blogger about her recent airline trip.  It was filled with humor and I enjoyed reading it.  Mostly because I was about to have my own airline trip to see my precious grandson.  I read the post last Friday and thought about it through the weekend.  My flight was for this past Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning I got up early and eagerly to get ready to make the short flight up to see my little precious.  My dear hubby got me to the airport, I checked my bag, and got to my gate.  Piece of cake.  No problem.  The time approached, and as I stood to get into the queue to board the plane, I texted everyone to say I was about to board.  Again, piece of cake.  No post here.

As we were all standing in line the announcement came on.  You know, those announcements where you hear every third word even though the people speaking are no more than 10 feet away from you.  They are the  ones who have graduated from the drive through windows to speaking into the microphone at airports.

I stood and listened.  (It could be my ears)  I heard, Ladies and Gentlemen, something about a gate, something more and then I actually heard,  we will know more in an hour and until then, please take your seats and we will work hard to make sure you get to your destination.

That woke me up!  It appears that Baltimore was having some weather issues and runway issues and by that point several of my fellow passengers were just having issues!  I sat in my chair boastfully thinking that I was above all of this, I had plenty of time.  I looked beside me and saw a young woman with two young boys in tow.  She was patient and gentle with them.  She told them to go look out the windows to see the planes, only to make sure to hold onto each other’s hands.  They were well-behaved boys, very cute.  The woman smiled at me and explained that this was their first trip to the airport and their first flight.

From eavesdropping on the conversation these boys and this woman were having, I concluded that she was their aunt and they were going on an extended trip to stay with various relatives.  Photos were being taken for Mommy and Daddy and since we live in a military town, I am assuming that both Mommy and Daddy were deployed or deploying somewhere.

After an hour, where, I do confess, I did not keep positive (well, they were cutting into Grandma time!?!)  we began to board.  I ended up sitting in front of this trio, the aunt and two nephews.  The aunt was patiently and very cleverly explaining the take off process, the seat belts, the life jackets, the oxygen masks and what was in the seat pocket in front of them.  She showed them the fold down tables and even instructed them that if they played with the tables it would shake the person in front of them.  She did this by taking the back of the boys seats and shaking them so that they would know what it would feel like to have someone kicking them through the trip.  I thought that one was very smart!

You could tell all the other passengers were anxious to get on with their business.  It was the attitude we all can have when travelling.  Just get me there and get me off the plane.

As we started to taxi to the runway the boys, in unison began a sing-song, that grew with excitement, “We’re on a plane… we’re on a plane!” At first, it was quiet, but then they could not control themselves.  I looked around and the passengers who had thought that, but not singing that phrase started to smile.  They turned. and in an instant, you could see the plane full of people catch on to the enthusiasm of these novice flyers.    As we took off, squeals of excited laughter came from the seats behind me.  It was so much fun to listen to them.

They quieted as we reached altitude and then the descriptions of what they could see started to emerge.  I found myself looking more closely out the window and I, also, could see the cloud trees,  clouds that looked like a forest below us.

I spent the flight thinking how we can lose our joy over the simple things we take for granted.  I loved looking at the clouds and the sky on my flight.  It had been a while since I actually looked out the windows to see the glory of the skies.

The weather was bad in Baltimore, landing was a bit shaky.  One of the boys had fallen asleep and missed the turbulence, but when I saw them exit the airport, they were full of stories and well on their way to new adventures.

This week as I have watched my dear children with their dear child, I have thought of these boys and what their week has been like.  Families are so important.  Especially for those who serve our country, families to step in and help and love and care for.  I hope that the adventures continue for these two boys, that this time will be filled with love and comfort and that loneliness is small.

I am enjoying the time with my precious little grandson.  He is all smiles and joy and my heart laughs when I look at him.  I am grateful for the life lesson I learned on my way up to Baltimore.  Excitement and adventures go hand in hand.

Thanks for stopping by, as always, DAF