it or not,
It saddens me
I see talent
In 1965, racial tensions in America were at a boiling point and as I went
south for my training at Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery,
I arrived from Chicago on the now defunct Braniff Airlines in a brown
and yellow colored plane. Not only was it my first time on an airplane
but for sure a brown and yellow one. We were shaved, given our clothes
and our bunks. Every morning we all popped up at 04h 45 min., made our
beds ,washed and were dressed and on the "flight-line" at 05h00. After
some weeks I was chosen to carry the company flag. I was the "Right-Guide".
I must say that there is a certain joy that comes when I reflect on
this. I'm quite sure that to some it means nothing but I was very proud
that our company was always praised for our precision and if the "Right-Guide"
could give a good step, the rest would generally follow. I finally received
my orders to go to Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama.
Before going to Alabama I returned to Evanston to see my mother and
to tell her of my first experiences in the Air-Force. For a reason which
I don't quite remember, I was in downtown Evanston in front of Chandler's
Book and Stationery store where who do I bump into but Mr. Skinner,
my grade school music teacher. He looked as though he hadn't aged a
bit. As we spoke, he finally asked if I still played music. When I told
him no, there was sudden change in his demeanor and he said to me very
sadly, "believe it or not, I had always hoped that you would have continued
in music. It saddens me when I see talent not be able to blossom.."
I really felt that I was in a different place for the first time.
We only heard about the war in Vietnam and the trouble that was being
stirred up by those "Radicals" from "up North".