An insecure 14 year old far from home

It was 1968, Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Philippines. Dad had been transferred from Misawa, Japan – not what any of us wanted.

I loved Misawa. It was beautiful, welcoming, rural and safe. I had good friends there, rode my bicycle everywhere, loved my school, and there were four seasons which I had never before experienced. I turned thirteen there, and had my first crush. Needless to say my life was wonderful and my memories, to this day, are warm. I cried when we left.

Clark Air Base: Hot, humid, very green, and frightening. Because there were a group of us who left Japan for Clark I had a few friends already. One, Victor Watson, was my safety when my dad was TDY (temporary duty) to Phan Rang, Vietnam.

We lived off base in Josefa Subdivision. Just off the main gate was the street to our house. We were at the end of the road, with a creek and railroad running behind our house. Behind those were cinderblock houses holding mutliple generations of Filipeno families. One thing we learned quickly was nothing was safe from thieves. There was a family living in our subdivision brought over from the US a teal VW bug. This vehicle was stolen from the carport and the gate was still locked with a chain and padlock! Yeah it was scary. To keep people out of our place the block wall was topped with barbed wire and broken glass set in concrete. Also large thorny agave and bouganvilla lined the inside. Deterrents that most of the others in this neighborhood had, still one never knew how effective would be. Mom and I took turns sleeping by our Christmas tree to keep our gifts safe.

A local “security” guy was paid monthly to guard the houses. Security and guarding are used loosely. My dad wasn’t sure for whom he worked. When dad was getting ready for hs first TDY he found this guy and told him “My wife is from Texas, she is tough lady and she has a gun. So if someone tries to come into our house she will shoot them.” He later said to us, “If your mother calls out ‘get my gun’ don’t say ‘what gun?'”

Early one morning my dad was outside and heard crying from the housing behind our house. He motioned a man over and asked what happened. He ascertained a child had died overnight, so dad went into our house, pulled out a pot of beans from our fridge and gave it to them, saying he was so sorry.

We had good friends in the Singletary family. Their daughter, Lynette, was my BFF. They were transferred back to the US before us and they gave us their dog “Snoopy,” a white Spitz. This was the meanest dog I have ever encountered. He would attack us – mom would use a broom to shoo him away so we could go in and out the door. My sister, Mary, has scars from that dog. Easter 1968 dad was gone, and mom said we were going on base to have dinner and see the movie The Sound of Music. When we got home, Snoopy was growling from the corner of the carport which was covered in softball sized rocks. He did his job and mom gave him a reward of a package of hotdogs.

We were never robbed.

We were at Clark during the 1968 Tet offensive. It was part of my PTSD. I’ll explain.

Clark Hospital was the place the injured from Vietnam were sent. The buses carrying these wounded humans came from the flight line. The curtains would be open and often the soldiers would wave, leaning up to look at all the Americans. Other buses from the flight line, with closed curtains, bypassed the hospital and drove to the morgue – a morgue which at one point was so full that the coffins waiting for transport were stacked outside. Yes, in the moment I typed those words my mind is vivid with memory of the stacks of silver boxes. My heart was frightened for my most beloved father who was in this place where killing was happening. I was never happy or secure when he was gone.

My mother, along with some other women from our church would go to the hospital to visit the wounded, write letters for them, and bring homemade treats. Because I was old enough to go with her she took me on her visits. There were soldiers there who were only five years older than me. Until you have sat in a room where a very young voice is crying for his mother, another has no arms, another has a face pulled together with stainless steel and buttons, or whose burned body smells of napalm, you cannot imagine what my naive, young mind worked to file in a dark corner of conciousness. I spent years never being able to enter a hospital without being nauseous at the smell. No one else could smell what I smelled. Suffice to say it took years to know what it was. It was the napalm burns. It smells, bad. No more of that now.

I have a thing for umbrellas. I love them. I have more than I need in southern Arizona. This is because of Clark. I carried a cute little pink umbrella my dad bought me in Japan everywhere I went. It was to protect myself from the Filipeno men I passed who would try to grab me and touch me when I was walking to the main gate, or a friend’s house. Unless Victor was with me my little umbrella was security. Victor was a very sweet and kind guy, who was protective of my tiny self if I needed him. It wasn’t a great place to be for me.

There is so much more to tell but my heart is done with the feelings these memories surface. So maybe another time.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

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Learning from the birds

The nest in the honeysuckle by the front door had four noisy chicks. They were noisy and growing – well cared for by their parents. Watching the process from nest building to fledging taught me a few things about taking care of business.

Hard work pays off, but there is always something that can get in the way. I watched as the parents flew back and forth bringing nest material, all the while tucking and weaving the desired shape of the home for their eggs. They knew how it should be – the height of the sides, and the width in the vine to hold the four eggs securely. The nest is a masterpiece, resistant to rain and wind. A few times while we were working in the front yard the adults would flee as we walked by (it is right by our front door) and act as if they were wounded by flopping in the grass or squawking at us from a nearby tree to draw our attention from the nest. I was quite proud of them.

As the eggs hatched, and the tiny babies started calling their hunger, the sweet soft chirping grew rapidly into a pretty noticeable racket from these little guys as they got bigger. And always one of the parents would show up promptly to feed them. A few times when we passed the vine it was bumped and those chicks stuck their heads up, their yellow beaks wide open ready for a meal! Often we would see one adult in the nearest tree and another across the yard on the fence.

I was on the front porch watering the potted plants and could see two little chicks climbing in the vines above the nest. I told hubby I thought they were getting ready to fledge.

Sure enough within a few days the beautiful nest was vacated. Perhaps one of them has flown in briefly to look at the old homestead, but it now sits, waiting for another couple to call it home, or a different bird couple will scavenge pieces of it for another nest in one of our big trees.

 

 

 

 

Cheers!

-N

I’m looking for cash

So much of my thoughts right now is on how to work from home. If you google that phrase you will get pages of suggestions-much of it the same kind of thing. I want to work from home for two reasons. First I want to be available if my daughter needs me to care for my grandson, second I want to bring in extra income, but not full time, to help with fun expenses like travel and hobbies.

Writing is fun and when I get to publish a new book its out there for folks to buy and enjoy. I like both of those. The thought that someone would honor me by purchasing one of my titles is humbling. I also love that the reader is going to get caught up in the characters and historical trip the story takes them on – especially when I read a review saying they were digging it! However I am no Stephen King or Janet Evanovich – not yet – so I keep writing.

My blog is such a release for me, relaxing and an immediate gratification as I watch the blog stats after it is published. It is a creative outlet for me, and I like that my followers are coming to know me through this venue. But, I’m not as widely read as I would like, so the $$ support from possible sponsors isn’t where it needs to be, but I keep blogging.

Nancy history: Just out of high school I got a job as a media buyer for a small advertising firm. It was a great job, I met amazing and interesting people, and my creative side was jumping with joy every time I saw a television spot or heard a radio commercial I placed for a client. I was able to be part of some of the production for these as well. It was so cool. With one of these spots I was asked if I was interested in being the voice talent! This led to a couple of years doing radio commercials for a variety of local businesses. A local DJ at KWFM Jim Ray and I had a series of spots for Summit Hut, a local outdoor sports outfitter. It was so popular that we had listeners calling the stations to ask about the “couple” on the spot. Jim and I had a good time with that one.

This leads to my next adventure in cash:

I am delving into the voice over business. I have recorded some audition pieces, but the equipment I have is fairly basic so I am purchasing enough sound equipment and devices to produce professional auditions. So we will see if my studio time and theater work from a few years ago will serve me well in this venture. Keep your fingers crossed!

Cheers!

-N

I’m back, but emotions are running high!

I’ve been on a brief blogging hiatus, spending time going between Catalina and Phoenix to take care of my grandson during the last three weeks of my daughter’s teaching schedule. I had days where I lived at her place in Phoenix, and then he would come down here and live with us. There were times it was hard for the little fella to get his bearings with the back and forth, and missing his mother.

During this time hubby has been working a crazy schedule giving neither of us good sleep and making us grumpy. So the two things together robbed me of time and blogging inspiration.

However I am ready to jump in.

Last week hubby’s two brothers came to town from Reno for the interment of their parents ashes. It was held at the Northminster Presbyterian church where they were married in 1956.

It was a very sweet and emotional service; my husband and his brothers honored their parents well.  Melissa and Charlie also came for the weekend. One special person was Janet Daub who was my mother-in-laws maid of honor came with her husband, Vic!

So four days of visiting family and friends, lots of cooking and cleaning, and so many stories with lots of laughter. Charlie got to know his two great Uncles from his grandfather’s side of the family well.

Now we have a week until the next visitor.👏👏

Saturday, my great niece, Kali will come down from Phoenix to spend the week with us. This will be her second summer doing this and we are already looking at fun things to do with her during her visit. She is a very sweet and fun almost teenager (no!!) and we are taking advantage of her willingness to hang out with us old folks 😎 She is excited about using the pool we just put in to keep us cool.

So I’m thinking of new topics, ideas, and life events to blog. Promise to have pictures.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

My Perspective on A Polarizing Issue

The ongoing and divisive debate about abortion has made me contemplate what my real feeling is about it and what I think should be done about the issue.

As with any issue so profoundly polarizing, there are always the what-if’s inhabiting the discussion: rape, incest, the mother’s well-being, and potentially fatal defects of the fetus are all thrown out to support abortion. These all have merit, and require consideration. The one position outside of these, causing the most controversy is “a woman’s control over her own body” and what that means in reality. There is a point where a premature birth has a survival rate – with extensive hospital care. Before this the fetus requires the environment of the womb to exist. The next question is what does the fetus endure during an abortion procedure and if it is considered inhumane. This hearkens back to the situations where a pregnant woman is killed and the perpetrator is charge with murder of both the woman and the unborn child.

At this point I will share I have a strong faith in God and am a Christian, a believer in Jesus. Yes, this faith will affect my perspective on many things in the same way an atheists beliefs will affect theirs. Because of this I cannot support using abortion as birth control. I don’t believe it is a viable rational for “pro-choice” proponents to use. A vegetarian will claim an egg has the potential to be a baby chicken so they refuse to eat an egg. If an embryo has the potential to be a human should it be any less protected?

My issue with the “pro-lifers’ is how do they propose to solve the problem of care and protection of unwanted babies being born. Young women who have no resources for child care education nor adequate job skills will need health care and child care. They will need support if they chose giving their baby up for adoption. If they are cast out of their families for whatever reason they will need to have access to prenatal care.

The best way to prevent the epidemic of abortions is to prevent pregnancy whenever possible. The best and safest for people is abstinence. This keeps a young woman from pregnancy or contracting an STD. However to expect abstinence to be a viable option is unrealistic in the culture of sex in our society. Perhaps in homes that teach the New Testament belief about premarital sex, then abstinence is part of honoring their faith and a more probable choice.

Folks, humans aren’t going to stop having sex.

My firm belief is birth control should be free. It should be available easily and readily. I remember a young woman in the college group at my church came to me incensed that condoms were being handed out on campus. I told her my feeling – it is better to prevent a pregnancy than to kill a fetus.

This issue won’t be solved quickly, but the inflamed and insulting accusations from both sides will never result in effective and constructive discussion.

Cheers!
-N

Book review for a very fun book

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2799908701

Nancy Vaughn’s Reviews > The Mint Julep Murders

The Mint Julep Murders by Angie Fox
The Mint Julep Murders (Southern Ghost Hunter, #8) 
by

Angie Fox (Goodreads Author)
54921934

Nancy Vaughn‘s review

Apr 26, 2019  ·  edit


This one was good! Really good. It had some scary parts the others in the past had lacked. The typical Verity humor is there, but there was a lot of character growth in this one. The Verity, Frankie, Ellis triangle is in full force with a twist in it. Verity is hired to look for ghosts by a woman who wants to open a haunted house – huh? Yeah that’s what Verity thought. An injured Ellis and an anxious Frankie come along for different reasons. This location is chilling. The ghosts and humans made alike had intense interactions. Frankie made an important discovery about himself, and Verity was given an insight into Ellis. I liked this story, and the fact we were left with a place we might revisit in the future.
Cheers!
-N

Meet Mitch and Amanda at a special price

Greetings all!

Tomorrow my very first ebook entitled Blame It On Whiskey will be discounted for seven days! Everyone come meet these two interesting people and read their story.

The tale is set in the late 1800’s, and begins with a twist.

There is lots of history, a fair dose of romance, plenty of action, and you might learn a bit of Spanish in the process of reading this story. So a question…what would you do if you came face to face with a band of Apache warriors who have escaped from captivity?

Synopsis:

It is June 1886.

A handsome, rugged man and a beautiful, self-assured woman try to resist the temptation of vague and erotic memories from a night of whiskey fueled passion, while they deal with beginning a life with a complete stranger.

These two proud, confident individuals are thrust into a set of bizarre circumstances including a face-saving wedding farce, a kidnapping, epic storms and Apaches.

 

For a short time only at $ 0.99 on Amazon. Click the link below.

Its one of those days!

I’m busy the last three days of this week taking care of my grandson in Phoenix. Because of his autism issues he is not able to stay at the daycare he had been in for this school year. But his mom still needs to work so I am splitting caregiver duties with a woman my daughter met through her church until the end of the school year. Miss Diane has Monday and Tuesday, I have Wednesday through Friday.

But this leaves hubby on his own for three days! Oh my, the trouble that man could get into. 😱

It was a perfect storm of injury making reactions. Charlie and I were getting ready to run to the store yesterday afternoon to snag some ice cream and were in the garage when the garage door started to lift! Whoa, that surprised both of us. I was opening my car door to throw my purse in the seat, at the same time I called out “Charlie, it’s mommy!” He rushed past me and slammed into the inside of my open car door and ping ponged between the side of the car and the door, then fell back on the floor!! I was horrified and he was hurt and screaming. I gathered him up against me as his mom pulled into her spot. He finally calmed but was not a happy guy.

But he did want to get ice cream. 😊🍦

Fortunately. after a trip to the Walmart for ice cream, a discounted Easter basket and some nutellla snacks he was feeling pretty good. This morning he has a knot on his head, a scratch on his ear, and a scrape on his cheek, but he says he is fine.

Life with a busy four year old.

Cheers!

-N

 

Physics and Hurricane Michael

I am a meteorology, geology, astronomy geek. Yep, and proud of it.

Last Wednesday I went to a presentation at the University of Arizona by the folks who helped get the image of the black hole M87. I had chills. It made my mind fly with excitement, and frustration.

The frustration was because I was never encourage, pushed, or helped to do well in school. My folks were not those kind of parents. I was never asked if I had homework, much less if I did my homework. If I got a good grade that was nice, if I didn’t (math specifically) I was told I probably wasn’t good at it, instead of working with me to improve.

My father was in the Air Force, and we lived lots of places. This gave me the chance to experience every kind of meteorological and geological event. Hurricanes in the Philippines and earthquakes in Japan. Tornadoes in Texas and monsoon flooding in southern Arizona. I’ve chased storms in tornado alley, and sat on a cliff in Hawaii watching the lava flow into the sea.

When I came back from helping my son move to Florida I took a side trip to Pass Christian MS to see where storm surge of Hurricane Camille washed the coast clean back in 1969.

I get notifications from NASA whenever the ISS is visible in my area and I watch for it. I’ve learned parts of the sky with my star charts. I eagerly followed the courses of Voyager 1 and 2 out of our solar system, kept track of the arrival of Osiris Rex at asteroid Bennu, watched the images of New Horizons when it flew by Pluto, and set my alarm to wake up so I could watch live the reveal of the first images of a black hole the Event Horizon Telescope captured.

I dig this stuff.

I want to know how they did this stuff. How do scientists figure out the way to image a black hole with six telescopes around the planet? How do geologists measure the movement of the plates? How did meteorologists come up with the CAPE measurement?

I mentioned in a previous blog about observing the damage done by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle back in October 2018. The damage six months later gives the evidence why this storm was recently upgraded to a category 5. All of these photos were taken on I-10.

I know I have a science leaning. I worked in a cell culture lab for seven years where I was taught how to grow cells, titer antibodies, and make tissue blocks used in cancer diagnosis. I used high school algebra I thought long forgotten, and learned the same sterile technique for a biological safety hood taught to freshmen biology students at the University of Arizona. I had my own projects, and developed procedures I taught to incoming staff with PhD’s. With just a high school diploma.

What more could I have done with the proper encouragement in math and science?

Woulda, shoulda, coulda – physics.

So I still try to learn, my curiosity is as strong as ever.

Cheers!

-N

 

Roads and bridges and tunnels – Oh my!

I live in the arid country of southern Arizona. We have bridges, but the go over washes, which are dry river beds that only have water during monsoon season. They are boring flat bridges, grey-brown in color to match the desert.

But…then…in Florida… Yeah we were crossing a bridge through an amazing preserve and low and behold there was water under that bridge. Lots of water, for miles and miles.

I got a view of this bridge as we were coming up to it.

Seriously,how cool is this!?!? Ok, there are no cool bridges like this anywhere in Arizona.

Official bridge geek here.

I believe bridges are forms of art.

So amazing, and thrilling to drive over and through.

The geek in me wonders how engineers design these so they will continue to stand during hurricane winds. It’s math – physics, yes but it is fascinating.

Some are so elegant and graceful you feel grateful to have the opportunity to use them.

Some we drove on really looked as if they might need a bit of reinforcement or elevating.

 

 

When we were crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis on a rainy night it was pretty spectacular and bumpy. 

You can see the rain drops on the windshield and the Tennessee sign on the cool bridge spanning the river, and the lights of the city in the distance.

Big  river,  pretty  lights.

And then, in Mississippi (the state) we ran into this awesomeness.

A freaking tunnel that took us through the bay and under downtown Biloxi!!

Fabulous.

 

 

 

 

Yep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very cool at night too.

 

Cheers!

-N