Here’s to the grand holiday season starting today, all the family get-togethers and sharing.
Why did I post that egregiously egotistic thing about a Navy bigshot pinning a whoopee medal on me? Short answer: I wanted somebody to know something about me, what made me who I am.
I have lived here deep in a western Kentucky hardwood forest (I own 93 acres of it) for over 20 years alone. Early on, my older brother did come around, but it was to steal anything he could. He walked off with my building supplies, tools, food, paint supplies, insulation and broke in while I was in town working. I bought dwarf fruit trees to make a small arbor. He stole them and my gardening tools.
My Mama lived her last two years here 2015-2017 and regardless of the way she treated me as a child, I took her to explore foreign places, made her new clothes and cared for her all I could. The sister five years younger than me has not spoken to me since I lived in San Diego and came to South Carolina to visit her and Mama about 30 years ago. My other sister ten years younger does email me a few times a year and helped me set up a storefront that never sold one item. She hits the ‘like’ button on my posts. They both live in Pennsylvania.
I have no neighbors within a mile. A logger with EPA credentials came by every few weeks early on to do practical and concise logging to help the forest and continued for a while as I worked in a city tobacco processing plant where I could bring home bags of loose-leaf tobacco for him. He sometimes brought his wife and they helped my do things around the cabin. When I got a new manager at that job that hated me and harassed me to nearly ashes and then fired me, no more free tobacco, the logger and wife quit coming.
I wrote many stories, some posted on this site. I wrote science fiction books, a bat book, short story books, historic fiction books and none ever sold, not one. I do surrender my beloved decades long book collection on ABE Books as Old Lady Who and do sell a bare few. I live off the retirement fund from the place that fired me. I work diligently on keeping the cabin up, doing all I can with lots of tools and a very tall ladder, alas without any help.
Now the only humans I physically see are at the Post Office and grocery, occasionally the hardware store. I am an introvert but still wish there were some I could talk to as friends. None. I get very depressed at holidays (such as those hurdling my way now) as no family comes around and there is no reason to cook anything special or decorate. Nobody in this area, the little towns north, east, west or south, know me for who I am or ever visit. I get a truck delivery of something I ordered every blue moon, that’s it. I really miss working at my city jobs where I could bring in cookies and cupcakes for sharing and fun but nobody here wants to hire anyone in their 60’s, especially a woman.
I just wanted somebody to have an idea of who I am. I apologize for the poor editing of that Vets post. I did correct it. Please do not leave this blog. I promise not to do anything like that or this long letter again. I will post nature pictures and some of the things I have painted or otherwise made as before. Positive comments brighten my day.
If anyone did read this far, thank you greatly, I appreciate it.
Being a Navy Machinist Mate, Nuclear Grade for quite a while, I learned great respect for all the military. I was never in a war, but I (as the only woman qualified to to) did go into the reactor compartments on nuke submarines as part of repair crews to fix or provide needed inspections. I specialized in radiation and contamination control and learned much about the ways of shielding and dosimetry.
The initial thing I did after over a year of nuke schooling was to catch the USS Dixon in Honolulu, their first WestPac cruise stop. We went from there to the Philippines and on to Diego Garcia where the US and British have secret ops that are well guarded. After two months there servicing the ships and subs coming in from the Mideast where there was a terrible hostage situation going on, we headed for Australia!
Over half the way there, the old ship had a rusted part of the side that caved in and we started to sink during a storm. Most people on the ship were scared and puking or looking as if they were about to. I wandered all around the ship with candy bars and chips checking them out, then went out to observe the welders leaping over the side to place a large metal bandage over the hole.
We eventually got to Sydney and while the repairs were made more permanent, I explored the country with the guys and loved it! We stayed there about a week, then aimed back to Hawaii where I got to look around much more than before. Back in port at Ballast Point near San Diego, I worked on the submarines, and we visited many other places like Acapulco, Seattle and more.
It has been decades now, but today I think back of my old buddies and the valiant shipmates and the submariners I met and had good times with. The medals? One was for being a nuke mechanic, one was for crossing the equator at the world timeline and the last (the one with the big star, the Navy Achievement medal) was for working with a team on the Dixon to create a working method to solidify the submarine reactor water purification water granular media filtration onboard our ship instead of heaping up more and more hot drums in warehouses on land. Some of those stored drums were there so long that they leaked or otherwise became partially rocked up making solidification impossible.
The Secretary of the US Navy flew in to pin that medal on me as all the crew watched. When I had to turn and speak into the microphone, I heartily announced that the crew and the team I have worked so diligently with were the key. The pic below is the initial thing we started that project with, removed so we could make the changes to enable proper function of the concrete powder application. The team secretly decontaminated, cleaned and got a plaque made that surprised the heck out me. I have it hung in my cabin now. We were indeed a fine set of sailors.