Friday, November 23, 2012


This was the first major holiday that we celebrated without Tom being here.  I missed him a whole bunch.  But we had a wonderful meal with Beverly yesterday--just the four of us.  And tons of food left over for probably at least a couple more days. 

Tom called a couple of times.  Earlier in the week, I asked him what his plans were and he didn't have any.  I reminded him that there were plenty of people in his situation and that he should try to celebrate with friends by either going out or cooking in.  When he called yesterday, he announced that he was going to celebrate with two of his buddies and one of their girlfriends was flying in to spend Thanksgiving with them.  So the four of them had a dinner plan and they all divided up what each other was going to be responsible for.  Tom was responsible for making the pumpkin bread and cooking the corn.  He was also in charge of dessert and bought a frozen berry cobbler.

So even though I missed him a whole bunch, I know that he had a terrific holiday with his friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Museum Date Day

Bill really wanted to see the King Tut exhibit before it left Seattle.  We were getting down to the wire with it leaving North America altogether in another month and a half.  This weekend was free so we took advantage of spending the weekend up in the Seattle/Tacoma area.

The weather was really rainy and difficult to drive up there--at least for the first portion of the trip.  We were glad it improved as we traveled north.  Still wasn't fun being outside in the cold and the rain.  We got to the Seattle Center about an hour early so we tried to find some places to sit inside waiting for our turn.  We went in the Armory for awhile. Then thought we might try to see the Chihuly Garden but the tickets were really expensive--and it was spending more time outside so we decided to pass.  Bill asked if I wanted to go up the Space Needle.  Not worth it on a day like that--wouldn't have been a very good view so passed on that.  So we went to see the rest of the Pacific Science Center until it was time to line up for the King Tut exhibit.

The King Tut exhibit was wonderful.  Lots of statues and jewelry.  I liked the reliefs with the carvings and hieroglyphs best.  We spent about an hour looking at all the wonderful artifacts.

Next stop was to go back to Tacoma to see some things there.  Bill wanted to see the Chihuly Bridge and perhaps the Museum of Glass.  I've been there before and wasn't all that impressed with the museum.  But the Washington State History Museum is right across the bridge from the glass museum and it is wonderful.  I took the boys and Beverly there when we went to see the glass museum years ago.  Bill hadn't been there so we decided to see it.  It isn't a very big museum but it is beautifully done.  And the Chihuly bridge is quite impressive with one section mimicking being under the sea with all the sea creature-like glass above you.  Then there are blue crystal towers in the middle of the bridge and a wall filled with 109 of Chihuly's glass sculptures. It would have been nicer if the sun had been out.  That is what really makes it impressive to see.

Ended out day with a date out at The Ram in Lakewood.  It was a favorite spot when I lived there.  It isn't exactly the same--they have built a new restaurant and the atmosphere is really different now.  But it was a wonderful meal.  And then we met my friends, Suzi and Terry, for breakfast before we headed home this morning.  It was a wonderful weekend but it went way too fast.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Veteran's Day Dinner at The Bomber

We celebrated Veterans Day with our friends Jeff and Julie Oerding and other veteran friends on Saturday night.  We at in the museum at The Bomber restaurant complex in Milwaukie, OR.  It has been years since Bill and I took the boys to The Bomber for breakfast to see the B-17 bomber that they have there.  And we had never been to their museum.

The program was the Lacey family talking about their quest to restore the bomber to its original glory and maybe even make it flyable again.  And they told many stories about their father/grandfather and how he came to bring the plane from Oklahoma to Oregon.  It is quite a story.  They also talked about some of the veterans that they honor with exhibits in their museum.

Our friend, Ernie Wakehouse, is a WWII and Korean War ace fighter pilot.  He turned 90 on Thursday so we celebrated his birthday with cake.

It was a very nice evening and fun to see a new spot honoring veterans.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Game Day at West Point

 Game day always starts out with a parade.  West Point parades are so impressive.  On this day, it was First and Second Regiments that participated in the Pass and Review.  The cadets march out onto the Plain through the sally ports in Central Area. 
 In addition to the Class of 1982, the Class of 1977 was also there.  Whenever there is a reunion, the alumni are the reviewers.  They "march" out onto the parade field to take their positions in a much more casual way than they would have as cadets--ambling out and joking around. 

We had an early lunch at 1000 because the game was starting at noon.  We ate in Washington Hall which is the Cadet Mess.  Since we were eating in their mess hall, they were having tailgate parties at their barracks.  Washington Hall is absolutely beautiful.  There are cut glass and stained glass windows all throughout the building.  There is also a mural in one wing of the hall.   Lots of flags too--they are everywhere.  The hall seats the entire Corps of Cadets--approximately 4400 students--all at the same time.  They eat family style and have jobs assignments.  We played out some of the roles like table captain and gunner although not in the same way that the cadets would have.  I was the gunner cutting dessert.  For instance--I think I would have got in a lot of trouble if I was a cadet because my cake portions weren't anywhere near even.  And I didn't do the announcement and inspection of my job to the table captain like I would have had to as a cadet.  I read that this is what they have to say--"SIR/MA'AM, THE DESSERT HAS BEEN CUT. DESSERT TO CADET _____ FOR INSPECTION PLEASE, SIR/MA'AM."  And the cold beverage server and the hot beverage server has to say something similar.

 The guys always like to go to their old barracks to check it out.  It is a little strange.  We're not always sure we are allowed to be there.  Although someone at our table this year said that if we wanted to see the barracks, we had to be out by 1100.  So I guess it is okay during a certain time.  When the guys lived there, it was called Central Barracks.  It was named after Omar Bradley after he passed away.  The plebes were calling the minutes to football formation while we were there.  They were droning them out--apparently doing them much differently than the old guys did it while they were there.  So they had to give them a bit of a hard time.  Nothing like being harassed by middle-aged Firsties.

On the way up to Michie Stadium, we made a stop at the Cadet Chapel to take a breathing break.  There are a whole lot of steps going up there from Central area and it is only half way up to the stadium.  I was glad we stopped there for a bit.  We usually have the memorial service there but it was at the Catholic chapel instead this year.  Again--another wonderful example of Gothic architecture and stained glass windows the whole length of the chapel.

 The game was against Ball State.  There is a lot of pageantry that surrounds an Army football game.  Third Regiment did the March On.  The mules have been part of Army tradition forever.  The cheerleaders are called "Rabble Rousers" and the Rocket cheer is the most traditional one.  And every game ends with singing the alma mater.  Unfortunately, the skydiving team didn't make the jump into the stadium because of weather.  The West Point band did a fun Halloween half time show in costume which was different.  Not their usual squared performance.

There was a new twist that I had never seen before.  Several of the players prayed in the end zone before the first and second half of the game.  Unfortunately, it didn't help.  Ball State won 30-20.

The next weekend Army beat Air Force at West Point.  I was a little jealous to miss them beating Air Force but I am not certain that we would have enjoyed being in New Jersey and New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  We were so grateful that we were able to leave before the storm and get home safely but certainly prayed for the people left behind that had to endure the weather and destruction.  As I write this, I know there are people who are still suffering and trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.  Prayers their way!

Exploring West Point

Now that my travels are over for a bit and my scrapbooking is caught up, I think I will update you with what I have been up to the past few weeks. 

Reunion schedules end up being pretty predictable now that I have been to three of them.  Friday is always reserved for walk around time at the academy, a memorial service, and two class meetings--one taking care of class business and one to update the alumni on the state of the academy by the Superintendent, the Commandant and the Dean.  Then we head back to the hotel and have dinner together.

We took the early buses into West Point with our friends, Rob and Mindy Croskey and Fred and Mary Shambach.  Rob and Fred were in Bill's company and they were roommates.  Fred and Mary just got married in May and it was our first time meeting her.  We were so pleased to see Fred happy again and with such a wonderful woman.  So we set out exploring.

 Most of the places are familiar to all of us but it was all new to Mary.  We went down to Kosciuszko's Garden which was built in 1778, Flirtation Walk, Trophy Point, and various other monuments and locations.

 I love the look of Central Area at the academy.  Everything is built with military Gothic architecture in mind--gray granite, arches, and other castle like features. 

 And there are monuments and plaques at every turn.  We found a lot of ones we had never seen before on this trip--and they have been there for 11 years--on every other reunion trip we have been there for.  We have just never gotten that far down the street the other times. 

 And we were so pleased that the autumn leaves were still there for us to see.
 The new location that we were excited to see was the new library.  It was built in 2008--since the last time we were there.  It is a beautiful facility.  It is a mini-museum with some museum quality pieces from Thomas Jefferson, Omar Bradley, and Alexander Haig.  And also has an art gallery.  The views from the study areas and six floor patio are spectacular looking out onto the Plain and the Hudson River.

 Every time Bill and Fred get together, they have to reminisce about the time they almost killed each other over Bill's Patton poster.  Fred hid it so Bill hid Fred's textbooks--which he needed a lot more than Bill needed his poster.  They did a little reenactment for me so I could document it in my scrapbook.

 At the class meeting, our friend, Steve Croskrey announced that the class had raised $1.3 million to donate to the Superintendent's Endowment Fund.  In turn, the stage in Eisenhower Hall is now called the Class of 1982 Stage.
 Now it is back to the hotel to party.  All the women grads got together to get their picture taken.  And I took the picture of Debbie Hinton-Pawlowski and Margaret Burcham together.  They were in Bill's company.  I admire all these women so much.  They were not the first class of women at West Point but they came two years later so they endured the same struggles in trying to assimilate in to a traditionally all male school.  The guys were hard on them and isolated themselves from them a lot so it wasn't easy being there.  I remember watching the movie "Women at West Point" when I was in high school.  It was about the first class and a lot of the cadets were extras in the movie--including Bill.  He was in a parade scene.  Margaret was just promoted to Brigadier General so she has done the class and the company proud.

 The rest of the pictures are mostly from the Friday night dinner but also other parts of the weekend when I could manage to take their picture.
 I love going to the reunions because not only are they fun for Bill to reconnect with his classmates, friends and comrades, it is fun for me as well.  I have gotten to know many of his classmates and their spouses over the years in various ways--mostly from when we were stationed together.  And have enjoyed meeting the others at the reunions as well.

 So we had three days of wonderful times remembering old times and catching up with what is new.
Can't wait for 2017 so that we can see them again!