Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 19:57:45 EST
From: Doris Markland <dorism212@AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: :Lard

I met Bev when I boarded the long black schoolbus on my first day of school in 1930. We entered first grade together and went all the way through, graduating from college together in 1946. We both married after the war and through the years kept in close touch as they lived around the world in places like Alaska and Australia, being in the AF, and we stayed basically in the Midwest. In fact, our entire group of college friends remained close and were much like the girls in the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

After they retired they built a nice house in Colorado Springs, across the highway from the AF Academy. So when our son went to school there, Bev and Dick were his local sponsors (to see he got off campus now and then for a Sunday dinner or just a break). When Tom graduated, Colonel Miller initiated him into the AF and pinned his wings.

We visited Pearl Harbor together a few days ago, although we had both been there before, of course, and then went on up to Punchbowl, the Cemetery of the Pacific. Bev and I followed quietly behind Gene and Dick as they examined all the beautiful stone maps of WWII and described to each other all the places they fought and some of the things that happened to them. In a place like this veterans talk about things they have not mentioned since the 40's. They had been just kids, drafted before they were even out of HS. Rather, they had volunteered even before their draft papers came. They had shipped out with almost no training. Theirs was not the professional military of today. Dick eventually got some schooling and became a navigator, flying the China route later in the Korean times. Gene was in the Army Engineers and spent miserable years with no promotions, no R&R, taking part in four major Phillipine beach invasions. They both had watched a lot of their friends die, although they often block that until they get in a place like Pearl Harbor or Punchbowl.

On the other hand, we have done fun things for two weeks, going through the Iolani Palace, driving up the Old Pali, eating lovely meals in lovely places like Haiku Gardens, and Waioli Tea Room, strolling the grounds of Valley of the Temples, strolling the long sandy shore of Sunset Beach with 25 ft surf, playing cards at our place, playing cards at their place. Friday we spent the whole day at Bellows which has a brilliant turquoise beach, shallow quite a ways out, with very fine soft sand. It was heaven. Watched a perfect sunset there and watched a full moon come up in a deep blue velvet sky vand create fluorescent silver waves dancing toward the shore.

In the meantime we had fired up a barbecue grille outside and cooked Nebraska steaks and sweet corn, with microwaved potatoes, a fresh salad and for dessert a local guava cake, Over coffee we talked of many things, stories of our kids, memories we share. We were sitting outside now in the moonlight, near enough to hear the water crashing, under tall feathery evergreen trees which had been full of birds earlier.

Bev suddenly remembered that she and I had written our class poem. They did that in small schools in Iowa . . class colors, class motto, class poem, etc. Our poem was long and had incorporated the name of each graduate . . . and then, she said, ended like this:

So we're cashing in and calling it quits.
We hope to gosh we've sharpened our wits.
We didn't come here for nothin'!

This brought gales of laughter from the men.

We had been just sixteen at the time.

One day Gene and I were busy meeting the Norwegian Star Cruise Ship and friends disembarking who had one day to spend in Honolulu. We made it a very special day for them. Meanwhile Bev and Dick hiked Diamond Head. Bev is 78 and Dick is 80. But Bev is a member of a hiking club, and they hike the mountains in Colorado. Not only is she athletic, but she was Homecoming Queen, a stunning blond with a figure!

Last night we had dinner at the Kaneohe Marine Base Officer's Club. There was a dinner party in another room. Young marines in full dress uniform escorted young women in long formal gowns. So handsome, all of them. Lots of boys shipping out of this base this week, probably not the ones at the party, but I don't know. We watched these lovely young people and hoped it wasn't them.

We didn't talk about the cadet we raised and commissioned who is probably on his way there again.