Okinawa (Part XI)

May 27

Leave, a/k/a, R & R – when most stationed in the Far East would visit Japan, Thailand, South Korea, or Australia.  I, however, had not been home in 18 months, so in August 1971 that’s where I went . . . 

[When you traveled, best to go in uniform.  Sometimes you could “hitch” a ride on a military flight or you could fly commercial stand-by at half price . . . ]

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[So, here I am, in my pushing the limits of an appropriate army haircut, in Kadena AFB waiting for my “ride” home . . . ]

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[And we’re airborne . . . ]

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[I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now . . . ]

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[America!  Mt. Rainer, I believe . . . ]

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[The Cascades . . . ]

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[Wing clearance brings Rainier back into view . . . ]

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[I hadn’t seen snow in a year and a half . . . ]

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[Western Washington, the arid side . . . ]

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[And here, I believe, Mt. Helens (9 years before the eruption) and Mt. Adams have joined Rainer for the photo . . . ]

cascades

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[Somewhere in Minneapolis with high school classmates – Little Mayo on the left was already discharged from his army tour in Vietnam; Professor Doctor Colonel Tom graduated from West Point in 1969 so he may have been home on leave from Germany?]

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[So, we went to a Twins game.  Remember Catfish Hunter for the Oakland A’s?]

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[Decent seats, eh?  Well, it wasn’t exactly a full house at the old Met.  But weren’t both of these teams really good at the time?]

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[Sir Rodney Carew . . . ]

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[Prince Tony Oliva, best hitter I’ve ever seen live . . . ]

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[Jim Kaat hurling for the Twinks . . . ]

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[And the baron, Harmon Killebrew . . . ]

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[And I stop by the U of M campus . . . ]

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[The view from the pedestrian bridge over Washington Avenue on the U’s mall.  We’re on the East Bank of the campus looking across the Mississippi to the West Bank.  The two buidings middle left are the Social Science Tower (SST), where I had most of my classes, and the Business Adminstration Tower (BAT) – they were almost brand new in my day.  The building on the right is the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis . . . ]

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[In front of Coffman Memorial Union, which would be just off the left side of the above photo.  The Mpls. skyline in the day was pretty much the IDS Building, on the left, and the Foshay Tower . . . ]

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[Dad and little brother Cam in front of Coffman Union, whose name recently has come under review (how ’bout Wellstone Union?).  Dad was dressed for a meeting with some of his old journalism professors (as I recall?) . . . ]

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[(Cam thinking, “Oh, to have that 16-year old waistline again?”)]

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[We arrived in the folks mobile, the folks getting out of such mobile, at Grandma and Grandpa Obert’s house in north Minneapolis, on the grid on Humboldt Avenue, where Dad grew up . . . ]

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[The grandparents’ back yard.  Gramps was a rose gardener, par excellence . . . ]

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[Dad also was a rose gardener, Cam is a gardener, and I, at least, ignored those family DNA patterns!]

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[A beauty!]

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[In Minnesota, Gramps always had to bend his roses over and then cover them for the winters . . . ]

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[That’s one tall rose bush!!]

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[Gramps was retired, but he supplemented their social security as a part-time security guard at a nurses’ dormitory.  His employer told him he had to wear a gun.  Gramps would have none of that!  (We’re a multi-generation no guns family.)  They told him he couldn’t have the job if he didn’t.  The compromise was he would have the gun, but with no bullets – probably made it more dangerous for him . . . ]

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[He had to monitor the dorm parking lot at night.  If saw some boy-girl activities going on inside a car, he’d go up and shine a flashlight in the window.  Then he’d walk away giggling.  That was Gramps . . . ]

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[John, Cam, Natalia, Evelyn, and Chet in the front yard . . . ]

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[Cam lovingly embracing his mother . . . ]

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[We’re heading up . . . ]

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[Along the Mississippi River to . . . ]

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Alexandria

[Gee, but it’s great to be back home.  Home is where I wanna be . . . ]

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[Above, Lake Geneva; below Donatelli’s Geneva Beach Resort where we stayed . . . ]

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[Canoeing on the lake . . . ]

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[College friends Libby and Steve Hansen (though I can’t remember if they were married yet) joined us for an overnight . . . ]

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[Long time residents of South Minneapolis . . . ]

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[The resort from the lake.  My guess – I’m in a boat . . . ]

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[The landing, i.e., public access on Lake Victoria, in the neighborhood where we Obert kids grew up in Victoria Heights . . . ]

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[The view from the landing toward the east side of the lake . . . ]

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[Our neighborhood ball park and playground . . . ]

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[When we first moved here, 1950, it was all dirt roads.  At this time, the pavement ended before it got to the lake landing . . . ]

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[Heading past the landing . . . ]

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[Up the big hill, which provided for long speedy sled rides in the winter . . . ]

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[6th Avenue back in the day carried all way to the highway – then US 52, now MN 27. This is the duplicate Runestone, then on the busy side of the city – now it’s 4 miles from the interstate so it doesn’t get much action anymore . . . ]

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[Victoria Heights from MN27 . . . ]

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[The first entrance in Victoria Heights from MN27.  I don’t believe the streets were named yet . . . ]

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[Our old house, the 2nd story was added in the early 60’s.  Laura and Larry McCoy bought the house from us in the 1967, and lived there until very recently when they downsized . . . ]

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[Up a slight hill from our old house to a view of the lake landing and our ball park . . . ]

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[Looking back from the where the previous photo was shot.  Every house seemed to have 3br’s, one bath, and an average of four kids.  Everybody literally knew everyone else . . . ]

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[Down to the park . . . ]

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[The railroad tracks across the highway from our neighborhood.  Parents didn’t want their kids to play on them – so, of course, we all did . . . ]

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[From the railroads tracks looking into Victoria Heights . . . ]

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[Jefferson Senior High School from which I graduated in 1965.  It no longer exists . . . ]

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[Big Old, then at the intersection of 3rd and Broadway . . . ]

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[Ole was later moved down by Lake Agnes (a block and a half to the left on this photo), as drivers wearied of swerving around tourists who would run out on the street for photo ops . . . ]

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[Photo op night at the resort.  The folks do not appear to be dressed for a fish fry . . . ]

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[Dad back playing at the Alexandria Golf Club.  He would get a month’s worth of  vacation time every year – every year he and Mom would go back to Alex from D.C. for the whole month of August.  His schedule had to pretty much coincide with that of Congress, and Congress always shuts down for August . . . ]

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[With Dick Dyke, the general manager of the Park Region Echo when Dad was the editor, and Dick’s son Perry who was, and is, a very good golfer, and now a retired TV sportscaster from Mankato . . . ]

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[Arrowwood almost 50 years ago.  In a way, it doesn’t seem like it could be that old?]

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[Dad doing a little work while on vacation . . . ]

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[He could see it better if I used the flash . . . ]

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[Looks like it’s time to leave . . . ]

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[Them to Arlington, VA, and me to . . . ]

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Back to Okinawa

[Back again over the Rockies . . . ]

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[Or Sierra Nevadas . . . ]

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[Looks like into L.A.  Then the EPA was invented . . . ]

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[Next stop, Honolulu . . . ]

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[My first visit to the Aloha State . . . ]

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[Hey!  There’s Diamond Head . . . ]

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[I had an overnight in a Tokyo hotel before the final leg to Okinawa.  This night will also be remembered as the first time I saw naked people on TV.  No, not porn (unless naked people alone are considered porn), but there was a Japanese film maker at the time who would choose various spots to shoot hundreds of naked people.  On this night, on my TV, they showed hundreds of naked people running out into a baseball stadium . . . ]

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[Looks like the final leg into Okinawa.  I thought I would have one more year of service when I landed – little did I know I would be leaving in six months (February) and eventually work in Washington, D.C. . . . ]

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[Could this be all the Ryukyuan Islands?]

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Tomorrow’s winds will blow tomorrow.  ~  Japanese idiom

Up Next:  More Japanese idioms

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