The Writers Voice
My Life 1967-1973
Michael D. Holcomb
In June 67 us kids finished school and it was time to move. Dad had his orders to transfer to Chanute AFB in Rantoul Illinois. Driving up there turned out to be a summer vacation, stopping along the way to see the sights.
Once we arrived at Chanute Dad checked in on the Base and then we proceeded to find our house in the base housing area. Driving to the house brother Bob and sister Debra and myself noticed all kinds of kids in the neighborhood… shouldn't be any trouble making new friends here. As we slowed to turn into the driveway this gal dressed in cut off blue jean shorts was walking ever so slowly. She looked fine… Bob and I were rubber necking to look her over… I would turn 13 next month and the hormones were raging.
Adjusting to the new place went smoothly. Made new friends within days. The moving van finally showed up. It sure was nice to get to your stuff again. It was amazing in itself that only one item got broken while moving.
This neighborhood was full of girls. I believe they outnumbered the boys. Within a few days I met the girl next door. Her name was Sharon ****. She told me she was a French Born American which really only meant her parents were stationed over in France when she was born, but she looked lovely with brown hair and brown eyes. We hit it off from the start. Somehow and for some reason this girl would affect my personal life for five years to come - long after moving away from Rantoul.
Yes we were a couple. I saved my money and bought an ID bracelet at the Base Exchange. I gave it to her and she gave me her ring to wear around my neck. Things were good this summer. We would go to the Caddy Shack and share a plate of fries and go to the base swimming pool and hang out. Sometimes at night the gang would sneak out to the golf course and just lay out on the carpet of grass at hole number one.
I wanted blonde hair so I poured a bottle of peroxide on it. I guess I was a dude with brown hair on the sides and bleached out hair on top.
I turned 13 in July and got a Spider Bike for my birthday. It was the coolest thing going around popping wheelies.
School started in September and I entered the 8th grade at J.W. Eater Jr. High.
This School was hard and the teachers were strict. Most of us got to the bus stop early in the morning just to hang out and be cool before the bus arrived. Sharon and I always sat together. I loved the fall season in this northern state. It was such a change from living in the South. Things were at their best… nice girlfriend, good friends all around so, news from Dad about transferring to Laredo, Texas came as no surprise in late October.
The remaining days in Rantoul were numbered. We did go Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood at Halloween. It was cold that night with snow flurries. I didn't want to give this up by moving away but I certainly had no choice in the matter.
I remember on a cold November morning the moving van was at the house. I had already withdrawn from school the day before but I went to the bus stop to be with my friends one last time. The gang had gone together and got me a Monkee Album with a going away card signed by everybody. Soon the bus arrived and it was time to say the final goodbyes. I kissed Sharon and we hugged. I stood on the sidewalk and watched the bus turn the corner with Sharon blowing kisses back at me. I was a broken man at the time but would meet up with her again two years later in Georgia.
I still have the card and the record album to this day some 35 years later. Sharon's brother Mike wrote on the card….To my future brother-in-law, you will be missed.
We made good time traveling to Laredo, Texas arriving there mid November. What a change in the weather… it was still warm here. We moved into a two story, four family apartment building because Base Housing was full at the time… Don't remember much else to close out the year 1967 except watching the ballgame where Dallas played the Green Bay Packers in what came to be known as "The Ice Bowl" on tv. This game took place on New Years Eve night.
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