Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Thursday, December 22, 2016


 We had just moved to Conn. I can't remember the exact year but sometime in the late1980's. I had received orders to the submarine base at Groton. It was shore duty and I was excited. I was assigned to the antenna shop. My duties involved the removal and reinstallation of antennas on submarines. There are several types, as I was to learn. I was involved in disconnecting the hydraulic lines and mechanical devices. I would place the clamps on those antennas and supervise lifting them out of those subs. There were taken to the shop where the electronic technicians made repairs, then testing them. After all tests where completed I was to reinstall them. I also did periscopes. It was different and exciting.
 My boys were small then and Christmas was coming. We had rented a second floor apartment in a three story apartment building. There was a group of these buildings, mostly occupied by Navy people. Our apartment was in the middle portion of the building with an apartment on each side of us. The wife and I had seen a cardboard fireplace and purchased it. It was assembled and set up in the living room. I can still remember that little cardboard thing with the fire printed on it. The stockings were hung on that chimney with care. It is a wonderful memory. I can't say with certainty what gifts were given. In fact I don't recall much else but that fireplace. Isn't memory a strange thing ? I can remember the boys sledding down a hill alongside the building. I remember one of them crashing head first into the building ! His head was a little banged up but no stitches necessary.
 All of that was so many years ago. I have to think real hard to remember where I was and when. Over a period of twenty years only a few things stick out. One of them is that cardboard fireplace. I wonder why that should be so. Purchased, most likely, on a impulse, it found a spot in my memory. I couldn't tell you what happened to it after that Christmas. Torn up and thrown out would be my guess. I do have some other decorations that were purchased in Conn. I remember buying them and they do get put out every year. I doubt my boys remember that fireplace or those decorations. They have heard the tale so maybe they can repeat it.
 I do think that little fireplace sticks out so because of the innocence of the time. The boys still had some hope that Santa was real. Well, maybe they didn't but they weren't saying so. We had no family other than ourselves to celebrate Christmas with. That is one of those things only service people understand. More often than not, your family is not with you. I saw very few times when, like in the movies, family came for the holidays. No, we celebrated Christmas together, like Little house on the Prairie, only in an apartment. It was just our little family gathered around a cardboard fireplace. It was a wonderful time and a great memory. I can still feel the " warmth " from that little fireplace, even to this day. And that is the miracle of Christmas.