This is my last post for the Hunt for the missing #pixiedust. I thought that I'd share the story of the first morning I woke up in Navy Bootcamp. They didn't care that banging on metal garbage can lids isn't a nice way to wake people up. How Rude! LOL
Oh, and I joined the Navy partially on a dare because someone laughed at me and said I'd never make it through bootcamp. I wished for a very long while that they hadn't thrown that gauntlet. Until then I was just thinking about doing it.
The adventure and journey down to Bootcamp started in Milwaukee, WI on January 4th, 1982. That was the day we were supposed to be going to Orlando, FL. However, there was a horrible snowstorm the night before and a good part of that day. My parents had driven me up the night before and spent the night with me to say goodbye and spend the time together. The next morning it took them 2 hours to get home. That drive from downtown Milwaukee to where they live is about an hour in normal conditions. Anyway, all flights in and out of Milwaukee were cancelled which meant those of us who were going to be starting Boot camp that day would be spending the day in the hotel instead.
The next morning we were woken up by the hotel staff to check out, have breakfast, get our belongings and get on the bus to the place where we would be processed in and put on another bus to the airport to get on a plane to take us to Florida. It was a super long day filled with checkups and paperwork and a just a flurry of activity.
We didn't get to the Recruit Training Command in Orlando till very late at night on the 5th of January. We were all pretty exhausted and disoriented. I swear they do that on purpose. The day started in the dark in Milwaukee and ended in the dark in Orlando, FL. When we finally did get to the barracks which would be our "home" for the next 12 weeks we got in yet another line there to get our bed sheets.
Of course, having never made a bed with out a fitted bottom sheet I was confused when they handed me two flat sheets. Had to ask why one of them didn't have elastic around the corners. They didn't answer me nicely. Big surprise. I put the sheets on the wafer thin mattress the best that I could and laid my head on the pillow and fell asleep.
And then.... I had no idea what time it was but I swore I had just fallen asleep. I forgot where I was and was being woken up by the sound of people banging on metal garbage cans. It had just gotten real.
And so began the journey that would eventually get me onto the ship and missing a man overboard drill and getting the visit with the captain. But first this! And all I could think of was What The Hell have I gotten myself into?
I had just turned twenty years old a couple of months before that and had never been away from home except for sleepovers at friends' houses or a couple of Girl Scout overnights. None of that prepared me for what I was about to experience. Couldn't possibly. But I wouldn't change that for the world. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life and the best thing at that time that I had done for myself.