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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, April 10, 2006

KS - Fontainebleau

7- Also in my file was a set of orders, dated 11 August 1961, for me to go to Fontainebleau, France on TDY (temporary duty) for 28 days of training on a piece of equipment that I worked with. The odd thing about our communications equipment in SHAPE was that most of it was of an international variety that I didn’t study in stateside training. In fact, I only saw two pieces of equipment that was covered in our classes. Fortunately the principles were the same and I was still able to do my job.

Included was a map of Fontainebleau, but I can’t even presently point out the compound in which the school was located. The reason for this was we went to school all day and at night it was like - - dark. The students mostly just hung around the compound and goofed off after hours. In one such session I was an observer at a beer-drinking contest between two of them. The goal was to be the first to consume a total can of beer. The winner’s time was about 2 seconds flat – maybe less – I think he had done this before.

The scripture comes to mind now that refers to “heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks”, but I didn’t think of it then and was somewhat amazed by this feat. The reason for this was that I didn’t think what I saw was physically possible.

Another oddity of that location was the French girl at the laundry. She learned to speak English from her soldier boyfriend – who just happened to be from the South. This was the first female Southern drawl I had heard in about a year and it had the effect of making me very homesick.

More was learned at the school in Fontainebleau than just the ins and outs of electronic equipment. It was a very serious, up close and personal lesson about how that everybody smiling at me wasn’t my friend and those that didn’t were not necessarily my enemy.

It was a hard lesson that caused me to further isolate and insulate myself from close personal relationships, I had trusted very few before but now that number had dwindled to almost nobody – especially those of the feminine persuasion. This action not only didn’t work very well, but also left some unnecessary emotional baggage that I dragged along for several years. It was OK if they wanted to be involved with me but I determined not to get emotionally close to anyone.

TBC – ec


Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

It’s a good line—“everybody smiling at me wasn’t my friend and those that didn’t were not necessarily my enemy”—and an excellent lesson.

4/10/2006 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

Just a note to thank you for the comment on granny. Good old Willie and On the Road Again. Fortunately, most of our stores are located on one street so it's a relatively short road.

4/10/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

SSN - It was a good lesson but a difficult one at that time in my young life.

granny - That is a good thing at the price of gasoline nowadays. We might all be riding bicycles before long. ec

4/10/2006 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Lis said...

That's a set of baggage I recognize all too well. I agree with SSN, the line about friends and enemies was especially poignant!
Thanks for sharing :)

4/11/2006 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger B.J.W. said...

I would love to go to France , my daughter-in-law recently went to Paris in a group for her job, all expenses paid. She was not impressed with the food in the big hotels and it was cold, but to her ,living in Alaska it felt warm. She enjoyed it ,but not the long flight and fast schedule.

4/11/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger PI said...

And then what happened? I'm agog.

I wonder if you have dreamed about your mother yet. That can be quite healing.

4/11/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

lis - Thanks for the comment - God has helped me be rid of baggage years ago, things are kept very current between He and I.

bjw - In the 22 months I was there I ate very little of their food - mostly army chow. I did like their crusty bread though.

pi - Thanks for the comment - this is a continuing story about which I post a couple of days a week until it's done. Covers the time period 1959 - 1964. I haven't dreamed of Mom a lot, hardly ever lately, but God has helped me with that as with all parts of my life. ec

4/11/2006 07:16:00 PM  

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