Category Air Force

My Old New Glasses

November 5, 2005 I’ve never been able to throw them away, the wire-rim glasses I bought in San Angelo, Texas, in 1969. I could never look at them without a pang, a rush of fondness, a smile for an old friend. So they have followed me for 36 years, through a succession of dresser drawers […]

My 30th Anniversary

April 13, 2002 Today is my 30th anniversary. Thirty years ago today, on a cloudy morning not unlike this one, I was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force. It was, and remains, the most glorious day of my life. My freedom came six months early, due to a Pentagon budget cut and a […]


Haircuts were frequent in the Air Force, and at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, there were two Mexican barbers who saw to our neatness and military bearing. While cutting, they chatted in Spanish. At this point in my military career, I had purchased new silver wire-rimmed glasses from a friendly optician in […]

Basic Training, 1968

  The morning I went into the Air Force — September 26, 1968 — I started at the Entrance Station in Buffalo, New York, the same place where I’d had my draft physical a few months before. My parents dropped me off, and as they drove away, I saw my mother crying. I didn’t understand […]