My Road To Ramey


It seems like only last week, but it's only a few months short of fifty years since this photo was taken of Barb. It was May 1963 in Rough and Ready, California. We were stationed at Beale AFB and she was about eight months pregnant.

Orders to transfer to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico had been cut in February, had to report to McGuire no later than midnight on 11 June. Her delivery date of 25 April was going to work out perfect. As the date drew closer her doctor admitted that he had miscalculated the date. It should have been 25 May. By the time this announcement was made I had burned through much of a thirty-day leave and was I was about to start on my fourteen days travel time.

About three evenings each week, while waiting, Barb and I would drive to a Grass Valley meat market and purchase several pounds of tough round steak for 35 cents per pound. It was a given that on those days friends would drive up from Beale with a couple of cases of beer.

At last her date arrived. We raced the eighteen miles of SR 20 to the base hospital. Only then did I learn that it was not only mandatory that mother and child remain in the hospital for five-day afterward, but that our newly born daughter could no leave the mainland until she was six weeks old. That meant that they would not accompany me. I would have to transport the two of them to Oregon to stay with her folks at Coos Bay for that period of time.

The movers came for our stuff on the 26th and I was left with a bag of potatoes, a box of laundry detergent, and a bare mattress for those remaining days.

As seen in the photo, I had fabricated a roof rack. In retrospect, I made some poor choices as to what should go the Oregon on top of the car---a pair of worthless speaker boxes and a spare tire, all of which should have gone to the dumpster.

Our VW engine produced only 38 horsepower. Changing the shape of the body with that rubbish tied on top slowed our progress considerably. We traveled to Oregon--500 miles--in third gear, 45 mph.

I had a few days to get my family settled, but on Saturday morning I set out for Trenton, New Jersey. I arrived on the 11th at about 1430 hours only to learn that my orders should have read Charleston AFB.

Late that night, with new cut orders, they flew me to Charleston where I caught the Ramey flight the following morning.