I was in the Air Force, stationed at Beale AFB, California, and living in the barracks. There were two of us in the room where I lived and only a thin wall between us and the adjacent room. I’ve forgotten his, the airman in the next room. I only recall his music. I guess for simplicity my story I could call him Andy.
Andy was an intelligent man, smart enough that he was earning himself an engineering degree, going to college in Marysville at night after his day on the flight line as a maintainer fixing electronic countermeasure systems on B-52Gs.
I, too, worked the flight line. It was one of the rare times I had daytime duty. At this particular time 1600 hours to whenever would have been my choice because of Andy’s music. Andy worked hard. He pulled his own weight when it came to fixing broken airplanes, and how he managed night school after eight or ten hours on the flight line was a mystery.
As a rule I was in a deep sleep when he returned from college. That was when he did his homework. To help him along with his studies he put endless take on his Wallensack machine that played “The Unsquare Dance” over and over and over. I grew to hate the song as well as him because of the rhythm hammering through the thin wall. But I sucked it up. I said nothing.
A few months passed and he received change-of-station orders. He was being transferred to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. I didn’t learn how he continued his engineering studies, or if he even did. After a few weeks he packed up and took his Wallensack and endless tape with him. The silence was deafening.
On my next days off I rushed to Marysville and bought a tape player. And yes, you guessed it, my personal copy of “The Unsquare Dance”.