I Just Wanted To Say...

What is your problem?

Location: Georgia, United States

I am me. More than I was, less than I will be. This is difficult. Facts-female, southern, mother and grandmother. Abstract-a Christian, a loner, intelligent, somewhat arrogant, impatient with stupidity, an unusual sense of humor.



When I joined the Air Force, my basic training was done in San Antonio, Texas. Once I was finished there, I was sent to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi for my specialty training. I spent about six months there and it was a wonderful time in my life.
I was being trained for a challenging job. I was nineteen years old, single, fit and healthy, and stationed at a base close to a wonderful beach during the spring and summer of 1972. A base where the male population outnumbered the female by about 10 to 1.
I didn't make a lot of money, but I had no rent payments, free health care, the chow halls were free and the food was great. The only expenses I had were personal items.
Perhaps one of the most carefree periods I have ever known and I enjoyed it.

Most of the coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath has focused on New Orleans, which is in some way understandable. New Orleans isn't just a city, it is a symbol of the kind of life in which there is gaiety, parties and endless fun. Relaxed, with good food and drink, and beautiful things to see and pleasurable things to do. Fun days and fun nights. It is sometimes called a city without care-sans souci.

Which is perhaps why I have personally been focused on Biloxi. My memories of the area are almost uniformly wonderful.

Yesterday, I watched a twenty minute video shot on Tuesday by a chopper crew from a television station(WLBT), an NBC affiliate in the area. Twenty minutes of destruction. The chopper flew along the coastline from Long Beach to Gulfport to Biloxi. There is almost nothing left along that stretch of coast extending one-half to three-quarters of a mile inland except debris. Such a lovely place now destroyed.

The area will be rebuilt. Ever kicked down an ant's nest? They scatter and scramble and run around like crazy. Then they start picking up pieces of dirt and toting them away and they rebuild their little mound and go on with their lives. That's what I think the people of Biloxi will do, too. That's what they say they'll do.

But even with all the talk of rebuilding, the Biloxi/Gulfport area I remember will never exist again and the thought brings on a certain bittersweet melancholy. Those memories are in my mind, but there will never again be the opportunity to go there and have my memory jogged by the visual reminders of what I had in those months, memories of both a place and a time in my life that was so sweet and rich, that held so much personal promise. But the knowledge of it's destruction only makes the memories I keep that much more precious.

(The link I put in the title has not been updated since the August 28, 2005, just before Katrina hit.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Best Wishes,

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