15. June 2005 · Comments Off on Old Memories smell Like Smoke, Some of the Time, Part One · Categories: Ain't That America?, Home Front, Memoir, Working In A Salt Mine...

I’m watching the new series on Discovery, “Firehouse.” Set in Boston, it’s examining, tonight, at least, the house containing Engine 37 and truck (ladder) 26 and their life during one shift, which is 24 hours. Ohh, this brings back some memories, some very bittersweet memories! Anyone who hasn’t been a firefighter can’t have even a clue of what it’s like. The life of a firefighter is like no other on earth, and once bitten, it’s a bug that can’t be shed….I was a firefighter, about three lifetimes ago, it seems, but yes, there was a time,,,,

York, Maine, and the year was 1972. This was the year I began my break in active service, having come home from Thailand and going to the AF Reserve at Pease AFB, NH. Funny, I was assigned to maintain the very same tankers (KC-135’s) that I had worked on only four years before, on active duty! Seems both of us got off A/D at about the same time!. So, here I was, with an impossible dream and a more impossible schedule set up to get me there.

The first dream was to get myself through college, and for that purpose, I was enrolled in New Hampshire College, at Portsmouth (NH) High School, classes at night, and for the next six years I would hit the books hard. Maybe, if my pals Elroy Moulton or George Lariviere, check on here, they might verify that, as Elroy and I were going through much of the same courses together, and for part of the time, I worked with George. Something great clicked between myself and George and Elroy, a friendship that has endured a lot of years, and a closeness of our wives and children as well. Both families have proven to be folks that we love, and that still prevails after all these years…wonderful!

The next dream, to work in the civilian electronics field, was to come true as well, some of that thanks to George, as he was working for a company that was able to supply part of the hope, a small company called General Sound and Visual, Inc. I have to say, the company was really pleasant to work for, all the people great folks, and I have fond memories of that experience.

The fire department….Hmmm, the fire department. One of my neighbors when I moved to York was a fire fighter, and he got me interested. So, I started hanging out with firemen, got to know a few, and one day put in my application to join the York Volunteer Fire Department. You gotta understand; this was a great status symbol in York. Belonging to the fire department was a sign that you had arrived, that you had been accepted into the society of the small village of some 3,000 goode people. Now, being from the south, even though I had spent some 4 years in New England already, made it somewhat of a challenge to become one of the “chosen”. I could have cared less about the “society” aspects, one of my hangouts was a coffee shop across from the firehouse, and I just filled with adrenalin when those trucks hauled tail outta there! I just had to be a firefighter!

Next Time: The White Coat Bites Me!

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