Hampton, Virginia 1956-1959

Six weeks after our wedding, the elementary and high schools at Waldo, Kansas were dismissed for the summer.  It had been a busy time with Solo and Ensemble Music Contest, finishing the paper drives in order to purchase new band uniforms, performing the 'Pomp and Circumstance' music for high school graduation and saying goodbye to the many families of students .whom I had taught.  My job had included teaching the elementary music program and the choir and instrumental music program in the high school; it included private instruction as well.  It had been a wonderful year.  But now it was time to join my new husband in San Antonio, Texas!  So after a quick trip to Beloit, Kansas to visit my Mom, caught a flight out that weekend.  Keith had rented a duplex for us in Converse, Texas, (not far from the Randolph Air Force Base where he was completing B29 Advanced Training.)   Since he was one of the top 2 students in the class, he was able to choose the Air Base where he would be stationed as his first assignment in the Air Force.   We were going to live in Hampton, Virginia, where he would be stationed at Langley Air Force Base!  


In Hampton, it was not long before we bought a dog--a Doberman Pincher whom we named 'Ebony" and he was soon joined by a black cat called "Pepper'.  Actually, they  soon became good friends!  Keith and I became members of the downtown Methodist Church and we  joined their choir; but, it wasn't long after that that I also became the organist on Sundays.  Jerry and Ginny Drennan were new church members as well; Jerry was stationed at the Army Base at Ft. Eustis.  We became the best of friends in Hampton; and, they became our family away from home.Now, what I did not realize was that as part of his duties as a pilot and Air Force officer in the Air Refueling Squadron (flying B 29'and B 50's),  Keith would be gone on TDY assignments frequently and would be gone for days to weeks at a time.  He served as a pilot and co-pilot to asignments in the Azores, to England, Hawaii, Midway Island, Wake Island, Japan, Phillipines and Guam as well as assignments to many bases located throughout the United States.  Even with a dog an cat to keep me company,those times were lonely.

b2ap3_thumbnail_HampHouse.jpg So, another Air Force wife (Adrienne Smith) and I found ways to make the time go faster.  First, we were hired and became  door- to-door saleswomen to sell encyclopedias!  After that, we applied at a florist shop and created flower arrangements; we also made corsages, cared for the plants and also sold flowers to customers.   Then, Clark and Adrienne moved to another town --  and it just wasn't fun anymore to work at those jobs without her.  So, one day I was reading the local newspaper and saw where there was a job opening for a band teacher at George Wythe Junior High School in Hampton. I applied, and was hired.  It was so much fun!

b2ap3_thumbnail_scotter.jpg There were many parts to my job:  I  chose and prepared the music for for students to perform for the Spring Solo and Ensemble Festival.  Several students wanted to start a jazz band, so we got permission from the Principal and once a week they practiced at our house!   The football coach wanted to have a marching band to do half time shows at the football games, so again we got permission and rehearsed an hour before school began every day and we put together some pretty awesome half-time shows.  They asked if we would perform in various street parades....and we did. Keith and I found an old player piano and had it delivered to our house in Hampton, and I began to teach a few piano lessons as well.  The final George Wythe Middle School concert at the end of that year was my last year to teach in public schools, because I found out that soon we would have a new baby -- due in July!  And that  became the next new adventure for us.


Scott Phillip Michal was born on July 19, 1958 at a hospital in Newport News, Virginia.  His birth cost us $16 because he was an Air Force baby, and that included the photo that was taken at his birth. Our joy was complete!  We were a real family now.  Scott and I came home to our house on Neal Ave. and we were there all together for three days when Keith was called to an indefinate TDY assignment  in the Pacific which would last for the next 5 months.  Everyone told me that I should take the baby and spend that time with my Mom in Kansas; but, I was so determined (or stubborn) that I decided Scott, Ebony, Pepper and I would be just fine.  That decision lasted 6 weeks--then, I made arrangements to fly to Kansas until Keith returned home.  I shipped Ebony by train to Beloit where he would stay on my brother's farm; a neighbor took care of Pepper while I was gone and Scott and I took a flight back to Kansas to stay there for the next few months.It wasn't long after that when we began to think about what our future would be:  Keith's enlistment would soon be finished and he could either re-enlist as a career officer in the United States Air Force or make other plans as a civilian.  We decided  that it was time to pursue his life-long dream to learn about the central nervous system and brain function and to pursue his advanced degrees in order to become a professor of physiology.   He was accepted at the University of Kansas for a year's refresher and to pick up needed hours to begin working toward a Ph D in Physiology at the University of Illinois.


So, again it was time to say goodbye to friends:  those Air Force and Hampton, Virginia families who had meant so much to us.  The movers came for our furniture, and we drove to the ocean one last time before we packed the dog and Scott into the car and headed for Lawrence, Kansas, to live for the next year.  This would begin the next Chapter of our life as we left the military world and entered Academia.









Virtual Trekking In Google Earth
Twenty-Nine Crosses and One Dead Cow


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