What Happened To My Leg?


What happened to my leg?

I enlisted in the Air Force September 25, 1980 at the tender age of twenty seven. Yes, I was a little late getting started in my military career. There I was an old married woman with two kids, ten and eight, competing in a world of eighteen year olds. My husband had been in the military for several years. As a TSGT he out ranked most of the instructors in basic training. I was a military spouse for around ten years prior to me signing up. I thought I knew everything about the military. Basic training was going to be a breeze. Boy was I wrong. What in the hell did I get myself into? Garry and the kids lived across town at Randolph Air Force Base. It felt like they were a million miles away.

From the beginning things were really hard for me. About 90% of the squadron I was assigned to was girls from Harlem New York. I was almost ten years older than most of the other girls, and white. We had lived all over the world and were exposed to a lot of different cultures, races, religions, and life styles. However nothing prepared me for those girls from Harlem. They were some tough, mean women. Their favorite name for me was Mother F—— Bitch. Guess what? I was so intimidated by them, I answered to whatever name they called me. By the time we graduated six weeks later, we had a mutual respect for each other. They still called me that name, but mostly in a nice way, if MFB can be nice.

After graduation we were bused to Wichita Falls Texas for tech school. The accounting school I attended was twelve weeks long. I hadn’t been in school since I was sixteen. Not only was I older than everyone else, I had no clue on how to study. I spent many long nights studying while everyone else was out parting. I did my share of partying too, but not as much as the younger folks.

After an exhausting night of studying, I got up at four, took an ice cold shower, (we never had hot water) and got into formation to march to school with the rest of the squadron. As we were marching I notice I was limping. The longer we marched the limping got worse. We arrived at the school, and were waiting in the hall for the class to start. I kept balancing back and forth from one leg to the other. I told a classmate I know this may sound weird, but I think one of my legs is shorter than the other. I proceeded to show her that one leg did appear shorter. She looked down at my shoes and said Mary a heel is missing from your left shoe. Was I embarrassed or what? I certainly was the classroom joke for the day.

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