Memories come like tides, in private cycles. In today, I cycled back to Feb, 1991. I’d just come back from an assignment with the USAF in Germany. Enroute to California, I passed through WV and Pennsylvania on leave, visiting family, and then arrived at SF, CA.
Rain was pouring in the Bay Area that day. Ted, my sponsor, picked me up at the airport. California had been in a drought, he said, hard to believe since the great deluge was making Highway 101’s traffic a slow-moving shit show.
A little later, I was in the military hotel at Moffett just outside of Mountain View. Up the road was my new assignment, a place called Sunnyvale Air Station, a.k.a., the Blue Cube. The name was changed to Onizuka Air Base to honor Ellison Onizuka, an astronaut killed in the Challenger disaster.
Onizuka turned out to be a good assignment and my last. I retired there four and a half years later. The base closed down in 2010 and the Blue Cube was demolished in 2014. I blamed myself because the base probably wasn’t the same after my tenure (ha, ha).
It was a complete unknown to me when I arrived, though. Bored and tired, I flipped through channels in my hotel room, rediscovering American pop culture after four years in Germany, and saw a video by R.E.M. called “Losing My Religion”.
Somehow, it fit the moment.