Saturday, May 13, 2006

Merry olde England

I spent my fourth, fifth and sixth years in Cornwall when my father was stationed at a U.S. Navy facility (I’ll leave the description at that) on a Royal Air Force station – RAF St. Mawgan - from 1965 to 1968, so my first really coherent memories started there.
We lived in an old Royal Air Force officers housing complex. – row houses with fair-sized gardens in the rear. A field at the rear of our row of houses separated us from the local school.
The neighborhood was just across the road from RAF St. Eval, which had been closed just six years earlier. A couple of large, late WW II hangars still stood, and the runways and hardstands were still visible through the weeds growing there. Some local folks raced small cars around the runways, and the U.S. Navy and RAF families celebrated Guy Fawkes Night by burning a rather elaborate effigy on top of a huge pyre of scrap wood each November.
St. Eval had also housed U.S. Army Air Force bomber crews flying anti-U-boat patrols over the North Atlantic around 1942-43
A shepherd led his flock every morning and afternoon through the neighborhood. Grocery shopping consisted of trips every few days to the butcher and baker, while a greengrocer brought his van through every two or three days. Once a week, we drove into Newquay to visit the supermarket, or the NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) grocery van stopped in the neighborhood.
We also had a small Navy Exchange at the ‘facility,’ which was more like a general store than your typical post or base exchange. We got our Cokes and other touches of home from there. I had my first Tootsie Pop when the storekeeper handed me one. My first Oreo was in England.
I don’t remember my first plane flight – it was to England. I do remember my second flight – it was to the United States. I also saw my first iceberg on that flight, from 40,000 feet.
My third plane flight was that same day, from McGuire Air Force Base to National Airport. That night, in a nearby motel, I saw my first episode of Star Trek.
A few weeks later, I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.
I had missed a couple of years of things on television, like race riots and Vietnam.
Maybe I’ll write some more about this.


Blogger jromer said...


5:19 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Yes, please do. Slight confusion although I'm pretty certain you know because I feel you've mentioned it before, but you'vegiven the impression that St Mawgan is in Wales but it's actually in Cornwall. Unless they've moved it, which is possible I suppose. Still Celtic but there's a large slice of Bristol Channel in between them.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Good point - a lot of folks here get confused when I try to explain it, so I oversimplify out of frustration. I'll revert to correct usage

9:25 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

How interesting! I've always wanted to visit England. I'd love to hear more about your time there.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there with your father, from Oct 1967 to Oct 1969. I can't remember who all lived at St. Eval at this late date.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Frontier Former Editor said...

Anonymous - e-mail me!

10:51 PM  

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