Settling in with Frank

Posted in Love Letters | 6 comments

We left Naha Airport hand in hand with big smiles on our faces.

Frank and I were back together again, nothing else in the world mattered at that moment.

It was still early in the day, so we took a cab to Kadena Circle then turned off on a different road, and then in just a couple of blocks, we were at the house that Frank had rented for us to live.

After leaving my suitcase in the house, we decided to walk to a town not far from our home called Kadena.

We walked around, looking in the open-front stores. Then we went to a restaurant approved with a three A rating above the door at the entry. Frank told me about a dish they made at the restaurant, called Yakisoba, and it was a mixture of noodles, shredded vegetables, and chicken that you put Soy Sauce on.  I totally loved it, which made Frank very happy.

After finishing eating, we walked back to our new home. Our household things that had shipped from Texas would not arrive for weeks because they were coming by ship. Still, Frank had purchased necessary kitchen utensils, sheets, towels, a refrigerator, a small three-burner electric stove, and a bed.

Man in a bedroom

Frank and the Sheet Curtains

The refrigerator had cheeses, apples, and milk in it, but the counter next to it had crackers, black olives, pickles, and crackers of all kinds.  Next to the food on the bar was a large bottle of Champagne with two glasses next to it.  Frank had carefully planned our reunion to be an extraordinary occasion, and it was more than exceptional, it was terrific.

The next morning, I woke to the smell of fresh coffee, then Frank entered the bedroom with two cups of coffee.  We planned our day as we drank our morning coffee sitting side by side on the bed.

We had lots to do, which included going to the GRI. (Government of the Ryukyuan Islands) Immigration to get a residence visa which would let me stay longer than thirty days in Okinawa, one of the Ryukyuan Islands.

Naha, Okinawa

Naha, Okinawa 1969

Frank had all of the paperwork that we needed from the Army, and I had my passport plus extra pictures.  We took a bus to Naha, where the Immigration Office was located, and it did not take very long to apply for the issuance of my residence certificate.  Frank had done all of the homework ahead of time.  One thing for sure, he was not going to let them take me from his arms.  Did I tell you how much love this man?

After leaving the Immigration Office, we walked the streets of Naha.  It was a busy small city with so many shops which all had open front shops with so many beautiful oriental furniture, curiosities, and all kinds of exciting foods. We spent hours enjoying the wonder of it all, and then we took the bus back to our new home.

The third morning Frank and I got up early, got dressed, then ate breakfast.  We decided the night before that we needed some more furniture since all we had was a bed.  We also required curtains since we had only sheets on the bedroom windows and had to make a mad dash to the bathroom if not fully dressed.   There was a clothesline in our backyard, but we did not have a washing machine, so we decided to get a used washing machine too.  Thinking, you all know how happy I was with that decision if you read the story “Boogie Clothes.”

Lady hanging curtains

Nancy Hanging Curtains

We came home owning two chairs, a loveseat size couch, curtains, and most importantly, a washing machine.  The used washing machine cost us $15.00, and it worked!  The Okinawan store owners delivered our furniture and washing machine to our home as soon as we arrived back at the house.  I could not wait to get started hanging the curtains, so I did that immediately  Frank and I still had snack food, so we decided to eat what we had instead of taking a cab to the base to shop in the Commissary.

Day four was an early day, too, but we needed food, so off to the Commissary at Kadena Air Force Base we went.  We had to take a cab to the base, then had to switch into another taxi at the gate.  Only selected cabs were allowed on the military base, and they parked inside the entrance.  After buying the groceries we needed, we took a taxi back to the gate and transferred our groceries into another cab on the other side of the gate then we got in that cab and were driven to our home.  It was all a little crazy, but it was what it was.

It is crucial to future stories in this book to describe our house.  The house was made of concrete blocks and had a flat concrete roof.   The concrete block sides on the outside and in the interior of the house had been smooth with more concrete then painted.  Concrete blocks made up all dividing and connecting walls inside the home too. We had a regular toilet in the bathroom, but the shower/tub was square made of concrete blocks, which had then been smoothed and tiled.

Off base Housing in Okinawa 1969

Our home Okinawa 1969

All windows opened by sliding them side to side, and there was one thumbscrew in the center to lock them when closed.  The windows had screens made of blue plastic fabric. Wooden “stealy” bars covered all of the windows on the outside of the house but were easy to pull off one wooden bar at a time.

Both of the doors to the house swung open to the outside. Since the doors opened to the outside, this left the hinge pins exposed on the outside of the house.   Our screen doors were on the inside of the doorway and opened to the interior.  I do not have a clue as to the reason for things being backward, but at the time, I just excepted it.

We had a fence all around the house, which was about five feet high and made of the same concrete blocks.  On the roadside of our home, we had a rolling chain-linked, twelve-foot gate that, when open rolled in a track against the concrete fence.  The gate was wider than the concrete driveway, which allowed us to pull a car into that driveway easily when the gate was open.  I think this all pretty much describes our home, yard, and fence with the sliding gate.

Okinawa Off Base Housing 1969

Okinawan Boys, Fence, and Gate

The house was not air-conditioned, but we bought one box fan and an oscillating fan on a stand.  In the wintertime, we had one free-standing kerosene heater.  We did not have a telephone, but we did have a Sony portable TV that had an eight-inch screen on it with a pull out antenna.  It also had a snap-on cover that protected the tv screen. I had brought the TV with me as a carry-on on my plane trip from the States.

Frank and I settled into playing house again, and you would think that we had never been apart.  We loved Okinawa. It was a beautiful Island.   The Okinawan people were always smiling, and they were happy people.  They had very little, but they made do with what they had, which made Frank and I fit in perfectly.   After all, we only needed each other.

There are many fun stories I will share with you from the two years we lived in Okinawa.  Hang on for some real “grownup” fun.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Were all of your neighbors US Military or was the neighborhood a mixture?
    That concrete house sounds like it was relatively “cool”. Looking forward to more!

    • Our neighbors were a mixture of Okinawans and US Military. Funny though only Okinawan were across the street in front of our home. Behind us and to either side were off base military. I should have mentioned that.
      The horses were fairly cool but the humidity on the island was high, so with out AC the walls inside would sweat and mold quickly. I bleached walls alot.
      Thank you for commenting with great questions Chuck.
      God Bless You,
      Nancy

  2. If you ever do this in a book I will want a copy. Until then I will keep reading.

    • Thank you so much, Robert. I will make sure you get a copy. Thank you for coming here to comment and your continuing support. I will keep on writing and posting.
      God Bless You, Robert
      Nancy

  3. Another great story. It’s a good thing the two of you were able to adapt to different situations and places. Some people would find that very difficult. I love the way you just went with the flow and did what you had to do without grumbling about conditions. By the way, that meal looks very tempting. That would be something I would enjoy.

    • I loved Yakisoba. It was such a great dish. Frank and I were on a wonderful journey and just had each other. We didn’t need more than that.
      Thank you again for commenting.
      God Bless You, Diane
      Nancy

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