The Misheard Instruction

While being interviewed recently by a prospective employer, she asked a question that I’ve never been asked before: “Has there ever been a time when you misheard an instruction or something some told you and what happened and how did you deal with it?”  While I couldn’t think of this particular incident at the time, I do recall what happened back in 1979, as if it were yesterday.

“Anyone here going into the medical field?,” the Airman First Class asked, as we stood ‘butt-to-nut’ along the wall.

Reluctantly, I raised my hand. “Good!” he exclaimed, “You’re with me,” as called me out of line.

Trailing behind him, we entered the lab where others were working. He pointed to a large pile of undeveloped x-ray film and began telling me how I was to hand them out to my flight as they moved by the open window.

With his instructions firmly placed in my brain, he left for his coffee/cigarette break and I proceeded to handout the film. He returned as I was handing out the 37th one.

“What in the fuck have you done” he screamed, “you stupid asshole!”

Everyone in the lab stopped what they were doing and looked our way. I felt the blood rush into my face and my ear begin to burn as if they were on fire.

He grabbed me by the collar of my O.D. green fatigue blouse and jerked me from in front of the window. The act caused me to stumble back and fall on my ass.

The Airman First Class continued to cuss me up one side and down the other because I had failed to understand that each member of my flight had an assigned number from one to 52, and that they stood inline in random order. Evidently, I was to ask each man what his assigned number was and then to hand him the corresponding film.

Needless to say, the next time someone asked any of us what career field we were getting into, no one wanted to volunteer the information. To this day, I will swear on a stack of bible’s and my momma’s grave that I did not hear him tell me that each film had a corresponding number, and thus, to a singular individual.

Lunch Box

After a particularly long week of pretending to be an adult, there is a part of me that wishes I could return to kidhood. How I long for the days of catching polly-wogs behind the Bizzard’s building or running through the Experimental Forest with friend’s like Goldie Arnold.

What a wonderful time of life. I’d even return for a day of being six again and of playing house with Goldie, in the little blue and white playhouse that sat in the Honeycutt’s front yard.

It was late afternoon one summer’s day when we decided to act like we were going to have dinner. Unfortunately for me Goldie made me be the ‘wife,’ and ‘cook her dinner,’ after getting home for working at the lumber mill.

“But, I don’t wanna be the wife,” I complained bitterly, “I’m no girl!”

She looked at me and with all the grand confidence of having won the argument before it had even begun, Goldie stated, “So? I have my daddy’s lunch box and you don’t!”

I served dirt burgers with a side of grass and water served in plastic teas cups.

Contract Thuggery

By violently removing a paying passenger from one of its planes, United Airlines has exposed a danger that every member of the flying public should be aware of and that is Public Private Partnerships (PPP.) Anytime, your taxes pay for a facility like an airport or a sports stadium where a private business is going to be operation out of — it is a PPP.

O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, is such a facility. Aside from subjecting an individual to physical assault, kidnapping and the blatant disregard for his civil liberties, both the carrier and the city, which operates the facility, engaged in ‘contract thuggery.’

Let’s take the same situation, but move it to a different venue, say a new grocery store, built using federal, state and local taxes. You go in a get the last loaf of bread on the shelf ahead of closing and pay for it.

You walk towards the exit only to be stopped by an employee who tells you that you cannot have the loaf because another employee needs it. Instead of surrendering the loaf, you make a fuss and the police are called.

Once they’re are on scene, they demand you hand it over — even though you paid for it — and when you don’t, you get hauled off to jail. If you are like me, you know this is wrong.

It’s unlawful for the City of Chicago to enforce United Airlines’ contract. Furthermore, the passenger who was forcibly removed from the plane, lost his right to due process since he held a valid contract for services being rendered between himself and the carrier.

This is where the danger comes in for anyone who uses such a facility: while this incident occurred in Illinois, by using City of Chicago employees to do its dirty work, United has established an example that gives other carriers and other governmental entities permission to uphold contract law through force for private corporations. This exposes PPP’s for what they are – a Soviet-style business plan.

William Harlan Leslie Shaw, 1897-1972

While searching the online records regarding my sister Marcy’s many legal-actions against businesses and people who failed to comply with the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990, I stumbled onto my Grandpa Bill Shaw’s name. His has led me down an avenue that had long been obscured from my family researches.

He was born William Harlan Leslie Shaw on December 27, 1897 in Mount Blanchard, Ohio to Frank L. Shaw and Nettie L. Musgrave. On August 26, 1918, at the age of 21, Grandpa Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 159th Depot Brigade, Company B, 46th Battalion at Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky.

The role of the Depot Brigade was to receive and organize recruits, provide them with uniforms, equipment and initial military training, then send them to France to fight on the front lines as well as receive returning soldiers at the end of the war and complete their out processing and discharges. According to records Grandpa Bill was there from November 1, 1918 until his honorable discharge as a Corporal on December 11, 1918, which makes no sense as he was supposedly gassed while in the trenches of France.

Following the war, Grandpa Bill got married in Biglick, Hancock County, Ohio, between 1920 and 1930 and by 1930 had become a widower. In 1932, he moved to California and by 1935 he was married and living in San Francisco with my grandmother Leola.

Five years later, Grandpa Bill was listed as both a prisoner in the Alameda County Jail in Oakland, California and divorced. However, Grandpa Bill’s 1972 obituary lists my Grandma as his wife and both are buried side-by-side at Sunrise Cemetery in Fortuna, California.

Grandpa Bill seemingly disappears from the records until he moved to Humboldt County, California in 1964. It is around this time that he his known to have been a member of the Elks Lodge Number 1689 in Crescent City, California and a dues paying member of a bartenders’ union.

And so the search continues…

Marcy Jean Darby-Velasquez, 1969-2017

This is hard, posting an obituary for my youngest sister, as it comes with a hurting heart. I can still recall how Mom’s water broke while in the kitchen the night Marcy was born.

Mom was squatting, looking for a certain pan under the counter. After her water broke (I thought she pee’d herself) I had to help her stand up and then call Dad at work to tell him to get home.

What made it even more memorable is that three days before, on April Fool’s Day, Mom tricked Dad into rushing to Crescent City claiming, “it’s time,” only to go to dinner and return home with a new alarm clock-radio combo she bought at Rexall Drugs. I’ve always said that Marcy got the last laugh in that situation.

She and I had not spoken since our mother’s passing in 2002. It was her choice, not mine.

Anyway, I lifted and edited much of what my sister Deirdre posted on Facebook about our youngest sister’s life and death, which is how I learned she had died. Deirdre also sent information to me regarding Marcy’s death via the U.S. Mail Service — but we know how that goes…

Marcy Jean Darby was born in Crescent City, California at Seaside Hospital on April 3, 1969, and grew up in Klamath, California, where she attended Margaret Keating School. She passed away in Shasta Lake, California at the House of Hope on March 26, 2017, at the age of 47.

After an accident left her partially paralyzed in 1981, and nearly a year of physical therapy, Marcy moved to Fortuna, California, with Mom and Deirdre, where she attended Fortuna High and then East High School. She later attended the College of the Redwoods, Fredericks and Charles Beauty College, both in Eureka, California, and Genesis Bible College of Santa Rosa, California.

She’s survived by her sons, Christopher Scot Key and Delmar-James Alexander Key, her sister Deirdre Peterson and family, all of Fortuna, and brother Tom Darby and his family of Spanish Springs, Nevada. Marcy’s preceded in death by brother Adam M. Darby and mother Margery Ann Olivera-Middleton and her father Thomas Junior Darby.