David J. Green passed away on August 15, 2019.
My wife, three of my grandchildren, and I visited with David while we were in southern Texas. We were there as part of our RV excursion.
I had the pleasure of spending most of one day alone with him. During our time, he told me of his time in the Air Force. The stories unfolded as he moved back and forth, all around, in his electric motorized chair. More on the chair in a moment.
He told most of the stories in broken parts. David was having trouble remembering what story he was telling. But, with prompting, he quickly returned to the subject.
David goes overseas
I learned that the military planned to send him overseas, but changed the destination several times. With one set of orders, he traveled to a base in the states where he would catch his transport. There, his orders changed, and he remained the winter stoking fires in the barracks. He told me someone had to keep the fires burning, and he was handy.
Finally, he went overseas, to England! A fortuitous occurrence for there he met his wife, Marian Freegard. They remained life mates for 66 years.
Returning to the State
A story he repeated was about his return trip to the states. He was of low rank when it came time to return from England. As such, he was not entitled to transportation for his new family, only himself. (This was common in my early days in the US Navy also.)
I got the impression that he bought airline tickets for the family, but he would travel by sea transport. Before anyone traveled, David was told to cash in the airline tickets. He and his family would travel by sea on the same ship. He told me the name of the ship, but my memory fails me.
David chuckled each time he repeated his family was on the upper deck and ate in the wardroom with the “higher ups.” He found it funny that he was allowed to spend much of each day with them, including eating with them. He has a wide grin as he said “them higher ups down below” were angry about this.
The men of higher ranks he referred to were quartered on lower decks. They were not permitted to spend the same amount of time as he was with their families on the upper decks. I was not clear if his special treatment was because he was being returned home to leave the military. Whatever the reason, this made a good story, and he worked it.
I mentioned his chair. I don’t think it ever stopped moving while I was there. He worked the controls to take him forward and back, around furniture, in and out the door, and up and down the handicap ramp. Conversation while in motion was his forte.
I enjoyed the time I spent with this octogenarian. David J. Green was a funny, spunky man who seemed to take every challenge with good grace and a smile. That was the man I spent the day visiting.
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