CHAPTER 16: C.F.B. TRENTON – ADMITTING DEFEAT
A big change was approaching for the guys They were all moving to the new male barracks by the water and the transit barracks were now only for military on course and military visitors. It really changed the dynamics for the gang because instead of having two to three guys per room each guy had his own room. Also the building was twice as big and they were all spread apart from each other not in the same area like before. It was a drag the end of an era that we all would miss. Yes they finally had privacy but the days of room hopping and barrack parties were gone and we all missed that.
It was now the fall I was feeling beat up by the onslaught of sexual harassment, being discarded to the nether regions of the base, and slowly seeing our gang of friends move on so I was extremely vulnerable. I had no fight left in me and I was so disillusioned with the military I had it. I was shell-shocked I felt exhausted, I wanted out of the military, away from guys who hounded me, I put in my release but it would take six months for the whole process. They had to give me a clean bill of health via a medical, they had to send memos to finance and administration to get my pay settled, but even with that I couldn’t fathom why it took six months. My mother found out I was getting out of the military and she somehow yelled at the right person because I was out in thirty days. She said that her latest sugar daddy was a member of parliament and had some pull. I never knew whether to believe her story or not but was just thankful to be out in such a short time. I packed up my meager belongs and the only one left to say good-bye to was Dean and we both hugged and cried.
When I got off the bus in Ottawa my dad was there and when I cried he gave me a big hug. When we got my suitcase and drove home he didn’t ask me what happened in fact he didn’t say a thing. I never even considered living back home as being an option. My mother was in a single apartment and besides I would never move in with her. My dad was living in a two-bedroom high-rise apartment with my brother in our old neighborhood in the west-end of Ottawa so it was crowded enough and my unexpected drop-in was temporary and hopefully short-lived but I had no idea what I was going to do so when I called bawling to the only friend I knew. Dean said he’d get a small apartment in Belleville, Ontario fifteen minutes from the base in Trenton for us to live in together. I wondered why Dean was helping me I guess he knew that I really had nowhere to go and besides he told me that he had fallen in love with me and didn’t want me to leave in the first place. I cried a lot at first about my failed career in the military but with lots of hugs from Dean I soon got over it. We quickly became more than just friends.
Dean’s family lived in Montreal but as nice as they were there was an underlining tone of skepticism about Dean and my relationship and the parents were so proud of their kids that no-one seemed good enough for their children’s’ partners who were under a microscope, disrespected, and harshly judged by them.
But my family was worse than Dean’s actually just my mom but that was enough. She called Dean every name in the book and put him down every time I talked to her because her father abused her as a kid so she hated all men. Her worst stunt was the time my mother took me out shopping and to burger joint. As we ate she vividly described how she’d like to chop Dean up piece by piece, cook him in a stew, and eat him. She was going into gory details like first I’d start out with his fingers… it made me sick and I told her to stop that it wasn’t funny. Dazed she looked at me and frowned like a kid who was just scolded the hate in her eyes scared me.
Dean worked shift work the on the hangar line days, nights, and mid-nights. I tried to adjust my sleep patterns with him so I could spend time with him when he got off of his shift. It was hard but it didn’t take long before my body got use to the change. Meanwhile Dean had told me about his dream to become a Snowbird the Canadian aerobatics team and that he had been applying for the team the last three years. He sent requests to his career manager to get posted to Moose Jaw where the team was located. He said he’d give it all up for me but I strongly told him he better not. It was his goal in the military, his dream and I wasn’t going to take that away from him. Finally he was posted to Moose Jaw, SK and Dean went ahead on a house hunting trip to in April 1983 while I stayed in Montreal, Quebec with his family. I was glad that Dean and I we were moving away from both our families. We needed to live on our own with no interference and no attempts to sabotage our relationship.
In all I had many ups and downs both personally and professionally in Trenton. Professionally I loved working in the warehouse, I loved supply and the military did train me well and gave me a trade. Socially I had many opportunities to be part of the community and I did make some friends. In the military I had a sense of belonging and a feeling of being taken care of which I would miss. Yet because of the times and its very nature the military environment wasn’t easy for women so I was happy to leave it all behind for a fresh start.