Today is going to be a photo entry. I am far too lazy today to write a real entry.
So! Photo #1:
This was the very first photograph of Kurt and me together. It was August 1994; I was 15 and Kurt was 20. See, my sister and Kurt were both in the Navy at the time, and they were both stationed at NTC Great Lakes. They were really great friends, and when I flew out to see my sister, she introduced us. Kurt was quite the gentleman, taking us down to Chicago and treating us to a wonderful time there. We went to Ed Debevic’s, I remember, and also to the Sears Tower.
Can you believe I was once that skinny? Somehow I look thinner there than I do now, though I wear the same size (pre-pregnancy). But then I do weigh thirty pounds more than I did in high school. I could only wish my bosom was as small as it was then. I was only a D there!!
It wasn’t till Kurt was stationed in Virginia and I was in college that we started dating, five years after this photo was taken. So don’t be calling the cops on my poor husband!
Now this photo caused me no end of consternation. Notice the insignia on his left arm. There are three red chevrons, yes? Three chevrons is an E-6, Petty Officer First Class in the Navy. BUT! Look at that uniform! Dad called it the “bus driver’s uniform.” That, my friends, is service dress blues for Chief Petty Officers and officers! Not for petty officers first class! Petty officers first class wear what is affectionately known as “crackerjacks.” Those are the ones you see in old photos from WWII, with the “Dixie cup” white cap perched on the back of the sailor’s head (it’s no longer legal, by the way, to wear it like that) and the jumpers (aka, “shirts”) with the flap in the back and the neckerchief in the front.
I went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth on this photo. He’s a First Class! But he’s wearing a Chief’s uniform! But he’s only got three chevrons! But that’s a Chief’s uniform! But it clearly reads “First Class”! Aarrgggh!!
My brain was about to explode. Finally I just said to myself, “Self, they probably changed the uniforms from then to now, and this is why he’s wearing what looks like a Chief’s uniform to me.” When Kurt came home for lunch today, he assured me that that was indeed the case. There are subtle differences between this uniform and the Chief’s uniform. First and foremost, a Chief has a curved stripe (aka, “rocker”) over his three chevrons to denote his rank. Secondly, the combination cap (so called because that white fabric can be swapped out for khaki-colored fabric to match the Chiefs’ khaki uniforms) has an anchor insignia on it, instead of the eagle my father is wearing in this photo.
The Navy decided that it was a bad idea to authorize these uniforms for petty officers, as it made them very hard to distinguish from a Chief. Now only Chiefs and officers wear this uniform, and officers have their own little distinctions to make it their own. See the black shiny strap above the combination cap’s brim? For officers, that strap, which is in actuality a functional chin strap, is gold. Instead of the eagle on this cap, or the anchor my husband wears, officers wear a much larger pin featuring two crossed anchors, an eagle, and the officers’ shield. Also, the buttons on an officer’s blazer are gold, instead of silver, and their rank is shown in gold stripes at the wrist of the uniform.
More about the military than you wanted to know, I am sure.
I would also like to mention that because I have the attention span of a gnat, as I was trying to find a good photo of the crackerjack uniforms online, I got stuck on one page featuring possible uniform revisions. I was sucked into reading all the comments left both in favor and against changing the uniforms. That’s why this post has taken me well over two hours to write! That, and a phone call from the in-laws.
My dad is 29 in this photo, exactly the same age I am now. Isn’t he handsome, though?? And look how skinny he is! Ahhh, youth. It’s wasted on the young.
On to more important things. Yeah, I said I wasn’t going to write a real entry, but this is important. Both yesterday and today I noticed I was laughing more. Everything was making me giggle, and I was doing things like pinching Kurt’s bottom right as a car passed us on our after-dinner walk. I make jokes again, and I’m giggling for nearly no reason. I want to laugh. Last night, Kurt sat down next to me on the couch to share some chips & salsa, but when I noticed he’d left the remote on the other couch, I started laughing so hard I couldn’t stop.
It feels good to be happy. I’m going to try to make this last.