Saturday, September 4, 2010

Judy's In The Air Force Now! Wichita Falls, TX-cont'd Part 4

See the shoes lined up under the bed?
You can find the first part of this series Here and the second part Here, and 
third part Here

Routine, can be reassuring and a learning experience. It was used by the Air Force in our daily lives. Such as our uniforms.  Have y'all ever heard the expression, "shoes that are spit shined"?  I know where it came from, the military.  Our shoes had to be shiny as glass, the commander had to be able to see her reflection when she lifted one up to look at the toe.  It was hard work to keep the shoes shined, that is, if you did it the right way.  Some people took shortcuts, such as having them shined at a shoe repair store and never wearing them, they were used just for display.  There were other shortcuts,such as using floor wax or I think even car wax. But to me it seemed more complicated than the plain old elbow grease. Once that floor wax was used, it ruined the shoe, cracking the leather and losing it's luster.  I bought the clear shoe polish, spread it on and polished.  Occasionally, adding water or this is where some would spit on the shoe, I can't remember if I did, cause it seemed kinda gross, but I'm sure I tried it at least once just to see what would happen. Once it dried, a soft cloth and elbow grease was used to make it really shine! I have a picture of all of us standing at attention with our uniforms, we looked sharp!

I'm the second girl from the left, actually, the only girl wearing glasses. Note the well shined shoes we wore.

Another rule was that when hanging clothes in the closet, the blouses had to be facing the same way, lined up symmetrically. Same thing with skirts and dresses.  The bed really had to be made so that a quarter, when dropped onto the blanket, would bounce.  To do this, you pulled the sheets and blanket tight and stuffed the edges under the mattress. The room had to be wiped down, because the commander would be wearing white gloves and occasionally wipe her hand across the window sill or the top of the closet, even along a table or desk.  This is where the term "white glove inspection" came from. If I remember correctly, in order to keep the starched blouse inside our starched skirt, we tied a string around our waists. It really was a just a long shoe string. I hope they don't have to starch their clothes today.  I mean we spent hours washing, starching, drying and ironing to have the skirt lose it's firmness the first time we sat down! It was so funny, now anyway, to remember walking down to the laundry room and see skirts literally standing by themselves on the floor, positioned in any space available, waiting to be ironed because there was no place to lay them down in our room. It sorta looked like half people standing around. When the Air Force stopped requiring those outfits, I bet the Faultless starch company had a huge drop in sales! I think spray starch was available, but it didn't provide the necessary stiffness.

When you're assigned a roommate, be it school, college or the military, you don't know who or what kind of person you'll be getting.  Do they snore, though I don't remember being that concerned about snoring, will they be friendly or what kind of hygiene habits do they have.  I remember my roommate at Wichita Falls, can't remember her name, but I do remember that she was't a clean person. In other words, her hygiene habits were awful, it reached a point that when the room door was opened, the odor would just about make me gag.  Now, while some things weren't sanctioned by the Air Force, when a situation occurred, the officers looked the other way.  The treatment of bad hygiene was such an instant. Especially if the party had been called to the office and told to clean up her act and didn't.  A group of girls got together, led or pushed, the offending party to the showers, once there she was handed soap, shampoo and a wash cloth; if the suggestion wasn't taken, it was known that she would receive a bath either by herself or others.  The next step was to lead her back to her room and stand there "encouraging" her to get all of her dirty clothes together to take to the laundry room, provide cleaning bucket and materials to wash down the clothes closet to get rid of the odor. Needless to say, the person's hygiene habits improved and stayed improved. This is what happened to my roommate, only after many requests to clean up herself and her half of the room.  I don't just mean clothes lying on the floor, which wasn't allowed, but not taking a bath and wearing her lingerie over and over.  I believe the same group that was involved in setting off the fire alarm helped with this situation. Keep in mind, there wasn't any physical force, just manipulation.

Looking over this post, it seems so "routine".  We did have fun too.  I'll talk about the fun next time.


arlee bird said...

Wow, such discipline. Bad hygiene, especially when it gets to the point of bad odors, is something I do not like at all.

Tossing It Out

Agnes said...

A string around the waist -- what a brilliant idea! I am serious :-)

Charlene said...

Wow - this is so interesting! My step-son is in the Army and in Afganistan at the moment...can't imagine him with spit-shined shoes! : )

MrsDoF said...

My uncle had the hygiene suggestion done to him by his bunkmates.
He told me when he got into combat, one of the benefits was doing without a shower.
By the time I remember him, he was out of the military and took a shower every other week, even though he worked in a factory.
My grandma told me she had thought the military would cure him of that, cuz she never could.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

J!3 ~
The forcing a companion to bathe situation reminds me of a scene in my favorite Western movie, "Monte Walsh", with Lee Marvin from 1970.

The cook made excellent food, but he never bathed and smelled so bad the cowboys could hardly eat. So, one day they all got together and carried the cook to a large vat of water on the ranch, threw him in and scrubbed him down.

But, you don't mess with a cook! He got his revenge on them - "Montezuma's style".

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Judy Harper said...

Lee-it is awful! Especially with the door closed and the heat on!

Agnes-it was right handy. I hung onto it for years, because it worked, even with polyester, especially with polyester!

Charlene-I wonder,do they require daily inspections in Afghanistan as they did here, or maybe the times have changed, even being in a foreign may affect the routine.

MrsDof-There are some people who are bath shy. Wonder after his hygiene suggestion he followed the rules until he moved onto another assignment?

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen-That was the great thing in the Air Force, she might not speak to us again, but she knew that there were too many of us to carry out revenge on.

MrsDoF said...

It seems he did shower more often after the lesson, but never learned to like it.
But when he met his sweetheart, she was the one person able to get him to clean up somewhat better after their wedding. We all love such a wonderful gal being part of the family.