Friday I was honored by the flight simulator instructors from Vance AFB with a quilt handmade by the wife of one instructor. I had the best job in the world at Vance for 15 years. As an Office Administrator for CSI (Contract Simulator Instructors) I started that job in 1995 in the front office with 23 retired military pilots. They taught the Air Force students to fly, and I kept the office running for them. We lost that contract 15 years later and by that time we had 85 instructors and one Office Administrator. I had help and lots of things changed in that 15 years, but what was most important was that I worked with 85 of the best people in the world.
I’ve had a varied career, starting with working in flower shops, managing municipal pools, and teaching swimming. Later when the kids were older I went back to school and received my paralegal certificate from OU then worked for years in law offices. I met and worked with some wonderful people and learned more than I could have ever imagined. And then I went to work for the flight simulator instructors at Vance.
I felt like Danny DeVito when I first crept onto that military base and asked for directions to the sim building. “Can I buy a vowel?” Military lingo is a language all of its own. You couldn’t sling a dead cat without hitting a retired Lt Col, and there I stood in my heels and suit from the law office among a sea of flight suits – many of them Viet Nam era. I quickly learned what the insignia on the shoulders meant and thank God for name tags.
I left the base when our company lost the contract and my job disappeared into a pool of paperwork, but not until I helped the instructors apply for their own jobs with the Federal Government. Then I went back into a law office in an oil and gas company. But the people I worked with remained my friends. I knew their wives, children, and grandchildren. They were family, not just co-workers.
I still have breakfast with the old codgers every couple of weeks now that we are all retired, and Friday morning they presented me a quilt of honor because they said I could herd cats (them). They were always grateful for the work I did.
Thank you, CSI, for your friendship and the quilt I will always cherish.