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by Becky Stillwell

My Dad, Colonel Rex R. Stillwell, was stationed at Cherry Point Naval Air Station in North Carolina in the mid-50's. It was an idyllic, insulated place to live, with the houses built around a forest, and deer would come into our yard to lick the salt block my Dad had put out for them.

We went to school (segregated, of course) on a bus that picked us up in front of our house. A bus also picked us up for the movies on Saturdays, and we had plenty of places to explore on the base. We had to stop our car on one road to let the jets fly by, they flew so low.

While we were living there, I joined the Brownies. One day I missed my ride home after the Brownies meeting. I was about 7 years old. I'm not sure where the idea came from, but I decided to hitchhike home in my Brownie uniform. A nice man pulled over, asked where I lived, and, to my surprise, came into the house with me. He turned out to be the Commandant of the base, and he had a little chat with my parents.

I don't remeber being in really big trouble. What I remember is the feeling that being on the base was so safe that I never thought twice about sticking out my thumb for a ride.


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