Letters: Christmas 1995

Christmas 1995

-183 DAYS TO GO! Wow. I've been out of the NAVY for 6 months!

Dear family and friends,
       For everything that has happened this year it has been a surprisingly unemotional time. After looking forward to the end of my time in the Navy for so long it just didn't seem as wonderful as I had imagined. Don't get me wrong I was very happy, but with everything that has happened in the recent years it would seem that my perceptions of the outside world have been slightly dulled. Nothing major mind you, just a feeling that my emotions have been numbed a little. This is not necessarily a bad thing because I don't seem to get angry easily anymore, but on the other hand I don't get feelings of extreme joy easily anymore either. Maybe this is all a sign that as I experience more in life I am using this new information to mold my personality into something which can deal with life's events in a more efficient manner. Now that I am finished growing physically it would seem that I have just started growing emotionally. I know every year I feel like a different person then I was the year before. Hopefully a better person.
       Well another year has passed so here we go again:
       January and February found me living on the ship without heat or hot water. I continued taking CLEP tests to get as much college credit as possible while I was in the Navy and they were still free. I finally was advanced to Petty Officer Second Class (E-5) in January, but I would not get my pay raise till June 1st. At the beginning of February I found a good deal and bought a 1989 Honda Hawk. It felt good to be on two wheels again, even if it was cold.
       March and April were great because I moved into an apartment for my last few months in the Navy. Since I had much more room I started collecting beer bottles like a friend of mine was. I now have over one hundred different bottles. It is amazing how many breweries are out there. I also joined the Enterprise bowling league. I was doing pretty well until I bought a ball at K-mart. They drilled the holes wrong and I got blisters every time I played.
       On May 2nd Richard William Ince was born and I became an uncle. He is a pretty cute kid and is growing very fast. I have been watching him every Tuesday and Thursday so Sherry can go to class at CSU Stanislaus. Also in May I applied to Thomas Edison State College in NJ while I was still in the Navy, which guaranteed me in-state tuition for one year. That should be more than long enough to finish my degree.
Mom, me at the Kennedy Space Center
       With June came the end of my service in the Navy. After I finished all the paperwork on my last day and they told me that I could go, it took awhile to sink in. Once it did though I started walking as fast as I could off the ship making sure that everyone I passed knew that I would never be returning. The next day I met Susan, Kathy, and gang in Washington D.C. They had missed their plane, but luckily there was a brewpub nearby to help me pass the time. I had been to D.C. many times before, but we still saw some things that were new to me. We visited the White House, U.S. Treasury, FBI Building, and Smithsonian Museum of Art. After D.C. I drove to Orlando to pick up my Mom and meet Mary, Dave and Tom for a few days of fun as tourists. After that came the family reunion and it was great to see everyone again. The whole vacation could not have been better timed with me getting out of the Navy at the same time.
       When the family reunion ended in July I began my cross country journey home. I made a few stops along the way including the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL; Albuquerque, NM; and Kingman, AZ. At the end of July I rode my bike to Laguna Seca where I camped for three days. I went there to see the World Superbike races and they were awesome. I even got to ride one lap around the track at a very sedate pace unfortunately.
       In August I replaced the leaf springs and shocks in my car which fixed the problems that plagued me on my drive from the East Coast. Before that though, I borrowed my Dad's car, picked up Jeremy at the Sacramento airport and went to Oregon. We stayed for a few days and had a great time. Also in August I rode my bike down to San Luis Obispo to meet a friend who I have not seen since he got out of the Navy a year and a half ago.
       September came and I decided to go to Yosemite and hike to the top of Half Dome. I thought I was in good shape and it was only an 8.6 mile hike one way, but that is with an elevation change of 4000 feet. When I made it to the top both of my thighs and calves cramped for thirty minutes and all I could do was just lie there paralyzed, wishing I would die so the pain would stop. I survived though and was able to look around at the incredible view. It's probably good to find your limits every once in awhile. Next time I think I will get in shape with some easier hikes before I go for the big one.
       The Graduate Requirement Exam was in October. I did great on the Math and Logic sections, but only average on the English portion. November came and went without much notice.
       Now we are finally at the last month of the year December. I turned 24 on the 5th and the whole family went to dinner together at St. Stan's, a brewpub in Modesto. My final for my Chemistry class was on the 11th. When I get my grades I'll send them to Thomas Edison State College in NJ and that should be the last class I need to get my B.S. in Nuclear Engineering Technology. Right now I am planning on taking Physics classes at CSU Stanislaus in the spring. Then I would like to start work towards my masters in Physics in the summer at UT Austin or Texas A&M.
       Well that's it. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Until later.
       Love,
       Bill Chirrick

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