You Got One Home you Have Never Been there One Day Many Years from Now You will Understand fiction by Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved. 

 

 

The DC-10-10 taxied past a United Airlines DC-8-70s. Stephen while being a geek had a romantic side. The DC- 8-70 was a weird hybrid its engines 80s creation its airframe predating the 747. It was an attempt to dull the bite of 767 and 757. To some extent it had been successful. The DC-10-10 was now about to face its own run into the history book. Stephen King was acutely aware that the era of trans pacific flight his formative years were a part of was now in its twilight. An Air New Zealand 747-400 at the Tom Bradley terminal was the Guard to be changed. A new Camera snapped two pictures. The camera would be a tool in Ace’s hand. History must be preserved.

The DC- 10-10 made a 180 a corrugated steel sign black paint background red paint letters “Turbo jet aircraft no turns till after the coast” The three engines were rated at 40,000 lbs. 75% of the length of 24L and 96% of the thrust would be used to propel the airplane into the sky and the upper atmosphere. There were already some non stops emerging LAX to Sydney. LAX to Auckland was also emerging as a non stop flight. Honolulu was now fading into history. The person becoming Ace knew it. The departure into sunset was spectacular as the airplane climbed above a wind shift line and the large DC 10 soon found itself being pushed to Honolulu by the trades.

The airplane landed on 4R into a lazy sleep dark late night. What had been busy Ace noted from the time had made the journey summer 1985 was now isolated. The once nearly filled vast expanse of gates was now far more sparsely populated. There was an America West 747-200 once owned by KLM once that Stephen had ridden on. Stephen King did not know it.  The airplane Stephen saw both times had held in its belly the remains of his his Latvian grandmother.  There was a DC-8-60 Hawaiian airlines a DC-10-30 from American airlines and DC-8-70 from United. Stephen noted the feel of Hawaiian music lonely. The American Airlines staff was polite but the tiredness was showing. The waning of an era was visible. In a display window to a closed gift shop a model was displayed of the 747-400. The -400 of the 747 and the A340 along the A330 were rendering HNL into a secondary role which it would remain in for decades to come. Stephen photographed the Hawaiian airlines DC-8 its original JT-3Ds a mark from when his parents had honeymooned on the island the airplane was a true anachronism when the planes that replaced it were beginning to be retired. He went into the gate lounge for his trip to Sydney. A Germany family, an Australian family and Americans rounded out. The Hawaiian music played. For all those in the Gate lounge Honolulu was just a spot a way station a dot in the middle of wide Pacific.  Remember the conscience of Ace told him.  Remember it will be your duty to preserve this scene it is no different than what Arlo Guthrie wrote and song about in the song "City of New Orleans"  

The difference between DC-10-10 and DC 10-30 were subtle an extra landing gear leg and minor differences in engine cowlings. The engine thrust was 14,000lbs more per engine. For the vast majority gathered in the gate lounge was insignificant. They were tired they were feelingly lonely they were with a couple hundred other people on a lonely pacific island 2,500 miles down 5,000 miles yet to go. Anna Vencoussins would eventually grow up and be a flight attendant. Stephen had his running’s shoes on to fight off the discomfort. It was time to board the DC-10-30 for the 11 hour flight to Sydney.

As the DC-10-30 made its way to 8R it passed by a lonely C-141 on the ramp at Hickam the departure down the 12,0000 foot runway was closer to full thrust with some fuel dumped leaving a silver streak in the black sky.  On a magic carpet of aluminum through time zones going through vast amount of space across continents and seasons.  

It was an ironic twist of fate that had Stephen King on Fokker F.28 Sydney to Canberra. A Fokker F.28 was the last plane his grandmother had been on before her ashes were spread in the Baltic sea off Gotland island. The house where Stephen would live and train for the next season was jokingly referred to as the Latvian embassy. For this journey Stephen would never again ride in a Fokker Fellowship or Boeing 727.  In little more than 24 hours a run would start a house in suburb of Canberra jokingly referred to as Latvian embassy would start.   

The weather pattern was familiar a blast of warm wet air from sub tropical to tropical body of water running over the top of an artic air mass. Or in this case Antarctic air mass. The clouds were bringing a light drizzle. A pair of warm up pants a sweat jacket with a Unicorn T-shirt 1990 and a pair of Air 180s Stephen was a yank on vacation.

Stephen King had always been caught between two different worlds. His father had been born a displaced person ethnically Latvian in the Wurzburg DP camp. His mother and her familia nortenos perched up in the far northern frontier of New Spain above the Rio Grande. The land that became south Texas was a tough bleak existence. Stephen’s mother had escaped and gotten out as all around Agua Dulce Alice and to a less extent Corpus aspired to do so. The Movie Hud starring Paul Newman captured the bleakness of vast swaths of Texas. Now once again in Australia was he being reminded of his Latvian roots.

Stephen had quipped that visits to Canberra showed you can travel 8,000 miles and wind up in the mirror image of where you left behind. The Terrain the climate of Canberra was literally a mirror image of the area around Kerrville and Fredericksburg which was very close to Unicorn land for Stephen King. The catch of a mirror image was….well this was July not January Stephen’s body found itself on a long distance run in winter where 72 hours previous it had done the same distance in the heat of a Texas summer.

The Terrain was challenging forcing Stephen King to continue to develop some finer touches on his technique. The run began down hill Kapunda right on Namajira which was like coming down Laurel Lane to Encino in a January day. Stephen and his uncle had walked it the run was 3.1 miles. Stephen King knew but kept encountering you can travel 8,000 miles and in some ways this was just like the section of Encino. He followed the sidewalk in front of the road. Namajira was a long wide arc around the neighborhood of Fisher. Along this road the heat slowly built up internally. The concrete surface was wet. The drizzle was coming down on Stephens face. In its own way it was fun aside from the shock. There was still the mild euphoria or running in rain. It was subdued with the temperature being with 20 degrees of freezing. The fun thing Stephen thought was the blend as he approached the path that went by the Waramanga Playing fields. The path looked like some things Stephen remembered from Germany and Sweden. Stephen was heading to make a right. Like the Texas Hill country. Stephen checked his form incessantly working the technique of cresting a hill maintain power to proper speed after cresting the hill. Amanda Cook had shared it with the team. Stephens long lanky legs were not largely muscled but the power they held was stunning. He could loaf at a good clip like the firebird his mother had hitting over drive. The form drilled by Coach Bob Hansen was clear. Stephen knew how to get his body to get it. The rain kept coming down yet as he looked up he saw the hills and the gray spaces or officially green spaces of Canberra. Queensland portrayed itself as tropical paradise Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales surrounding it had its own beauty rugged, wild, still with open spaces. They were in their own rugged wild way beautiful. The path crossed under Badmira street. Then it was Kalgooririe Cres to Kapunda Street a nice long loop. To add some distance the diversion was made on Andamooka street. Finally the explosive burst to the sidewalk of the house where he was staying. He had a short warm down than he headed for a shower.

What Stephen King did not realize his mother Dr King was seriously considering an offer that she would eventually take. Stephen was not going to run the next season as a Unicorn. What had happened 13 miles East North East of Leakey Texas was having an impact. Stephen when he had surrendered to Christ had in effect enlisted and God had precisely the basic training Center he wanted Stephen King to attend. That Basic Training was Denton the city the classroom and chow hall time Denton Bible Church.

Dinner consisted of a couple fish fillets and spinach with onions along with potatoes. It was more history that day. Ivars his uncle was telling him how his great uncle was held by the Nazis in Auschwitz for replacing the swastika with the Latvian flag. The tragic irony was Stephen’s uncle who was telling the story had worn the uniform of Latvian legion.

The next day in an exhibit hall of the Australian war memorial Stephens Uncle would pat lovingly with memory a Nazi 38mm anti tank gun. The recollection for Stephen’s Uncle was clear firing at Soviet tanks going into Riga. There were other stories. They were reminders of what Stephen had faces a couple years ago. The stories in total were a lesson Stephen King was ignoring. New Braunfels Texas was not a home. In fact the families’ tie to where Stephen had spent most of his time growing up was really shallow.

The runs would occur five days a week. On one weekend Stephen and his Uncle went down to Tathra for a fishing trip into the Tasman Sea. Stephen’s family heritage was profound. What his two aunts and Uncle or himself did not know was within 2 months Latvia would be a free and independent nation again. The common ground of Martinez and the Americanized King was a passion of the outdoors. The World War 2 vet spread to his nephew the son of a Vietnam vet a heritage. His older sister had confronted Stephen King with the bleak reality that civilization was a thin veil she had seen punctured. The three older people had spent near 10 years on the brink starvation on the brink of death at bomb, bullet and shell. As Stephen King loved midnight oil one conversation shocked him. Midnight Oil had a hit about the Wittenoon disaster entitled Blue Sky Mine. In a random decision his uncle had been made as an allied POW emigrating to Australia had saved him from the Wittenoon mine. He instead had become a lumber jack an later a fisherman.

The day came one last run and than 30 hours of flying. Upon arrival at SAT Stephen King was told by Dr King….she had a new job assistant superintendent at Denton. They would house hunt the following day in Denton. Stephen King was instantly angry he had always dreamed of being a Unicorn….being a Unicorn had been driven into him from first through sixth and than it always was the focus through freshman year. Now he was being ripped.

In military basic training the first phase is the strip of identity. Stephen King’s parents had met in Denton which meant Ace had far more connection to Denton than he did in New Braunfels. Stephen had connected himself with New Braunfels. The cross-country letterman who was now sophomore was to be another loud mouth a stupid sophomore. Denton Ryan campus had 3 grades 10,11,12.th. The letter was never earned and Unicorn lore meant nothing.

Denton coming into the school year of 1991 was under going radical intense change. The once college down detached from the DFW metro area was now attached as Lewisville the once rural faming community was now an extension of the metro area only a thin layer of horse ranches separated Denton from Lewisville in addition to a lake. Dallas was a place of music, shopping and concerts. Commuting to Dallas was now as common as commuting from New Braunfels to San Antonio. Denton would be far more overt in drug use. The reality was Denton had less drug use.

The ACLU had scouted the Halftime show of the Denton band. A Christian song with the form of a cross…lawsuit time! The selection of Latina assistant superintendent offered more controversy. The replacement of an open campus for seniors with a closed campus for all coupled with weak principle would generate a special host of issues that Stephen King would face.

What Dr King did to her son was a textbook how not to handle breaking news to dyspraxic son. The shock was at a lousy time Stephen could not react or voice opposition. What was to follow would lay waste to what Stephen King had built his life up. If Dr King had noticed it would also challenged her world view.

 

 

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