WELCOME TO THE UK

By Misty Corrales

When I was 15, I flew to England to join my parents who were already there. My dad was stationed at RAF Greenham Common.

You know those little immigration cards you have to fill out? It asked why I was coming to England and I said I was moving there. (Well…I *was*!)

It was my first international flight, and I was doing it unchaperoned — Dad had moved in August, my mom had gone over in March, and this was June. My parents didn’t want me moving in the middle of a school year when they knew I was going to be going to a boarding school–so they had sent me to live with my grandparents that year. I moved to England after my Freshman year.

 

So, they had arranged for Braniff to provide me an escort through immigration as this was an international flight and I was 15. The *ONE* time I had flown alone and these damned airlines didn’t try to chaperone me! (I’d flown a few times alone after the age of 12 and they were always trying to chaperone me off the flight. International, you’re supposed to have a chaperone until the age of 16, domestic is 12). So anyway, I ask about the chaperone, and these idiots say that I’m too old. I’m not inclined to argue. I know this nonsense — and yes, it is my first passport stamp, but seriously, how hard should it be to follow the terminal?

 

This was just the start of a very horrible airport experience — to the point that I will return to England but I will *NEVER SET FOOT* at Heathrow Airport again. PERIOD.

 

So, I get up to the counter and hand over my yellow card and my passport and my military orders. The lady looks at me, tells me to take a seat (and points), then she takes ALL of my papers and leaves.

 

The area completely empties of everyone on my flight. She does not return.

 

Another flight comes through and is processed. I am still there.

 

I consider stowing away on the next flight to the US, but I know I don’t have a flipping passport.

 

They decided I was a runaway trying to come to England from the States. (yeah…. because the USAF is in the practice of issuing orders to runaways. These were *MY* orders…specifically in my name.) I have told them that my parents are meeting me — so they are paging my parents up in the immigration area.

 

Meanwhile, down in baggage claim, my dad has already loaded my suitcases in the car, my mother is going absolutely bat shit, they’ve called my grandparents and confirmed that I got on the plane (though my grandparents would have had plenty of time to let my parents know long before my flight arrived.)

 

Finally, some random guy pops his head through a door near me and says “Are you Melissa Grinstead?” I said I was. He disappears — no explanation.

 

About 10 minutes later, my parents and the immigration witch return with my papers.

 

They won’t let me in on MY orders alone. Fortunately, my mother had brought her passport with her to the airport, or my dad would have had to drive the two hours back to the house, get her passport, and then drive back to Heathrow before they’d have let me out.

 

My passport stamp reflects that I arrived in England in March…. despite my June arrival, because they stamped it to match my mom’s.

(And yeah, this incident was reported to the base….so that future families would know to contact immigration at arrival to let them know they had a minor dependent arriving and they needed to meet them there — and they knew to bring their passport with them.)

 


Operation Footlocker Memories: Bill Sunday


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Happy Easter from MAMF!

Nancy Bunker Bowen

Maj. Wesley R. Bunker, 1727th Support Sqdn, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and his daughters on base chapel steps, Easter 1953.

 


Special Exhibit to Open on April 7th

For Immediate Release:

Additional Information: Claire Lissance (Tel) 450-1357 cdlune@aol.com

“FATIGUES TO FLAGS” Transformational Papermaking by Six Female Veterans

Special Exhibit to Open on April 7th

Turning combat fatigue uniforms into handmade paper and then into individualized prayer flags is a unique art form going on display April 7th in the OffCenter Gallery in downtown Albuquerque. The flags are the culmination of work of six female military veterans working under the guidance of Claire Lissance, with additional support from the New Mexico Arts, Santa Fe Community College, and the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF).

Lissance, a professional artist who has garnered her inspiration through the National Combat Paper Project, said “While this program has found great success around the country, this is the first of its kind offered to New Mexico veterans.” She said it’s cathartic because it enables participants to manipulate material representing a stressful time and turning it into something beautiful. “Some of the veterans in this class want to continue, so we are working on plans for additional workshops!” She has spent more than eleven years working with veterans within a number of creative realms.

Robert Allen, Executive Director of OffCenter, and Lissance say that visitors to the opening of the exhibit will be able to chat with the veteran-artists about the papermaking process and their resulting artwork. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors with a background in art education and counseling, Lissance is sensitive to the “restorative qualities of the arts.”

Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Founder and Executive Director of MAMF, will also be on hand to tell about the only museum of its kind in the country and its learning center.

The April 7th opening from 6-8pm is part of “Artscrawl” and is free to the public. OffCenter is located at 808 Park Avenue SW just off 8th and Central Avenue near Robinson Park and Hotel Blue. The exhibit will run till May 2nd. OffCenter is open Tuesday through Saturday. For additional information and hours: (505) 247-1172 or www.offcenterarts.org.

The Museum of the American Military Family is at 546C State Highway 333 – Old Route 66 – in Tijeras, about seven miles east of Tramway. Tel: (505) 504-6830. www.militaryfamilymuseum.org.

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Special Exhibit to Open on April 7th

For Immediate Release:

Additional Information: Claire Lissance (Tel) 450-1357 cdlune@aol.com

“FATIGUES TO FLAGS” Transformational Papermaking by Six Female Veterans

Special Exhibit to Open on April 7th

Turning combat fatigue uniforms into handmade paper and then into individualized prayer flags is a unique art form going on display April 7th in the OffCenter Gallery in downtown Albuquerque. The flags are the culmination of work of six female military veterans working under the guidance of Claire Lissance, with additional support from the New Mexico Arts, Santa Fe Community College, and the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF).

Lissance, a professional artist who has garnered her inspiration through the National Combat Paper Project, said “While this program has found great success around the country, this is the first of its kind offered to New Mexico veterans.” She said it’s cathartic because it enables participants to manipulate material representing a stressful time and turning it into something beautiful. “Some of the veterans in this class want to continue, so we are working on plans for additional workshops!” She has spent more than eleven years working with veterans within a number of creative realms.

Robert Allen, Executive Director of OffCenter, and Lissance say that visitors to the opening of the exhibit will be able to chat with the veteran-artists about the papermaking process and their resulting artwork. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors with a background in art education and counseling, Lissance is sensitive to the “restorative qualities of the arts.”

Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Founder and Executive Director of MAMF, will also be on hand to tell about the only museum of its kind in the country and its learning center.

The April 7th opening from 6-8pm is part of “Artscrawl” and is free to the public. OffCenter is located at 808 Park Avenue SW just off 8th and Central Avenue near Robinson Park and Hotel Blue. The exhibit will run till May 2nd. OffCenter is open Tuesday through Saturday. For additional information and hours: (505) 247-1172 or www.offcenterarts.org.

The Museum of the American Military Family is at 546C State Highway 333 – Old Route 66 – in Tijeras, about seven miles east of Tramway. Tel: (505) 504-6830. www.militaryfamilymuseum.org.

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