September 25, 2023


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Boy do I regret time spent away from my family

Regrets? Boy do I have them. The Lovely Mary Ann and I brought forth three beautiful children and for the most part I missed them growing up and they did it so fast I forgot to be present to witness it.

I wonder if most fathers don’t have regrets as I do? It must be inane for fathers to want a good life for his wife and children and boy did I ever become afflicted with that malady.

I became a father during my long, long matriculation through Navy flight training. In fact we ended up having two daughters throughout my Navy Flying career. The Navy caused lots of absences and I walked right into another career with Northwest Airlines causing me to be absent again.

About the only plus in it all was the Lovely Mary Ann did not have to work outside the home and was home with our kidsels throughout their growing up years. I remember actually walking our oldest Cheryl down the aisle to be married and murmuring to her: “When did you grow up anyway”?

As if the airline wasn’t enough to cause absence from home, I would fly the Boeing 747 and be gone to Asia for at least two weeks at a time. And when I did arrive home my old bod was so oriented to living on the other side of the clock that I would sleep for two days just to right my internal clock back to where it should be.

While we were in Asia we sort of made Tokyo our base and we would fly all over to Asian countries. We even flew back to the United States once in a great while, but then it was back over to Tokyo again and that usually took at least 12 hours and going to the other side of the clock. For all practical purposes when it was 6 a.m. in Tokyo and in Aberdeen it was 6 p.m. the day before. After living that way for so long, it was thrilling to cross the date line on the way back and go back to central time from Asia time, and the day before.

Those two weeks were enduring for sure. You get so lonesome for the need to talk to Americans that when we were flying from Tokyo to Chicago we would be elated to talk to folks who were manning the radio station as we passed over Shemia Island. This was the furthest place on the Aleutian Range and the radio site was manned by Americans.

Without cell phones or laptops, phone calls from Asia were prohibitive back then. Phone calls from the USA to Asia were reasonable but for some strange reason calls from Asia were way out of our means.

We would also fly a cargo 747 to Anchorage, Alaska, and, while I had the chance to talk to the Lovely Mary Ann, it was quite a chore.

The phone service had really not been perfected yet, so when we quit talking we had to say “over” and then the other one could begin talking. Otherwise we would block each other out. Weird, huh?

I could go on forever about international flying but will save that for another day.

Nuff said.

This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Krueger column Boy do I regret time spent away from my family

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