Fear of flying was not yet a novel by Erica Jong when
Eddie hated to fly. The thought of going up in an airplane would cause days and weeks of trembling anxiety in Eddie. Yet as a Boomer, he was living in the era of unsurpassed air-travel and speedy arrival at destinations was rapidly becoming the norm. One example: Many of LCpl. Oaks Marine Corps buddies had been shipped to
His escape from the reality of the trip was sleep. Yes, He slept for the greater majority of the hours the plane was airborne. Waking, or being awakened to eat was the only time he ventured into the reality of being suspended miles above a huge and treacherous sea. Thoughts of the plane diving into the ocean and plunging miles below the surface were constant reminders of the peril he saw himself in. The thought of the impending exposure to enemy gunfire was seen as a welcome reprieve from his current state of fear. To add fearful imagining to fearful imagining he also knew that after the plane had settled on the bottom of the ocean, the sharks would come in to the plane and shred his body, devouring his flesh while his mind was painfully aware until the shark finally gulped down his head.
Believe me I have given you but a minuscule snapshot of Eddie’s fear of being in a plane.
Despite the fact that he had arrived without mishap, and obviously had done so many times up to that point in his life, his fears remained unabated.
Eddie was wounded in both Operation Starlight and Harvest Moon, yet any fears engendered by the war never rose to the level of that of flying.
Now here he was, cradled in the webbing seat of the uncomfortable cool cave of the C130’s cargo hold. Looking out at the sunny cumulus cloud filled sky watching the beautiful billowy clouds passing in close proximity to the plane’s window. Eddie was startled by a cloud formation that resembled a person of great stature sitting on a throne. He tried to decide if the cloud sculpture was Odin, or Zeus, or may be
The voice said: Don’t come back this way again!
Eddie came home in 1965 and the war continued for another ten years. Interestingly, Eddie refused to watch any newscast or read any media concerning the war because when he did so he would be overcome with a strong to desire to go that way again.