Hard to Find the Words

It's the time on my life, and those of my friends, when we are closing in on its end.  Inevitable as that day is, it always hits me hard when I lose someone.  The time came for Mary Lyslo on July 12th. 

I met her and her husband, Elling, shortly after I arrived — a highly trained, but inexperienced, electronics technician — at my first overseas duty assignment in Northern Turkey in 1962.  

It's been sixty years, so bear with me if the details seem sketchy.  

El managed our site's power grid on the remote peninsula where our operations area sat.  Our equipment  had to be operating 24/7/365 so no commercial power would do. The power to our place consisted of three large diesel generators configured with one powering our station, a second on standby, and a third undergoing routine maintenance.  

Family housing on the base was reserved for the families of officers and senior NCOs, so other married enlisted personnel who wanted their family with them had to find housing in surrounding villages.  The Lyslo's lived in an apartment two or three floors above an unpaved street with their toddler daughter, Dawn.  They kinda adopted me and my two roommates, Vic and Steve— three single guys, two in their late teens and me at twenty.  

To me Mary became an older sister — one with a biting wit, a warm heart, and great sense of fun!  Through the roughly year-and-a-half of my tour, their friendship sustained me.

El, a career Air Force enlisted man, became interested in the work we did and applied for a transfer into our organization as his next assignment.  This involved a great deal of electronics training in our organization's tech School at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.  

In 1964 Vic, Steve, and I rotated back to the US for a training update. By then El was well into his program.  He and Mary lived in a house off base.  On leave before heading to Denver  I had reconnected with a girl I'd dated before leaving for Turkey.  We married in a Unitarian Church in Denver.  Steve was Best Man.  Mary — pregnant with Kay, I believe — was Matron of Honor.  El gave the bride away.  Vic was the wedding photographer.

When school ended for us, El still had many months to go to complete his training.  The three of us spread to the four winds for our next assignments.

American Gothic - Lyslo Style

Though the ensuing years, I visited the Lysol's four times I think.  In spite of the time between visits. I always felt close to them both.  

I'll miss her. 

Namaste, Tom