Out of Options

Hey, Dad,

Please don’t show this to Mom. If she asks, you didn’t get an e-mail from me. You know what she’s like and I’ll never hear the end of it.

I appreciate your both wanted me to have a vacation to someplace I’d like and where I could relax, and I am trying, I really am. I’ve visited museums and I saw Arlington Cemetery and tomorrow I’m going to go look at the World War II and Korea memorials and depending on how my leg feels, the Vietnam Wall. I also visited the Navy Yard, and I did make calls to the Academy and the War College in Newport, and I visited both our Senators and our Rep. Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can get in touch with Pete Congreve at Pax River and find out how things stand with the brass there, if there’s someone who’ll listen.

I know what you said. I know what the doctors at Bethesda and in Ann Arbor have all said. I realize that I don’t HAVE to have my commission and active duty status to work for the Navy in some capacity. But if I want to fly, I need them back. If I can’t have them back, I can’t fly, and if I can’t fly, I won’t be in flight test operations. I have thought this through and I am prefectly rational. The entire point of all the operations was so I could live a normal life, wasn’t it? All that therapy and PT and everything is supposed to let me be normal, right? Well, normal is flying. Normal is creating the best planes and the best pilots and going higher and faster and farther. If I can’t do that I’m not normal and they didn’t fix anything. I would understand if they’d cut my leg off (and after how my hip felt walking around Arlington I almost cut it off myself) or if I were in a wheelchair or I’d lost an eye, but they’ll let me drive a car. My anthropometrics are the same. I can still see, hear, think, react but they won’t let me do it in a plane. If I get more no’s I’m ready to ask the Russians or the Chinese if they’re less picky. (I know, I know. Don’t work for Russians or Baba Helena will never speak to me again.)

Don’t tell me I’m supposed to relax. I can’t relax when people tell me to relax.

I suppose I should write to Mom, too. I’ll do it later. There’s a sushi place up the street from the hotel I want to try. Remind me to tell her, though, stay out of my closet. And my dress blues aren’t missing, I have them here.

Love,
Elaine

PS-If you’re only doing tourist things, it’s not odd to see the same person on more than one day in different places, right?

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