Author: Ingrid Foster

And Into the Fire…

And Into the Fire…

Braniff Airways (now defunct) flew us from Philadelphia to San Antonio, Texas. It was an interesting flight. I somehow managed to sit between two guys. Mind you, I had lived the majority of my life in the same house, a farm house, on an extended family farm surrounded by relatives. I had gone to the same school district my entire life, grew up with the same kids and been stuck in the same social hole, never able to quite figure out how this enigma called small-town society worked.

Then, all of a sudden, I was on a plane, surrounded by strangers and placed between two attractive guys who both wanted to talk to me. Quite frankly, it was weird. And so describes most of my military life, weird. To be honest, I don’t think I ever quite understood any of it. I used to joke that when I passed my E-5 Staff Sergeant exam, any answer I didn’t know, I picked the least logical answer. Yes, I passed the test, but it was just another example of how I never “fit.”

But I digress, the plane ride. This picture gives you an idea of what the interior looked like, though when I sat in them, the seats were faded and the model was long gone. As for my flight, to my right, the window seat was taken by a mundane college-graduate, tall with dark hair and glasses. He was nice, but hid behind his shallow intellect.

I guess I found him boring, because after minutes of conversation, I turned toward the other guy, on my left, isle seat. He was cute, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, made me laugh, and in the world I just came from, I don’t think he’d have even given me a second glance. But in this world, this new world, I was the focus of his attention and quite frankly, I was scared too death.

I didn’t know how to act. I’d never been popular in school. Had always been a wall flower, the only boyfriend I’d ever had was an older man, a summer love. So, not knowing what else to do, I followed my instincts and completely enjoyed the flight down to San Antonio. Later I would find out that my new friend was just as nervous as I was, surprise! But, yes, he was a good kisser.

So, we arrived in San Antonio and that wonderful plane ride was over. The next thing I knew we were all unloaded and somehow managed to claim our baggage. Don’t ask me how, that part is a blur, but what I do remember was suddenly finding myself in this big room, low ceiling, and it was jammed full of strangers, not only the kids from my plane but a zillion others. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but it sure felt that way.

Oh, and there was a bus ride in there somewhere, I think between the airplane and baggage claim. I only remember the bus ride because I spoke to a girl about my age who had just enlisted into the Marines. She looked tough, but in those days few women entered the Marine Corp. I remember thinking, why on earth would she want to be a Marine? But I think my Marine Corp readers could respond to that better than I can.

Just a side note, on the test that everyone takes before they enlist, the ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery), my scores were high. I had chosen the Air Force because my older brother had enlisted years before and he seemed to enjoy it. The only other branch I had considered was the Navy, but decided against because I wasn’t strong swimmer. Interesting, how we make our choices in life.

Anyway, back to the sardine-can-like dark room with its fluorescent glare. The nervous energy of all those people was palatable. It seemed to hang in the air like mist surrounding the lights or maybe that was the humidity. San Antonio in July is hot and humid, but I got news for all you Texans, it’s got nothing on southeastern Pennsylvania where the humidity levels usually stay in the high 90 percentile.

As I stood there, just as nervous if not more than most of the people around me, I took comfort in the presence of my new friend, let’s call him Cherry Hill, to protect his anonymity. He was nice and made me smile, but all too soon, that was yanked out from under me as people in uniform seemed to explode into the crowded room taking charge and reminding us in not so polite terms why we were there.

The next thing I knew names were called and we were all separated into buses, more buses, old, school buses painted blue. The sky was dark on the way to the base. It was like being dump into a new world, very foreign with it’s wide open space, palms and sage bushes.

I found this link online, yep, pretty accurate, though we arrived at night… Arrival at Lackland Air Force Base.

Thanks for reading and more to come…

My New Adventure Begins…

My New Adventure Begins…

Better known as, what the hell was I thinking??

As I lay there on my bed, that first night, in an open room full of other women, I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking. But one thing’s for certain, I was more concerned about survival than deep, introspective thought.

As the sound of sniffles reached my ears and I realized someone a few beds over was crying, my first thought was that she was going to be eaten alive. I don’t know how I knew, but somehow I did, that crying was not an option, not here, not in this foreign place.

Every instinct inside me was set on one thing and one thing alone, making it through the next six weeks. I knew that if I could do that, I could face anything the Air Force had to throw at me. I just had to get through basic training and believe me, that was harder than you think.

From the moment we arrived, the Military Training Instructors (MTIs) or TIs as we called them, were using that loud, authoritative voice. You know the one, it’s the one your parents use on you when you’ve done something really bad. But this yelling was continuous and repetitive and the very last thing you wanted was for that person, male or female it didn’t matter, to focus in on you.

Aside from the uniforms, this could have been the room I lived in for 6 weeks, and, yes, I promise you, my bed really did look that good.
A typical dorm room and yes, my bed really did look that good.

We had two TIs, one male and one female. She was tall with platinum hair and her heels clicked when she walked. I still cringed at the sound those heels make within my head.

But I also remember her fondly, because about midway through, when she could have booted me out, she pulled me aside and our little chat, not more than a few words, made all the difference. As for the other TI, he was a total and absolute egotistic jerk, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re still on that first night.

Aside from the urgency of getting ready for bed as quickly as we possibly could, what I think left the biggest impression on me that night was what would become a nightly occurrence, “Taps,” being played over the loud speaker. That was the signal that it was time for lights out and we better be in our beds or there was hell to pay. Maslow had nothing over the Air Force, the first notes of “Taps,” both instilled fear as well as commanded us to sleep, no salivating necessary.

The other immediate and lasting impression came the next morning at 5 AM, “Reveille.” Imagine that insistent bugle playing full blast over the speaker above your bed. To this day, that damn tune brings back the urgency to get moving and the humid smell of early mornings at Lackland. Bottom line, by the time that song was done, you had to have gotten dressed and downstairs into formation. If you were lucky, you might even have a few seconds to relieve yourself first, but being late for formation was bad, really bad.

And that brings to mind the dreaded AETC Form 341, we had to carry three of them at all times with our name, squadron number and flight number already printed out. Getting one pulled by anyone in authority either caused immediate, unrelenting fear or absolute elation. “Three-forty-ones,” as we called them were the forms used for either positive or negative recognition.  And the worst part, as soon as you got back to dorm, you had to tell your TI what happened. It was sort of like telling Mom and Dad what you did wrong and making sure you told them before the mean lady next door paid them a visit.

I’d gotten at least one three-forty-one pulled for an infraction, but for the longest time I kept a copy of the only one I ever had pulled for praise of performance. Silly, huh?

This is the type of building I stayed in during basic training. It’s a squadron building. Each squadron is made up of flights and each flight had their own dorm. My squadron was the 3700th, but I forget our flight number.

Each flight, or group of trainees, consisted of four squads. The level of authority within the flight consisted of a Flight Leader and then each squad had their own Squad Leader. If we had twenty-eight girls in our flight, each squad consisted of seven girls. Confused yet?

This will be important later, especially when it comes to marching in formation. Marching is something that I repeatedly had trouble with the first three weeks, but not for the reason you think. 🙂

Okay, enough for today. I hope you’re enjoying my visit down memory lane, I know I am.

Poetry – I Found You Again Today

Poetry – I Found You Again Today

I found you again today

What’s it been, thirty years?

You still look great, same great

Smile, same clear blue eyes,

You haven’t aged at all,

You were with your family

Just like I left you, lying

There, inside that wooden box,

The big one in the basement,

I was cleaning up a bit, good

Thing to do every thirty

Years or so, has it been that

Long? Seems like just yesterday

When I said goodbye, surrounding

You with mothballs, you were

Wearing your favorite shirt, blue

Like your eyes, your wife so lovely

And perfect in her dress, and

The twins, what were their names?

No matter, we had fun, all those

Summer days and nights, there

On the floor of my bedroom,

Oh, look at the spot, there on her

Dress, it was red, wasn’t it, and

Now it’s faded rusty pink,

But you, you still have that look

On your face, you were so surprised,

Yes, you never thought I’d do it,

You thought you had a good thing

That we were forever, the five

Of us, but I grew up and got

Wise and so, you all went away,

Packed inside this wooden box

Surrounded by mothballs in

The corner of my basement.

Word of the Day – Bereavement

Word of the Day – Bereavement

Everyone will experience loss at some point in life. However, there is a difference between grief and bereavement. Grief describes the response to any type of loss. Bereavement is grief that involves the death of a loved one.
Chance Encounters, Birthday Dates, Fascinating Dreams, and Realizations…

Chance Encounters, Birthday Dates, Fascinating Dreams, and Realizations…

First things first, to the gentleman whose name I never caught last night in the noise, thank you for being such wonderful company, a great conversationalist, and for helping me stumble through new territory as we tried (and succeeded!) in finding my car in Downtown Tucson – and just before closing time – 10 pm.

Last night, was a first for me in more ways than a few – I took myself out on a first date the week of my birthday and the first since the love of my youngish life (I turn 61 this week) died on January 10th, 2023. Also the realization that I have been remiss in not including more about Les on this blog. There are entries (years worth) on Facebook but not here – I will need to remedy that but not in one blog post. No, the most important man, husband, and love I have ever known deserves much more than that.

Back to last night, to be noted, I have never visited the heart of Tucson and certainly not on my own at night – last night was a first. I love jazz – something Les and I shared to an extent but I think he loved me more than the music.  So there had been wine bars celebrating jazz in the early days of our marriage but never an all out celebration of the music itself.

Last night I took myself to the Century Room at Hotel Congress to enjoy the music of The Adam Larson Quartet – great presentation, amazing sound, and captivating performance – and I can honestly say, I am hooked – I will be back! The staff at the Century Room were welcoming and fun but the gentleman I first met and got to spend a memorable evening with really made the event so much nicer. Cheers, my friend 🙂

Following dinner, I had made a reservation at Maynards – sadly, they had run out of Sea Bass so I had to substitute for a sort of hamburger and fries – the burger was good but honestly, not great  –  but I was having too much fun to worry about it. I was chatting away about my first love – writing and more directly, my stories.

Until last night, I had forgotten how much I loved talking about writing and how much it has been focus of my life in brilliant and enlightening ways – and how blessed I am to have the gift of words!

Ah, but there is another part of this narrative I need to mention – a dream, the last before I awoke this morning – it really was a nice change – and one I wish I remembered more of. What it unveiled for me was a need to focus on the things I find fascinating – books, chance encounters with fabulous bookstores, and people in my life to share that love with.

In the dream I was surrounded by family, yes, and new friends – with strange dogs…but hey, I’m a  writer so there has to be something strange in my dream, right? LOL

Anyway, I digress – what I found more than anything was that my trip to downtown opened my mind to a world I never knew existed (largely in part to a wonderful tour guide) and a desire to learn more about that world. And, to be noted, I have been wanting to go back to college, and what better way than to find myself immersed in heart of Tucson.

Date Night with Ingrid Foster – celebrating my impending birthday and having fun!


PTSD – Having a Happier Holiday

PTSD – Having a Happier Holiday

Good morning and Merry Christmas!! It occurred to me this morning that sharing a bit of how the trauma brain works might be helpful, especially for families gathering together during the Christmas holiday.
So here goes .. As a trauma survivor I remember every traumatic event in my life with equal clarity (and even more so) than most any positive event. For instance, I remember the acute feelings of abandonment when my mother left me and her car at a sitter’s when I was four with more clarity than the movie Les and I watched last night.
No reason to feel sad for me, it’s just the way the trauma brain works. And, it’s not just traumatic events. It’s like every major event in my life has been recorded as an easily retrieved 8 mm video. So, if your Great Aunt Cecilia seems preoccupied with something awful that happened to her when she was six, remember, to her that event is as clear and detailed as if it happened yesterday.
I hope that helps you and yours make the most of your time together. Cheers to making new and happier memories! …oh, and we watched three movies last night – the Christmas Rom about the German Shepherd was the best 😃
What is PTSD?

What is PTSD?

PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

From MayoClinic.Org:


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.

From my perspective:

The worst part of experiencing an event so traumatic is that it literally impacts and changes your entire life from the moment of that event. Everything after that is determined by how much that trauma has changed you. For a child still in development, trauma changes everything, how you grow emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, and even how you relate to everyone in your life and everyone thereafter and the worst part, you have no idea how someone without trauma is supposed to act, think, or be.

One of the first things I said to my therapist was that having been a toddler, I know have no idea who I was before or who I was going to be, before. And if your life is faced with more than one trauma, every traumatic event changes you even more. My first trauma – toddler, my second trauma -3, my third trauma – 5, and so on until I was well into adulthood.

How common is PTSD?

Well, how common is abuse? How common is child abandonment? How common is rape? If you think about, everyone who has gone through these personal traumas not to mention war and murder, all of these are capable of causing trauma to the psyche of the victim.

What are the symptoms or signs of PTSD?

From MayoClinic.Org:


Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

My Best Friend

My Best Friend

aka This Shit Just Got Real

Maybe I should add a warning, Graphic Language, some nudity (just kidding, maybe) and this is my reality so be prepared.

My Best Friend, Lover, Confident, and truly the only person in the world who knows my demons, my scars, my skeletons all hanging in a closet in chronological order, and hasn’t run away screaming. Okay, maybe a little bit of a screaming but as he’s gotten older he’s more of a sitter than a runner.

But, anyway, he has severe Bronchiectasis (it’s a lung disease that prevents bronchial tubes distorted by infection to return to their normal size/condition when the infection is healed.) And because of this, he is more prone to infection and his lung capacity has been greatly reduced over time. There is no cure.


Coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Three years –

It was was three years ago that I realized I had PTSD and that it occurred my first night of my first duty assignment while in the Air Force. Later, I would realized that that was the beginning of my adult PTSD but that I’d been living with my childhood PTSD for far longer. My first traumatic childhood event – when I was toddler.

I’m 60 years old and I realized I had PTSD three years ago, why am I posting this now?

Because this past year has been a time of significant change and healing for me and I want to share all of this with the hope that it will help someone else. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through and this is the most pragmatic way I can think of to help.

The Downside

The Downside

Hello old friend, you called me today

And disturbed the grave of a memory once buried

Do I thank or curse you for the walk

Down memory lane, you in your self-obsessed

Fantasy world sought me out and forced me to join you

Amongst the boxes and filing cabinets layered in dust

And pushed aside, within the busy confines of my mind,

Did it never occur to you that I may be happy, that I

Had moved on since you? No, apparently not, you’ve

Made choices that stagnated your life but I, no,

My life is a river, the current at times slow and constant,

But more often swift and harried like a white crested rapid,

And now, thirty years later you come back into my life…


Ah, the downside of social media.