Family Photographs and their Stories: Steve’s Locker in Thailand

Steve’s locker while stationed at… U-Tapao Air Force Base, Thailand. That tag hanging on it intrigues me… sure wish I knew what was written on it. There must have been something on the trunk to designate where it was to be delivered to when he left Thailand… but my mind doesn’t remember now, as what was on there when it arrived home.

While there are many things inside I recognize, like the Buddha on the bottom, his cassette tapes (which he says aren’t his, possibly his friend Chuck’s), his hippie- suede belt, duffle bag, and fringed denim bell bottoms… I probably took the hem out of his pants and fringed them, as that was the style in the 70’s. There is a photo of a man and woman on the lower shelf, but I can’t see it clearly enough and I don’t have this photo in my collection. While I think it must be us, I also think it could be of his parents… but where is my photo… did I not think to send one with him? (We still have that Buddha… so far no claims are on it, so hoping one of the grandchildren will take a liking to it)

His foot locker sits on top… it had carried his possessions there. I can’t imagine traveling with all “my” stuff in just a foot locker and maybe a duffle bag! When Steve left New Haven for boot camp, (CT) on that cold day in January of 1968, he had only left with that very footlocker! It traveled with him first to San Antonio, Texas (boot camp), Warner Robins, GA., McCoy AFB (Orlando, Fla.), Okinawa, Loring AFB in Limestone, Maine… with the final travel to Thailand, and later Vietnam, en-route home.  I also see boxes of envelopes on the bottom, so his wax stamp and wax must be nearby… he always sealed his letters with the wax stamp.

In asking Steve what he sees… “It’s hard to make out things as I can’t enlarge as much as I need to, but where’s all my clothes?” In looking at another photo, I see that locker had drawers on the bottom that weren’t showing in this photo)

His trunk didn’t seem to make its way home right away… it actually took me writing a letter to Connecticut Congressman Giamo to get his foot locker home. I didn’t understand the hold up, but after writing him… it was delivered within a week.

The first thing hubby looked for in his trunk was the gold chain he’d bought me. He left Thailand earlier than expected, so he didn’t travel home with his trunk. After buying the chain, he’d put it in an envelope and stuffed inside his foot locker for safekeeping. In as he didn’t leave with it, he knew they’d go through it before sending it back to the states… hoping that it would arrive safely… and either they missed it… or someone with a conscience left it in the envelope… but it was still in that envelope. I wore that gold necklace until the night my son was born (1976)… he took it off me and put it on himself… and I never got it back!

That trunk went through many changes over the years. We first used it for storage, then later I painted it blue and my son used it for toy storage. Today, it sits in our cellar… once again holding “stuff”, and still painted blue. If it could only talk!

My husband, Steve, is probably writing a letter to me in this photograph. I can see his open locker behind the bed… and there are drawers below… so guess that’s where his clothes were hiding. He’s wearing his black peace sign on a chain instead of the usual dog tags, so I asked him where his dog tags were… “probably hanging in my locker.” Steve’s wearing his silk “papa son” pants that were popular there; they had no zippers or buttons… very wide at the waist, and you tied the sides in the front. He came home with a few pairs… but they eventually wore out. I searched and searched, and finally found someone over there in the Air Force, in Thailand… and he knew exactly what I was searching for… and even offered to buy them at the local market and ship via through his shipping account to me.


Want to see more Family Photographs… and their stories, click HERE

To read Family Stories… click HERE.
© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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