My brother and I used to play on these rocks, looking for crabs and little fish but where the water is now, lapping up by those trees, it used to be white beach! We were absolutely stunned! I did find a hermit crab crawling among the seaweed on the beach, just like I used to.
We climbed back up the hill and we marveled at the size of the trees in the backyard. I had spent so much of my time in Puerto Rico up in those trees!
We walked all around the house, peering in windows. When we got to my old room, dad was able to swing the window open so I climbed in and unlocked the door for dad. We walked all around the house, remembering and reliving our time there.
After a while we continued driving. We drove all through officer's housing trying to remember where some friends used to live but couldn't. We saw the CO and XO's houses (boy did they have a sweet deal!) and stopped by the Officer's Beach. We passed by some guys mowing but just acted like we were supposed to be there and no one said anything. We explored the middle/high school. I found my 4th grade classroom (Mrs. Wilson), the art room, the library. Termites had gotten in and eaten away at cabinetry. They had 6 uniterrupted years of feasting!
We then went to the "new" housing, following Patty's directions of going past the pool (where I took Red Cross swimming lessons). After driving all around, wondering at all the families who had lived in these houses (more than 500 units!) we decided to move on. We drove past the bowling alley (don't remember it), the NEX and commissary stores (dad said they were new) and we came to the marina. I remember my mom had sewn some cushions and curtains for a couple who lived aboard. After pulling out of the parking lot, I got pulled over by security! The reason? I didn't come to a complete stop! For crying out loud, there was NO ONE on the base!!!!! We must have seen 5 cars the entire time we were there! After apologizing, dad asked him a few questions about the base. We found out there was ONE person stationed there, the Officer In Charge (OIC). Everyone else was civilian. He told us that most of the base was closed off and not accessible. We were allowed to go down the road to two beaches and visit the marina and the "ball field" (overgrown field of weeds). We didn't tell him we had already visited the housing area! Sometimes it's easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission!
We did drive down and see the beaches (I even went for a dip), passing the land fill (which I remember going to to dump stuff). We finally saw all there was to see. We never did find the old pier we remember swimming at or the old abandoned housing I remembered visiting. But that was about all we didn't see. (Well, we also didn't get to see the airfield or the hangers where dad used to work as that was part of the PR side.) Leaving RR we visited El Yunque which I also remembered. It was amazing to see the rainforest again. We went for a nice hike to see La Mina falls and saw La Coca falls (which were the ones I remembered). I took lots of pictures to show the kids. It was an absolutely amazing day. I'm so glad dad and I got to relive that period in our lives. We had a great time remembering and telling stories.