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Story ID:9855
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family Memories
Location:Fresno CA USA
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
By Chuck Dishno
July2, 2014

This is a true story that happened to me many years ago. I hope it is not too graphic for OurEcho. If it offends anyone please accept my apologies.

I was stationed at Ft. Lee, VA when I got word that my Dad was dying of colon cancer. I had about 6 weeks to go in my hitch and I wasn’t about to re-up. I took the letterform my Mom to my CO who then took it to the Red Cross. This started the ball rolling and within a week the Army gave me a compassionate transfer to Ft. Ord, CA. With my accumulated leave, travel time and travel pay I got to spend four weeks with, Pop before reporting to Ft. Ord for discharge.

I had to report a week early so I left my wife, Marge, 4 month old daughter, Lura, in Fresno. I didn’t have much money but Marge and I knew we didn’t want any more kids for a year or two and those were days long before the birth control pill.

One evening I was at the base PX and decided to buy some condoms. The checkout counter was staffed by a cute black girl, about 18 years old. I was really shy and it took me a while to get up nerve and tell her what I wanted. When there was no one around I very nervously said I wanted to by some prophylactics. The girl, in a very loud voice said, “Prophylactics, what are prophylactics?” I quietly said you know, for sex.” She then said, “Oh you mean rubbers, why didn’t you just say rubbers?” By this time everyone in the place was watching me, or so I thought. She then asked me how many and I said, “I guess about a gross.” This really threw her and she asked how many in a gross. When I said, 144, she threw up her hands and snorted, “144, wow-ee is you going to have a good time or what?”By that time I was turning beet red. She said OK and went into the stock room. She was gone quite a while and when she returned she had 144 packs of three and dumped them on the counter. All I wanted to do was pay for my rubbers and get out as fast as I could. As I left I could hear her telling anyone who would listen all about my purchase.

The next morning, after I got my pay, I went to the commissary and bought 500 jars of baby food and as much toilet paper as I could stuff in the back seat of my VW along with other non perishable item that I knew I could never get as cheaply as I could again and headed back to Fresno.

When I got home, Marge asked me what I had bought, I said nothing much, just 500 jars of assorted baby food and 432 rubbers. She couldn’t wait to tell all her brother and sisters about my purchases and it took me a long time to live that one down. I may still be known around Fresno as the “rubber king”. For a while, many of my friends called me Goodyear.

Footnote: Pop died a week after I got back but I thank the Army for letting me have a wonderful 30 days with this fantastic man, my Pop and best friend.