Yamato Reunion 2009, Chapter 9, Dinner/Dance · 9/3/2011

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Yamato Reunion 2009

Chapter 9


 The Dinner/Dance….is always filled with tremendous joy, as our three-day celebration comes to an end. Warriors also experience bittersweet feelings, as they "once again" say good-bye to their Yamato family. We all know that it will be two years before the next reunion, and hope for some mini-reunions in the interim. The lights dim, as Warriors step onto the dance floor for the last dance. This emotional moment reminds us that some of us (for various reasons) will not make it to the next reunion.  However, we had this moment….BOY did we have this moment!  

The evening started off with speeches, acknowledgements, the presentation of raffle gifts, and a “moment of silence” in remembrance of our “fallen” Warriors.  Kay Dawson’68, presented everyone with origami balls, which were made with the help of her mother-in-law…age 98. Kay expressed how Yamato Warriors feel about their reunions, when she said, “All of us that come once, want to come again!” I asked Steve Waechter 73, “Are you having a good time?” Steve answered, “Oh yes, I always have a good time….it’s hard not to smile!”  Mike Skidmore ’69 announced that he brought four books (for sale) filled with Tachikawa weekly newspapers. (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)  He also offered a DVD for $12.00. Wally Maroney ’73, made all of us laugh when he announced that the DJ did not come through for the reunion. Wally apologized assuring us that we would "still" have dance music in another form.  Feeling bad he added,  “I hope you like it….otherwise I will start drinking now!”  Warriors didn't complain....as long as there was music, and we could dance....we were happy!

Warriors travel from across the United States and overseas to attend our Yamato reunions. Contrary to the “rank conscious” military, it didn’t matter what rank your father was, where you were from, or what nationality you were....we were just kids were reaching out to each other in this strange faraway place, named Japan. Consequently, Yamato warriors formed strong bonds, and that bond is what draws us together all these years later. The turnout at our Yamato reunion is testament of this….

Going to our reunions, is much like stepping back in time. Believe me….some things just never change! In my case, whenever I see Buddy (Loren Collette ’63) we quickly move into the past as he continues to tease me unmercifully! This led to my Dave saying, “Vonnie….be nice to Buddy, he is alright!”  I tried to be the adult I am today, but I just could not pull it off! For instance, the night I left the Dinner/Dance with Cheryl Skipton’64 & Larry, Buddy came up behind me, took my hand and teasingly said, “Yeah….she was my girl back then!” 

When I reached my room and started getting ready for bed,  I could not remove my wedding rings….for the life of me! Still in the teenager mode, I turned to my Dave and said, “Buddy held my hand so tight when we left the dance & now my rings won’t come off ….this is his fault!” Dave obviously not impressed wth my teenage behavior said, “Vonnie don’t be so silly!”  We stopped in Reno for couple of nights, before returning home....just to rest up from the reunion!  By this time, my ring finger was sore and swollen from my numerous efforts to remove my rings. I proceeded to search the Internet looking for a ways to remove my rings, and I read that the fire department could cut my rings off with a special tool. I did not like this idea one single bit! Using another Internet suggestion, I jumped into the shower and lathered my fingers with hair conditioner.  Then....with all my might….I kept twisting my rings until they miraculously slid off my finger. I was so happy, and my Dave was even happier to finally get his “adult” wife back again!  

If you don’t believe that Yamato reunions are fun….just look at the smiling faces on the video above….which says it better than any words could express. Oh yes, where do I begin, where do I start, to tell the story of how great a love can be…  

Where do I begin

Andy Williams

Where do I begin

To tell the story of how great a love can be

The sweet love story that is older than the sea

The simple truth about the love she brings to me

Where do I start

With her first hello

She gave new meaning to this empty world of mine

There'll never be another love, another time

She came into my life and made the living fine

She fills my heart

She fills my heart with very special things

With angels' songs , with wild imaginings

She fills my soul with so much love

That everywhere I go I'm never lonely

With you my love, who could be lonely

I reach for her hand-it's always there

How long does it last

Can love be measured by the hours in a day

I have no answers now but this much I can say

I know I'll need her till the stars all burn away

And she'll be there

Vonnie (Hoops-Vizcarra) Beattie 

Class of 1960 

Yamato High School 

Air Force Japan Dependents School

Yamato Air Station, Japan

 " Welcome toVonnie’s World”

"My Yamato High School Website"





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