Top Secret Briefing!

Once again, it’s time for the Marketing for Romance Writers yearlong blog hop. For  week 45, the writing prompt is:

An Unforgettable Day in My Life



Hmmm, well the obvious most recent unforgettable day was April 20th, but I don’t want to talk about that.

Then, there are of course the highlight reel moments – births of children, the wedding, graduation from high school, college, first day on the job . . .

Hey, that might work.

OK, so it wasn’t exactly the first day on the job. After college, I got a job at the county courthouse for nine months before I got the call for THE JOB I wanted. It was THE JOB that I hoped for in acquiring my degree.

Back then it was called Defense Mapping Aerospace Center. It is currently named Geospatial Information Systems or something to that effect. I worked in a top secret environment, had a high-level security clearance, and worked inside the SCIF – secure compartmentalized information field. The government is really big on acronyms.

You thought I was just a regular goober with a blog, didn’t you?  SNORTS

By now you should know there is nothing regular about me. Anyway, when I pursued a degree in cartography – which is mapping and charting not photography, they had to know I wasn’t right. I have always had a passion for earth sciences and particularly rocks. My sisters are both nurses – I can’t stand needles. I studied rocks, they don’t bleed.

In my junior year of high school, my oldest brother came home to visit. I have never really known much about my oldest brother as he’s not lived near me for most of my life. He went away to college when I was in the fourth grade. Anyway, he came home and asked the big question: So what are your plans for after high school?

I quickly responded because I had it all mapped out. “I’m going to be a psychiatrist and an author.”

“OH, so you’re going to write psychology books? Like textbooks?”

“No, like Agatha Christie or Stephen King.”

He laughed at me.

I didn’t think it was funny.

Then he proceeded to tell me why my idea was wrong, why I couldn’t do it, and why it was a very bad idea – in his opinion.

I was angry. So very angry. I hated him with a passion that only a creative author can have. My father actually sat down with me and went over the reality of the psychology thing,  and that summer I worked with him as his assistant/gopher/ clean-up crew on job sites, and he just happened to be working at a mental institution. I have to admit,  a couple of the patients totally freaked me out. He encouraged me to pursue a career in cartography because they made really good money. TRUTH – when I retired in 1997, I was making $26.00 an hour.  Excellent wages at the time.

So back to the day that was unforgettable.  *Do the timey wimey wibbly wobbly stuff to catch up*

I was working in the Scientific Data department also known as Points.  I can’t tell you exactly what we did because it was classified. I can tell you though, that during Desert Storm our division had an integral part in the war. I had transferred out of a section within points division to the digital transfer section, which I thought was much cooler than deriving points from the stereoplotters. Keep in mind that this was before everyone and their brother had a cell phone.

Some bigwigs from Washington DC were coming to St. Louis to have tours of the digital transfers that we were doing, then attending a bomb damage assessment video presentation afterward. That morning our supervisor told us who the VIPs were going to be – Jim Baker, and Dick Cheney then secretary of state and secretary of defense. Yes, the same Dick Cheney that would be vice president!

The first thing I did was run to the bathroom to puke. Seriously,  I was about to hyperventilate.  I kept a toothbrush and toothpaste in my desk, so I  used them.

I had about a half hour to prepare, and I was shaking in my boots.  Being a professional environment, we wore business attire, which for the 90’s meant power suits, heels, make up – the whole shebang! I was wearing my lucky blue power suit.

I remember the small party of about twenty-five individuals,  mostly secret service men and military mps. There were only three times in the entire tour that I spoke directly to either Mr. Baker or Mr. Cheney, and to be honest, at the time I didn’t realize that it was either that had asked the questions.  The voices came out of the mob of people.

It wasn’t until afterward, in the bda briefing that a coworker pulled me aside and asked me how I managed to be so cool in front of them. I replied that I just figured it was one of the military men that inquired. Just then I recognized the voice of the person starting the briefing. It was Mr. Cheney.

I. About. Wet. Myself! SEriously!

I had to excuse myself to use the restroom,  then tried to slip quietly into the back to view the presentation. At the end, he mentioned his appreciation for the informative tour from the digital transfer section, naming me. Everyone turned looking at me.

It was a super embarrassing moment but at the same time a very proud moment.  Not everyone can say they got to brief a future ( it was future at the time) vice president.

So, let’s just keep this between you and me though because of the classified information, K?

Have a great one and write on my friends,  write on.

5 comments on “Top Secret Briefing!

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