With all the boxes gone, I had just the basics to see me through the final stage of our tour of Butterworth. It was imperative that my transfer be secured first before I could be released from the school in Butterworth. The plan was for him to fetch me as soon as the transfer came through. It would not have been so chaotic if he was not attending the SOS course at the same time. While it was easy for him and his “kapcai” to just hop on any aircraft that was Kuantan bound, the Sprint and I had to go all the way by land.
Except for the short stretch of the Karak Highway which was only partially completed, the rest of the journey was still along the old single lane trunk road. Thankfully though, the completed part of the Karak Highway eliminated all the treacherous loops and turns that almost threw us off a steep ravine during one of our trips back to Kuantan on our first tour of it. It was a harrowing experience. My husband was at the wheel negotiating a sharp bend when the eight months-old Datsun 120Y made a sudden roundabout turn and stopped precariously inches off a deep ravine. The poor Datsun had to take all the blame, of course, NOT the driver. The car was immediately traded in for a more familiar and trusted Peugeot 204. (Our first car was also a Peugeot 204).
I bade farewell to Butterworth with a heavy heart when my husband got my transfer approved exactly as he had planned. I loved the school, the nearness of which was such a convenience I NEVER got to experience ever again, throughout the entire span of my teaching career. I loved the quarters, the spooky old bungalow was extremely nice and cosy despite the many creaks and groans AND the hair raising ghost stories thrown in to complete the overall picture often associated with old houses. I never got to SEE any of the ghosts that were supposed to roam freely but the constant thuds and knocks had me taking refuge under the safety of a blanket the first few nights I was left alone. I soon overcame the fear dismissing them as mere fragments of my imagination.
Although I loathed the seemingly endless flying sessions , there was the other side of it which more than compensated for his frequent absence from home. He was exempted from having to be made a duty officer throughout the entire two year tenure of office in Butterworth. His busy schedule also saw us escaping the many social functions held at the Officers Mess, an obligation deemed compulsory to be fulfilled by all officers and their spouses, present at the Base at the time of the occasion. His perpetual flying also made it almost impossible for the bosses to round him up for a pep talk on his wife’s deliberate absence from the Wives Club. An absolute victory for me. But, topping the list was the gallantry medal, the Pingat Tentera Udara (PTU) that was awarded to him for both bravery and courage executed whilst on duty flying the Nuri.
There were also some heartbreaks in Butterworth, the most noteable of which was the sad dismissal from the QHI course. Read here Although he pretended indifference, I knew it was an extremely painful and embarassing episode for him, one he has learned to live with after all these years.