I didn’t want to leave either. The best times a kid could ever dream of could be had on Okinawa. We also lived south of Kadena near the beach. Our “house” was nothing more than a flat-top concrete box with shudders that covered the windows during the Typhoons.
I would move back there in a minute and live as a native, but far too many grandkids and family here to relocate.
I think the cave you are thinking of was called Gokosenna or something like that? Like you said, it been a long time. I never got into that one. Guess it was huge and went on for miles underground.
We’d see the Habu when exploring and they weren’t afraid to chase you. You’re lucky you didn’t get bitten.
Thanks for allowing me to re-live the best part of my youth.
We lived in one of those flat top concrete boxes too, but it had four bedrooms and central air. First time in my life I'd ever lived in a house that nice.
Our house was in the Army officer's housing area we called, "Plaza". All of the big military honchos lived up there. It was at the top of a small mountain. There was a spot at the Officer's Club where you could see the East China Sea and the Pacific in the same field of view. I absolutely loved living there.
There was one string of houses at one end of that neighborhood where the top brass of the island lived. Mostly, we kids knew better than to venture in there, but one day, my brothers and I just couldn't resist exploring the palatial grounds of the commanding General's place.
We thought we were being as stealthy as Special Forces troops in a jungle, but as we were creeping through the woods behind the big house, an old gent sitting on the patio stood up and said, "Hey! You boys! Get over here!"
We were well conditioned to obey authoritative adults, so we all came out and trudged across the big yard to the patio. There this old guy stood, with arms akimbo, looking at us with a hardened scowl. It was the commanding General himself. OMG!
We all stood there with our heads hanging down, and he asked with a booming voice, "Where do you boys live?" Being the eldest, I looked up and said, "We live right down the street, Sir." He asked for my dad's name and rank, and I gave it to him, thinking, "Oh no - we're gonna get our dad in trouble."
He paused, then let a crinkly smile form on his lips. He then said, "Have a seat, boys. Want some lemonade?" You probably could have floated a balloon with our collective relief. We sat and talked with the General for what seemed like a really long time. When we were done, he told us we had his special permission to come play in his yard anytime we wanted, but that we were to keep it "top secret."
Wish I could remember his name. I ought to ask my dad. I'm sure he'd remember it. Matter of fact, I need to tell him the story. I don't think I ever did.