Round Trip
Features

Round Trip

By Josey Morris

She was on a shuttle in Sun City, Ariz., leaving from her grandma’s house on her way to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Then someone stepped into her life that would change her perspective on her childhood forever. 

Mrs. Lorie Crouch, now a Delta math teacher, was in her early 20’s when she was coming home from her teaching job in South Phoenix, Ariz., back to see her parents in Indiana. 

There were two other passengers on this shuttle with her, an older man and woman. They sparked up a conversation.

It was then when Crouch realized her father’s death wasn’t in vain.

During their conversation, Crouch found out that the man worked for the Luke Air Force Base as an investigating officer. 

When Crouch was younger her father was stationed at that same base. During training her father was flying an F-15 Eagle, off the Coast of California, when he lost control. 

“He hit the canopy, and when he ejected they were over the water, and it killed him,” Crouch said.

The F-15 Eagle, according to Crouch, was the plane everyone wanted to fly. She said it was the ‘it’ plane at the time.

However, the pilots knew that there was something wrong with the way these planes ejected. Crouch said knowing the problems didn’t stop them from flying them. She said they just hoped it wasn’t their plane.

Crouch explained her father’s situation to the man on the shuttle. She said that he remembered her father’s case. 

He explained that they knew something was going on with the planes, but didn’t know how to deal with it yet.

The man said that Crouch’s father’s death was the one where they finally said we can’t lose any more pilots.

Crouch expressed that if she could change one thing about her childhood, it would be her father’s death. Her father died when Crouch was seven years old. 

“When things happen you deal with it, and not that you move on but it doesn’t get as sore or as raw,” Crouch said.

Crouch said there isn’t a way around her dad’s death, but being able to have that conversation with that man helped her realize his death wasn’t meaningless. 

“I felt like that was God’s way of saying you know it wasn’t for nothing.” Crouch said. “So I felt like that was a really encouraging endpoint.”

Crouch went through a long journey before she was able to reach this endpoint. 

That journey took her to many different places in the United States,  Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and then Japan. 

Moving constantly wasn’t always easy for Crouch, especially when it comes to friendships. 

“I feel like I’m a chameleon,” Crouch said. “I want to fit in with whoever I’m talking to.”

Crouch said she changes her authenticity to become what she believes people want her to be like. 

Since Crouch was an officer’s daughter, people from different countries didn’t treat her fairly.

“In some places we lived most people weren’t nice, and so you had to deal with people not being nice to you,” Crouch says.

And while it was hard for Crouch to make and maintain friendships, there was one group of people that never left her side: her siblings.

“Well that’s like my core,” she said, “Those are the people that I’ve known all my life.”

She has two sisters, Holly and Melissa, a half-brother, Keith, and a step-brother, Richard.

Crouch went through her entire childhood not having consistent friendships, so being able to have this bond really helped her cope.

Siblings together
Lorie Crouch (far right) poses with her siblings, Holly, Melissa and Keith. They moved every one to two years while growing up in military family. (Photo Provided)

 She often had to leave behind any relationships she had made. 

Now, after finally settling in Ind., she has been able to rekindle her relationship with her extended family and start new ones.

Crouch and her husband, Michael, have five kids: Melissa, Madison, Libby, Caitlyn and Alan. 

All of her five kids have lived in Muncie for their entire lives, unlike Crouch. 

Crouch had to leave behind any relationships or accomplishments that ever came her way.

“I really went through a period of depression,” Crouch said. “I didn’t really want to meet any new people, I was just grieving everything that we had to leave behind. “

Through her period of depression and her state of wondering why her father had died, there was one constant that was always with her: God.

“Nothing in my life was very consistent or very steady,” she said. “But He was. He is.”

 

 

 

 

 

March 21, 2024

About Author

Josey Morris

joseymorris Josey Morris is a freshman at Delta High School. She loves to read and listen to music. Her favorite book is Pride & Prejudice and her favorite artist is Brent Faiyaz. She wants to go to college at Purdue and become a pilot.


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