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January 06, 2009

A Yellow Star For Self-Pity

The email dropped into my Inbox a few days ago.

The subject line made me laugh: "We're all victims and we're all getting ponies". The link inside, to the usual whiny, self-indulgent drivel I've come to expect from Obama supporters in the military, grated on my last nerve:

I never expected it to be so damn windy in Texas. I expected it to be still, dry and hot—something like Arizona, maybe. Of course, nothing is really what I expected it to be when I married Caynan.

I never expected to feel so lonely, so isolated, so out-of-place and out of sorts all the time, always in that in-between place of neither here nor there, neither this nor that. As an Army wife (excuse me, Army "spouse"), you are no longer a civilian but you are not a soldier either.

I don't know what military life was like before 9/11, but I can tell you what it is like now: and it isn't quirky and whacky and "just like civilian life but different."

Casualties of War

My ex-husband called me the other day and asked me what a "Blue Star wife" was. I explained that it was a wife whose husband was serving in combat.

Then I asked him if he knew what a Gold Star Wife was. Of course he didn't.

"That's a wife whose husband has died in combat."

"Wow," he replied, "that's, uh, kind of sick, isn't it?"

I laughed. I knew what he meant. The "gold star" comes across as a quasi-cultural "WAY TO GO!" for the surviving family member (as the term technically applies to the entire family). And let us not forget the "silver star" for the family of a servicemember wounded in a war!

There is no star for a lifetime of sacrificing one's own career and/or educational aspirations to support a servicemember. In times of peace, as well as war, the military demands that family comes second to the military. ("Army needs come first!") The household moves are frequent (every two to three years). The inability of the servicemember-parent to participate in parenting brings tremendous challenges to working in an era where two-income households are the norm for maintaining a decent standard of living. The lack of family, friends, and community makes loneliness an expectation, not just a fear.

What color star should a spouse get for years of living like this?

These designations are all "unofficial" of course. Everything pertaining to the familial appendages known as the spouse and children of the servicemember is unofficial.

As for Army spouses (like myself), we exist in this in-between world. We are no longer civilians yet we are not "soldiers" either. We are expected to live the military life without being seen, heard, prepared, paid, or recognized for our service. We are called "the silent ranks" but really, we are invisible too. The "new" Army likes to say it "recruits the soldier but retains the family" but the reality of "if the Army wanted you to have a family it would have issued you one" remains.

This is, without a doubt, the biggest load of horse hockey I've ever heard in my life. Though I'm not an Army wife (my husband is a career Marine officer) I've known several career Army officers, enlisted men and staff NCOs. I was raised in a Navy family. And my nearly fifty years of military life offers me a breadth of experience I doubt Ms. Picard can bring to her writing. I watched my mother cope with my father's deployment to Vietnam and listened to endless stories from my mother in law about my father in law's two tours in the brown water Navy during that same war.

I've read letters he wrote to my husband when he was just a boy from halfway around the world. He's dead now. He died during the 1980s. Died very young. Colon cancer. There was talk of Agent Orange. Some people wanted my mother in law to join in a class action suit against the government, as if that would bring him back; as if it would change the outcome. She wouldn't do it.

He would have rolled over in his grave.

Ms. Picard goes on (and on... and on.... and on at great length) about her suffering and misery as the wife of a Blackhawk pilot. To fully experience the mind-numbing horror of living on officer's pay, augmented by pilot's pay, augmented yet again by the many extra allowances paid to dependents whose servicemember deploys to a combat zone compounded by the unbelievable horror of an adult female forced to stand on her own two feet and care for two unaborted lumps of post-fetal tissue without [gasp!] her husband's assistance, you'll just have to steel yourself to read the heart shattering narrative for yourself.

Aw shucks. Here's a teaser for you. First comes the horror of the inconsiderate spouse who would prefer not to think of death and dismemberment in the few remaining hours before leaving for a war zone. Men can be such unfeeling jerks sometimes. Always thinking of themselves:

You cannot be a military wife without knowing how to compartmentalize your emotions. Sometimes those feelings, or those tears, sneak up on you, but you learn how to reign them in. The faster you learn how to do it, the better off you are. But other times, when you find you can't feel anything at all, you wonder: where does compartmentalization end and disassociation begin?

A few days later, we spent the day in our ghetto pool (three by fifteen feet of "fun in the sun" courtesy of Super WalMart) with Caynan. Caynan is holding me when I ask what he wants done with his remains if something happens to him… and since I went there, does he have a preference regarding particular personal items going to either boy? Caynan lets go of me as looks at me as if these are unreasonable questions.

"Why do you insist on talking about these things?" he asks. "You know how I feel about this."

I do know. He doesn't like to have these conversations. But who does? Tired of being the villain I point out the reality of situation, "You're right, it won't matter to you by then, when you think about it," I say.

I am not meaning to be cruel, but factual. Without a word, Caynan gets out of the "pool" (I use this term loosely) to get another beer. This conversation is over in his mind. Easy for him: he won't be the one stuck making these decisions if something happens when he deploys.

Next comes the torture of forced CNN watching. Because as we all know, when your Significant Other leaves he always takes the "off" button and channel changer from the remote control with him, leaving you unable to select non-stressful viewing materials during his absence:

In June, the parade of terribles begins. News from the front: soldiers being electrocuted in the showers, self-inflicted gunshot wounds, 10-year-old suicide bombers, sexual assaults on female soldiers.

But what really rankles, what hurts the most, is that if you stay inside your house; if you refuse to get involved in the command Family Readiness Group (and every command has one); if you decide you can't be bothered to reach out to your alcoholic neighbor who needs help, or your other neighbor who you think is addicted to Percocet, or to anyone else on base; if you are convinced that everyone around you is floundering and yet you are so mired in your own little world that it never even occurs to you to join one of the many groups out there who are actively involved in making things better for military spouses instead of sitting at home whining about feeling unappreciated and left out, you absolutely will end up feeling miserable, helpless, and very much alone:

... Army spouses (like myself), we exist in this in-between world. We are no longer civilians yet we are not "soldiers" either. We are expected to live the military life without being seen, heard, prepared, paid, or recognized for our service. We are called "the silent ranks" but really, we are invisible too. The "new" Army likes to say it "recruits the soldier but retains the family" but the reality of "if the Army wanted you to have a family it would have issued you one" remains.

We are outsiders living inside an institution that doesn't want to see or hear us. Civilians and law-makers lack interest in our experiences with the military as well as with the wars--yet our experiences with these are second only to those of the servicemember. There aren't any star-studded galas for our service and sacrifice or public service announcements and national dialogues about how war affects us (and/or our children).

Veterans' rights advocates talk to the "signature" wounds of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Both are "invisible". Both are hard to diagnose. Both fundamentally alter the servicemember in ways that are complex and confusing--to the afflicted and the non-afflicted alike.

Also unseen, however, are the injuries of those who love the servicemember, whose own changes, traumas, afflictions frequently go unidentified and untreated as well. We call our returning warriors with invisible injuries the "walking wounded"; I include military spouses and children in that definition.

You don't have to wear a uniform to be wounded by these wars—but no one outside of those of us impacted seem to know this.

I am not sure how the Obama campaign finds and attracts these people, but they all seem to have one thing in common: they are all desperately unhappy; not one has anything positive to say about military life, and they all seem to think the world revolves around them. Contrary to Ms. Picard's fevered imaginings, the military and the Army do recognize the contributions of military spouses all the time. But strangely enough they seem to have this odd expection that one actually contribute something to others before one is recognized.

Just staying at home and whining about your "ghetto pool", or going about your daily life in the same manner as every other person on the planet is nothing special. People don't get awards for taking care of themselves or their own children. We don't get ponies for being adults. Sorry, but there it is. Grow up, Ms. Picard.

During my husband's 27 years in the Marine Corps, I have lived through three one year deployments and numerous shorter separations. It never once occurred to me that I should receive an award for doing this. Many other wives have had it far worse than I. Many civilians spouses endure more frequent and longer separations. Divorcees have to raise their children alone. How do they manage?

This was my choice: if I didn't want to do it, I could always have left my husband. If Ms. Picard finds the downside of military life outweighs her apparently meager resources; if the wind in Texas is just to "windy" for her and the pool is just too "ghetto", perhaps she ought to pack it in.

Or she can pick herself up by the bootstraps, stop whining, and join the community of military wives who daily volunteer to help those worse off than they are. Work at a homeless or animal shelter. Volunteer at a home for battered women. Help someone to learn to read. Adopt a fatherless, motherless or abused child on the weekends. Why doesn't Ms. Picard try helping some of those wounded warriors she was nattering on about, like this recently bereaved Gold Star mother did?

She's being outclassed by a bunch of kids. Doesn't that make her even the least bit ashamed of herself?

If she wants to feel better, she ought to stop thinking about herself and try thinking of others for once in her life. As a pilot's wife she already gets a generous paycheck. Now she is earning all sorts of extra allowances while her husband is overseas. Why not donate some of that extra pay to the less fortunate? After all, she is an Obama supporter: such generosity ought to be consistent with her stated values even if few progressives do more than give lip service to those lofty ideals.

Above all, for God's sake, stop whining lady. You have much to be thankful for. The question is, what are you doing to help others?


Posted by Cassandra at January 6, 2009 08:24 AM

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Comments

Thank you for saying the things I'd have been too embarrassed to (but would want to) say. I'd have empathized with her husband over a beer (except he's an officer and I was enlisted) because apparently, she's not just whiney and self-centered in public, but when they're alone too:

"Easy for him: he won't be the one stuck making these decisions if something happens when he deploys."

Ya know what? Shut the hell up woman. He's leaving for a combat zone and you want to talk about life insurance (or at a minimum, burial arrangements)? I don't use this term lightly. She's a bitch. Actually, I take that back. My female dog was MUCH better mannered than that.

Posted by: MikeD at January 6, 2009 11:14 AM

KtLW *started* a Family Support Group, rather than waiting around for the "official" one to get off the ground and wend its cumbersome way to the hinterlands. There were sixty members in it by the time the "Family Readiness Group" arrived -- five years later.

Heh.

About 20 years ago, she asked me what "burial arrangements" I wanted. I told her to stuff me in a plastic trash bag with a copy of my DD 214 and drop me off at the nearest vet cemetery.

She never raised the subject again.

Posted by: BillT at January 6, 2009 11:30 AM

It's going to be a long four years with these folks perceived as representative of us.
Damnit.

Deployments suck, especially to a combat zone. I know embrace the suck is overused but c'mon..
she's not even trying. She's rolling in her misery and celebrating it.

She needs to pull her head out of her a$$ and her thumb out of her mouth.

Posted by: Carrie at January 6, 2009 11:45 AM

Oh and this little gem had me rolling..

"My sons will never join the military. Not even the Air Force."

Posted by: Carrie at January 6, 2009 11:54 AM

This is what worries me about Michelle Obama taking "military families" as her signature issue while in the White House. The woman who sniffed at a $600 rebate check as being maybe enough for a pair of earrings (when her audience would have thought about finally getting a set of tires for the high-mileage vehicle in the carport) will find helpers like our under-employed whiny lawyer who doesn't wear a wedding ring in her picture for the article. She will begin to sow dissent and dissatisfaction and why-me-ness, and degrade the entire military by undermining it at home.

Little Carissa says "The lack of family, friends, and community makes loneliness an expectation, not just a fear." Well, in my long experience living overseas you will never find such a tightly-knit community as those with whom you are living a shared experience, the life of the expat, or the life of the military. If you can't find friends there, you'll never find them anywhere. Carissa prefers to laugh behind her current husband's back with her previous husband, to blooming where she is planted. But you just can't teach that, can you?

Posted by: MathMom at January 6, 2009 12:04 PM

What MathMom said

You know, I have been in I can't tell you how many commands and these women are always the ones who refuse to take part in the command sponsored events, who refuse to volunteer for anything, who (during the two decades when there was NO command sponsored support and I took it on myself to make sure there were monthly activities for the wives and make sure there was always a phone tree in case someone was sick or needed help) never participated and sniffed that they had 'nothing in common' with the other wives. And that's fine. Crap - I had nothing in common with the other wives at lots of duty stations except that our husbands were all Marines. That's something in common! Often, the other wives were years younger than I and our backgrounds were totally dissimilar. Try stretching your mental wings a bit, lady. It does you good to get to know people from a different background. Broadens your horizons.

One of the first wives I made friends with as a junior wife grew up dirt poor. Her Dad used to beat her (we're talking real child abuse here, not spanking). He broke bones.

She and I cleaned quarters together. We were the only officers' wives on the base approved list. I learned a lot from her. She was a hard worker. Good mother, too. She didn't let her upbringing warp her sense of values. You look at someone like that who had nothing to be thankful for and then someone like this Picard woman and you just shake your head.

I remember an old saying from the 60s: "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem".

This woman is a warrant officer's wife or an officer's wife (same thing) and she can't be bothered to walk out her front door and get involved. From where I sit, she's part of the problem. How many enlisted wives younger than her need help that she (as an older wife) could be providing?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2009 12:30 PM

Not being a military spouse, I have no real 'understanding' of what's at stake here. But still, I'm going to take a stab at it, as I've lived around military people (mostly Air Force) most of my life.

Why does a man (or woman) enlist in the military, anyways? There's lots of cool rationalizations, because noboby wants to admit that deep down, there are profound reasons a man or woman wants to serve.
"to place your life between your home, and the war's desolation"

It can get pretty desolate out there. The unfortunate thing is, that the "spouse" of such a person frequently does not share the aspiration to a civic virtue that makes the military member join in the first place.
I see that a lot now, this lack of any civic virtue. It doesn't mean joining the military, or being a cop or fireman (who all also have the civic virtue of supporting society). It means taking your responsibilities as a citizen a little bit to heart. I see examples all the time of all kinds of people that HAVE civic virtue of some degree (it was a BIG deal in my house as a child, it just wasn't called that), but this lady seems to have never smelt it even in her wildest dreams.
Even in the Air Force.
Our neighbors, when I was a little kid, were an Air Force family; the dad was a Lt. Colonel. Somewhere along the line, his wife committed suicide (after we moved away). As a kid, I could never figure it out (nobody wanted to explain it), but she was an alcoholic, and went through periods of deep depression. Alcoholism seemed more prevalent in the Air Force in those days (maybe drug abuse has taken over now, who knows?), as a father of a girl I once knew (a retired AF General) was also an alcoholic.

But this chick is definently not a joiner, or any kind of person who wants to serve anyone but herself. I think that's a good fit with Michelle Obama. Most of the service people I know can tell the difference without a score card.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 6, 2009 01:29 PM

She's an idiot. But then, she is having her own culture war. I have seen a fair few of them in the Army...and unfortunately when you get one of them who is married to the CO your life is hell.

No joke: My first FRG meeting, the BC's wife was sitting there, and telling us how put upon she was when Gulf War I was going on. Some guy had died, and *she* had to sit with the
deceased for a short while...and she *shared* with us her insights of how selfish and stupid this man was because not only had he ruined the lives of his family, but hers as well because there were other things she would rather be doing.

I don't think he died in combat; I think it was a traffic accident or something...but YE GODS where do these women come from?

I really really really didn't want to be a part of her FRG group AT ALL. Top's wife didn't want it either, but SOMEONE had to.

Backstabbing, whiny, selfish little **** is Little Carissa.

I leave it to your imaginations, dear company.

I chose to love and follow a soldier. My mother and I used to irritate my sisters with calling each other camp followers. That was our private joke and it left them out.

But while there are *some* things I wish I could change, his military career and the fun we had as a family in participating is not anything I would ever get rid of.

Like his platoon sergeant borrowing the Captain's Yacht to get to work in after he totaled his. Or the day he showed up with bubbles for the kids.

The nights I sat up talking to spouses whose husbands were deployed, or in training...

I would not change it at all.

Posted by: Cricket at January 6, 2009 02:13 PM

Cricket,
I totally agree. I wouldn't trade the last 23 years for anything. I made such good friends, learned that I could do more than I ever thought, found out that I was stronger than I believed and have had the most incredible (in the best sense of the word) life.
Yes,there were hard times. If it weren't for the hard, I wouldn't have appreciated the good times.

"Bitter or better" as some very wise friends have said. You choose the vowel. You choose the life.

Posted by: Carrie at January 6, 2009 03:33 PM

I agree. One of the best times we had as a family at Lewis was during the winter storms of '96. The Mothership (aka Darth Van Vader because of the gas tank noise Econolines make)
was damaged because we didn't have Equal Opportunity parking (covered), so the Yacht was the mode of transport on the icy back roads of the base.

Engineer Bluff became a favorite sledding spot for those housing areas near it. It was a treat to see officers of the field and one of the general class sledding and playing with their children and grandchildren and having snowball fights with anyone and everyone.

Or the times when we took stuff to those fighting fires..

Posted by: Cricket at January 6, 2009 04:25 PM


She's an attorney who is an activist. Don't read the comments; they will either make you cheer or turn your stomach.

She is in a 'ghetto pool' and talking about her current husband with her ex. I guess this means that the attorney-client privelege would pretty much be shot to snot.

I do not find her credible, honest or sincere.

Posted by: Cricket at January 6, 2009 04:32 PM

It is interesting, how much difference attitude makes in how we cope with whatever life hands out to us.

Over the years I have listened to people (both active duty servicemembers and dependents) complain, both in a good natured and not so good natured way, about duty stations. And I have always thought that the duty stations that have been the most memorable, and that I looked back upon the most fondly, were always the "hardship" tours: Camp Lejeune, 29 Stumps, etc.

The ones everyone wants to go to: Annapolis, DC, etc, have been the ones I was least fond of. Sure, there is lots of shopping and there are cultural attractions and restaurants and great rentals and housing. But because of those things, you never bond with the military community.

In the less attractive duty stations like 29 Stumps, we were thrown on our own resources and had to make our own fun because there really wasn't much in the community. And it turns out that this was what made the tour special and memorable: the friends we made. We had so much fun in the 3 years I was in 29. The things we did... it was wild. I have more stories about that tour than several others combined.

Sometimes, it is the tours where tragedy strikes that end up touching your heart, because tragedy also brings out the very best in people. It draws them together in a way that good times never do.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2009 04:41 PM

I found the ghetto pool thing funny :p

When my kids were little we had one of those blow-up pools from the drugstore too.

On Fridays, I used to clean it out and fill it with water and invite all the Mommies in the neighborhood down for frozen dacquiries. We kicked the kids out of the pool and told them it was "Mommy Time!"

They giggled like mad - they thought it was hilarious to see their Moms in the kiddie pool drinking frozen drinks. I gave the kids something to do and we got halfway snockered and whooped it up.

It wasn't ghetto. It was fun :) Years later we were at some picnic event and the wives were kind of stiff so I kicked all the kids out of the bouncy tent for 20 minutes and handed them cameras and told all the wives to get inside and start jumping.

It really broke the ice. After that, they weren't awkward around the Colonel's wife anymore. We were just women, and we had fun in our socks. And the kids ate it up - they gave us a bunch of stuff from outside of the tent and we talked trash to them from inside.

Kids love to see grown-ups acting like kids. I think it is good for them sometimes to see up let our hair down. And sometimes we need to do that, too.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2009 04:47 PM

"Sometimes, it is the tours where tragedy strikes that end up touching your heart, because tragedy also brings out the very best in people. It draws them together in a way that good times never do."

I have found that to be the case too. The empathy that a Marine wife feels for another who's dealing with the most awful loss brings out a fierce, protective, supportive spirit. That's a good thing.
God bless the wives who step up and help out vice run away and hide as if dealing with a KIA is a contagious thing.
Perspective. It's what's for dinner.

Posted by: Carrie at January 6, 2009 05:09 PM

"Years later we were at some picnic event and the wives were kind of stiff so I kicked all the kids out of the bouncy tent for 20 minutes and handed them cameras and told all the wives to get inside and start jumping."

Did that at KJita's birthday party once.

The husbands certainly had a good time. I think with wives did too.

Posted by: KJ at January 6, 2009 05:10 PM

Soooooooo.... bad :p

There were no men around this time, KJ. Though when the Marines got back to take the tent down, the kids ratted us out to the Lance Corporal, who gave yours truly a very amused look. I think they enjoyed "telling on us", too.

Kids are a hoot.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2009 05:15 PM

As a commander, I *loved* the wives like that. Who isolate themselves and then complain about the isolation.

Who look down on everyone (and can't be bothered to help anyone) and wonder why no one likes them.

Heh. And somehow, because I'm the commander, I'm supposed to shit a unicorn that will fart rainbows.

Good luck, Mr. Obama.

She has trouble seeing the big picture because she's surrounded by mirrors. It's all about her.

Don't whine about the lemons. Make some lemonade. That will do more for you and those around you than moaning and bitching about your life.

This woman dishonors my mother. Oh hell, she does not. My mother ran a lemonade stand.

Argghhh!

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 6, 2009 05:21 PM

I wouldn't trade my Army brat status for anything, and if I were ever lucky enough to find a soldier of my own, I'd be proud to be a military spouse...

My last 2 years of high school were spent in Augsburg, Germany. We moved every 3 or 4 years throughout Daddy's career... Anyhow, my best friend - to this day - was the daughter of a LTC, and my dad was a senior NCO. We were always at each other's house - our apartment in Sullivan Heights, or their quarters in Fryar Circle (and later the house they rented "on the economy"). Both our dads worked at the Field Station. Apparently, they would sometimes have a cup of coffee together and talk about their silly teenaged daughters. Both are dads are long retired from the Army, but I send her parents a Christmas card every year, and they were recently in the area for his job a couple of months ago, so I drove up for a short visit.

Also, my best friend from when I was a kid - also in Augsburg - was the same kind of thing - we were inseparable (although her dad was AF enlisted, and we lived across the playground from one another). She and I have lost touch in more recent years, but again, I have kept in touch with her parents (they're down the road in SA). My parents got there Christmas card, and I found out she's now in Austin with her new husband. I emailed her dad so I could get in touch. We're going to get together for lunch or something and catch up... If it weren't for my dad's job in the Army, I'd have never met either of these two girls...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 6, 2009 05:45 PM

If he's in a combat zone, isn't his pay tax free -no Federal Income Tax? And Texas has no state income tax, as I recall.

Move on up to Minnesota, honey, and watch that take-home envelope shrink.

.

Posted by: Joe Doakes at January 6, 2009 05:47 PM

Oh, God! What horrible, whiny, nasty bitch! I feel sorry for her husband... and anybody else hoping she'll be like anything else.

Posted by: FbL at January 6, 2009 05:52 PM

I'm not sure what this says about me, but I never thought of a Gold Star parent/spouse in the same context of "gold star" as reward for doing something well... weird that my brain has never gone there...

Posted by: FbL at January 6, 2009 05:53 PM

I'll just reiterate what I said to some friends earlier about this article.

Yes, deployments suck - for the servicemember AND for the spouse. Yes, each has their own challenges/traumas/disappointments/heartbreaks/etc. Yes, deployments change both the servicemember and the spouse. Yes, for the most part, the military is not concerned with the spouse other than to do their best to make sure the spouse does not become a detraction during the deployment or during retention issues (if we pay them enough, the soldier's family will choose to stick around).

But you know what? My father worked for an international construction firm that did a LOT of business (still does) in the Middle East. My father spend large quantities of time (months on end) in the Middle East. Without us. Granted, no one was shooting at him and he didn't witness many of the atrocities that our servicemembers witness now. But the separation was there as was some of the danger (this was post-fall of the Shah Iran). And there really wasn't much in the way of family support. No FRG, no ASYMCA, no ACS, no Family Life Consultants, no respite care at the CDC, no Blue Star Card getting you all sorts of discounts and special deals to local attractions. And if something went wrong - which it did, my mom didn't have the boss' phone number. She just had to take care of it.

My grandafther served in the SeaBees during WWII. He was in the South Pacific for almost 2 years without ever going home. During that time, my grandmother received 3 telegrams - 2 to let her know that he was ok after being slightly wounded and one to let her know he was coming home. The last one reached her AFTER he got home. I've NEVER heard her complain. EVER. Not about the SeaBees, the Navy, life without my grandfather, burying a parent while he was gone, raising 2 children, dealing with a house fire...none of it. She never once has said anything other than how proud she was of him and how wonderful it was to have him home.

In the civilian world, a spouse only has the support network that he/she creates. I don't know of too many other organizations that have established as much in the way of family support as the US military. And yes, much of it is aimed at keeping families satisfied so that they don't make a fuss and so that the servicemember decides to stay with the military as long as possible. But it's THERE. My mother used to tell me never to look a gift-horse in the mouth.

The claim that the military doesn't want to or doesn't choose to listen to military spouses is bullshit. I know of no other employer that gives as much ear time to the spouses of their employees as the DoD does. None. IBM, the auto industry, the grocery store, the bank...NONE of these places give a rodent's posterior about what the spouses of their employees think. The DoD has all SORTS of avenues for us to speak out - committees, hotlines, focus groups, support groups, interactive surveys, therapists, and - if none of those should work - Congresscritters. Hell, there were some 3,000 of us on the freaking South Lawn of the White House a few months ago! While that may not have been the time nor the place for issues to be brought to the table, it certainly WAS the time to make contacts and establish networks for future purposes.

You just have to LOOK.

Yes, there are days where I HATE the Army. There are days when I want to say 'screw this' and have MacGyver turn his back on the Army in 2010 when his commitment is up. There are days when I just want to run back to my hometown, get a job, and forget I was ever a military spouse. But those days, thankfully, are few and far between. I think this is a valid discussion - military life is definitely not skittles and rainbows. But it's also not as bleak as she makes it out to be. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Bitter or better - pick a vowel.


Sorry for the novel. I need another drink.

Posted by: Sly's Wardrobe Mistress at January 6, 2009 08:10 PM

I say we all meet at John's mother's lemonade stand and have some fun. I will be the designated swimmer to get the spouses who are too snookered to doggie paddle back to the house.

John, you mean those aren't rainbows on yer blog?

Posted by: Cricket at January 6, 2009 08:24 PM

I don't have the perspective of a military spouse, but I do have the perspective of a military child. Growing up, only when my dad was assigned to San Antonio, when I was about 4 to 7 or 8 years old did we ever not live in base housing. In Germany, they had the schools with top-notch teachers, the DYA for youth sports and activities, I was in Girl Scouts, and I got to see and do things I'd never had been able to do if not for my dad being in the Army and being sent to Germany. Yeah, there were some hard times (I remember the time my dad was in the field, and we ran out of checks, so my mom had to pinch pennies at the commissary to keep us feed - this was WAY before the advent of ATMs all over the place. Granted my dad was never sent to a combat zone, but he did have to go play Army sometimes, going out in the field, he did several REFORGERs, going TDY. But, my parents made the most of it: They took me and my older brother to Holland (I was too young to remember going), we went all over Germany - even to Berlin, pre-Nov. 1989, to Austria, and they helped pay for me to go to London and Florence when we were there in high school. They also gave me - through the places we went - an appreciation of history and what we have as Americans. As I've said before - I wouldn't trade my experiences growing up as an Army brat for anything - they've helped make me the person I am today...

Posted by: MIss Ladybug at January 6, 2009 08:54 PM

You know how I know John's mother was a lady?

He always speaks of her with respect and love in his voice. And also, he is a good man and he picked a good woman. Smart as hell, and good hearted.

As a mother, you always wonder what your sons will think of you. Daughters stay close, but sons you have to turn loose so soon. It isn't healthy for them to hold them to close to you. And it hurts like hell, because just as there's a special bond between fathers and daughters, so there is a piercing sweetness to the love between a mother and her sons. There is a little bit of what you feel for your husband packed in there.

They truly are little men in the making from the time they are just babies. Girls and boys are so different. Boys push you away a lot because they're busy being tough, but Mom is also often the only one who gets to see their tender side growing up. If you're lucky, they will let down their guard with you and trust you with a few carefully chosen secrets. And others they will keep to themselves, as is proper for young men, and you have to respect that and encourage it.

When I see a man who is in control of his emotions but who also is comfortable enough with his own masculinity to be gentle and kind, I suspect he had a loving and wise mother.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2009 09:04 PM

Sheesh! If she thinks she's got it tough she needs to take a trip to the UK and see the lot of the average army wife there!

If my wife had written this bile while I was deployed I wouldn't have bothered coming home.

Posted by: Stretch at January 6, 2009 10:21 PM

You know what bothers me so much?

We have so much more than our mothers and grandmothers did and we complain so much more. We are never, never satisfied. The more the government bends over to "help" us, the less self reliant we become and the more dysfunctions and pathologies we seem to discover that require the urgent intervention of Congress (and we all know how efficient the federal government has been in solving social problems... Lord knows, the War on Poverty has been going on since the mid-sixties. It's been over forty years and there's no exit strategy in sight.

In fact, Barack Obama just won an election on the notion that things are so bad we need MORE of the kind of brilliant "help" that has resulted in 70% of black kids being born out of wedlock (up from the "alarming" 22% that Daniel Patrick Moynihan cited in the early 60s as a cause for urgent intervention).

Nice job, guys. With "success" stories like that, maybe America really is doomed.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2009 10:35 PM

The sad thing is that this attitude isn't necessarily confined to spouses. I once knew an ex-Navy man (and I use the word advisedly) who claimed quite vehemently that the government OWED him, big time. Was he wounded in action, perhaps? Had he spent years away from his wife and children? No, this healthy single whiner thought the government owed him because he had spent time in a submarine smelling other sailors' smelly feet.

Cass, I read something from a lefty about the
"war on poverty" that was worth remembering. He said by making it a war, Johnson created a new option: total surrender.

Trees die at the top.

Posted by: Trish at January 6, 2009 11:54 PM

Trish, I think I know the same guy. Ick.

Posted by: Sly's Wardrobe Mistress at January 6, 2009 11:56 PM

Re the War on Poverty - when you subsidize anything, you get more of it.

Re having more and complaining more than our mothers and grandmothers - my grandmother had 13 children, a single hand pump for cold water in the house, and had to wash cloth diapers, possibly had a non-electric wringer washer.

My mother had five children and a balky washing machine, but still swished out cloth diapers in the toilet before throwing them into the washer.

Me? Top of the line washer and dryer, two kids and Pampers. Talk about getting soft.

Posted by: MathMom at January 7, 2009 12:06 AM

What I would really like to do is slap that woman. Can you imagine how embarrassed her husband must be?

Posted by: Donna B. at January 7, 2009 03:19 AM

I also would not trade my 23 years of military life. I tend to roll my eyes when I here these type of women and think buck it up, but then I remember in the beginning I too may have been a little whiny (it's not fair mentality, the military's mean) I'll blame it on being very young, hormones of being pregnant and dragging two tots around everywhere in a third world country (Korea) while hubby was on his millionth TDY , I also have a medical condition that the Korean air was none to kind to, but I was never that bad, I never complained openly and never thought I deserved a award, I quickly learned from it. I bucked up and survived and became stronger for it with no regrets. Now three countries, 9 states, 8 schools, two war deployments, millions of TDY's later, I have a garage full of power tools and a endless supply of "How To" books and a phone call away from family or friends ;)

For Pete's sake your a women, adapt. You're an embarrassment to our gender.

Posted by: Mrs G at January 7, 2009 09:38 AM

I might add that being in a country where you and your children stand out like a sore thumb, all the other wives are Korean, there's a huge language barrier, maltail cocktails are being thrown over the fence where you live, you cannot drive there, so you have to take a taxi everywhere, that includes to the commissary, THAT can lead to getting REAL lonely if you chose to isolate yourself, so you learn enough of the language to get around, shop, shop and shop, find the beauty where it looks like there is none and consider it as an adventure, and loneliness will not fit in that equation. Just saying been there got the t-shirt.

Posted by: Mrs G at January 7, 2009 10:00 AM

Donna, get in line. When I read that drivel, I thought of that scene from 'Airplane:' You know, where all the passengers are lined up to slap the *&%$ out of the one that was panicky and whining?

I will admit that when we moved South, I knew no one and the Engineer was deployed while the house fell to pieces. There was no DPW to call to come and fix anything. I was on my own. When it came to a choice between cosmetic surgery (a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in the hall because of CLUs doing gymnastics) and the kitchen faucet, well, uh, gee. I chose to repair the faucet. I did contract out the drywall repair, but the repair guy didn't show. I waited until the Engineer got back. To this day, he is still showing me how to fix things, how to plan out a project, etc. He doesn't ever want me to be that helpless again...Army spouse or not.

To the extent that military life is tough, I will say uhhh...sure, sweetie. I got a handshake from the CG at Fort Benning and 'you have the nation's gratitude.' I didn't expect that. What I expected when he retired is that we got to start a new life with all the things we learned from being a military family. I appreciate the gratitude. But I appreciate the freedom we have even more, and the caliber of the men and women who have chosen to serve to step up to the plate.

Miss Ladybug, I know of ten people who would envy you that lifestyle; being paid to live overseas and have the education and experiences you did. Being an exchange student doesn't even come close.
Mention that it was courtesy of the US taxpayer via the military and they have interesting reactions.

Heh.

Posted by: Cricket at January 7, 2009 10:03 AM

I think we all complain a bit, Mrs. G. Lord knows that I have (we wives have our own version of the 'chow line b**ching' that the guys do). What I don't get - and what crosses the line in my book - is taking that grousing public.

It's airing your dirty linen in public, especially in a dishonest way, as she does with the nonsense about the military wanting us to be invisible. That is just the biggest lie in the world. As someone already noted, there isn't a civilian employer in the world that tries harder to help spouses of their employees, and we are literally DROWNING in Congressvarmints asking how they can "help" us by swiping tax dollars away from civilians who in many cases have it worse than we do!

Sheesh. We aren't charity cases! We're adults, or at least we ought to be. If you really hate the fact that your husband is serving and can't deal with the terms of his employment, take it up with *him*. He made the decision. But also, as Don said, think about the civic implications of your selfish decisions. Cops, firefighters, doctors and many other professionals work long hours, travel and endure separations, make sacrifices and face hardships too, and so do their families. It isn't only the military who serve the public interest - something we tend to forget when we get on our collective high horses :p

At a recent OpFresh Air for wounded warriors I spoke with an Army soldier who told me he's moved far LESS since joining the Army than he EVER did growing up as a civilian. His Dad's job involved their moving every year and he was never home to help his Mom raise the family. So this woman really needs to (as you say) buck up.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 10:06 AM

Many years ago, the wife of Col. Rich Higgins asked to speak to the young Lt. wives at TBS.
This was after she knew that her husband was dead but long before his remains were buried.

She stood up in front of a packed room and told us the following,"If you don't think you can handle what happened to me, you need to go home and have a long, frank conversation with your husband."

It has always impressed me that she would request to talk to the young wives. She didn't have to. She could have dealt with her grief and her situation and not bothered with anyone else.
She didn't. She thought about others.

Posted by: Carrie at January 7, 2009 10:33 AM

I agree whole heartily with everything, Cops, firefighters, doctors and many others also have it hard, these guys also suffer from PTSD but that's been tagged to the military only, but I digress.

I can only conclude while throwing herself a pity party, her intentions is to mar the military. Make everyone who lives on base as some disfuctional addict that are in constant misery, I've lived half our military life on base housing and I don't remember such defuct individuals.

When you marry ANYONE you should be aware of all factors involved in their employment, no matter the occupation of the spouse. The biggest mistake people make and why the divorce rate is so high.

Posted by: Mrs G at January 7, 2009 10:54 AM

Agreed.

I think you also need to understand that the purpose of a marriage isn't to make *you* a whole, or even necessarily a happy, person. IOW, if you don't already know how to be happy and if you aren't already (and I hesitate to use this term) secure in who you are and self-actualized, hitching your wagon to someone else's star ain't going to accomplish that for you.

I read, in the comments of military wives, a note of unstated complaint/fear all the time: "I don't know how I can live w/out him..."

Christ, woman. How in the Sam Hill did you get on before you were married? I love my husband. And every time he deploys - every time - there is this stab of momentary fear like an icicle inside me: will this drive us apart? I don't want to be alone. I'll be lonely while he's gone. Crap. No sex/hugs/wonderful talks at the end of the work day for [fill in the blank] months :p

No more of that unfailing ritual I wait for at the end of the day, just before I fall asleep, when he puts his arm out and I move over and snuggle close to him and lay my head on his chest and listen to his heart beat for 5 minutes or so and the world is - briefly - a safe and warm place to live in.

And generally I don't sleep so well for the first few weeks after he leaves. Neither does he. But it passes, and we both adjust. You mourn, when you are first parted.

Last time when he had to go back after the mid-deployment visit home, we both got pretty depressed. We almost wondered if it wouldn't have been better not for him to have come home at all. It was so wrenching to have to go through all that again. But then you ask: what day, what hour, what minute of that time together would you give up?

And you realize how very lucky you are to have him at all. Yet another blessing of military life. Sometimes you just have to look through the right lens to find that silver lining.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 11:29 AM

She...She needs to understand, me and you are on the same page, she's in a whole nother f'ing book. (sorry I new what you meant, couldn't resist);P

Posted by: Mrs G at January 7, 2009 01:50 PM

*knew, cripes

Posted by: Mrs G at January 7, 2009 01:52 PM

/smack!!! :)
Sorry. That was a generic 'you' :p

I was kind of in a hurry, the mad typist strikes again...

Heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 02:17 PM

I've always loved that story, Carrie.

It's funny how some people are always looking at those who have it better than they do and feeling cheated.

I look at women like LtCol Higgins and think, "Man. I have not been through anything at all. I have it so good (and also, she is so amazing.. I am not sure I could be that strong.)"

So the idea that I am doing anything special by just being an ordinary military wife when there are women like her around... is pretty obscene. And there are piles of wives (and spouses - which you'll note Picard had to snark at) who also make me feel about 1/2 an inch tall.

Which is kind of the point of being special - that's why you get an award. For standing out from the pack. Not just to make you feel important. Sheesh.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 02:21 PM

Re the War on Poverty - when you subsidize anything, you get more of it.

Must be true, MathMom - lookit how many of us are rushing to get to the war so we can get us some disability payments! I likes mine, that's for sure...

Okay, not the same thing in our context... but in the context of Social Security you've got a good point.

Miss Ladybug - Homey! Well, sorta, since I'm pretty sure I lived there well before your time... Fryar Circle in 69-70!

And I'll just ditto all that Brat stuff all y'all have been slinging around.

Proud to have been a brat, even if my sister will agree with my characterization but will want to expand the definition...

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 7, 2009 03:20 PM

... Fryar Circle in 69-70!

Heh.

Can Tho, RVN, in 69-70, kidlet...

Posted by: BillT at January 7, 2009 03:30 PM

Presumably a eduacted and intelligent woman might have thought what life was going to be like for her when she married a Soldier.
I have no sympathy for this person at all.
I am a Desert Storm Vet and missed the birth of my first child. My wife did a deployment in Iraqi Freedom 1 and is now on active duty about 500 miles from her family (we chose not to move so I could continue my career and the kids could stay in very good schools.)
And I wouldn't even think half the thoughts she put into her article.
Get a life woman and let your Soldier soldier.

Posted by: PatB at January 7, 2009 03:43 PM

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You were at Masada, too.

And probably were the Chariot Driver for Thutmose III at Megiddo, now that I think about it.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 7, 2009 03:44 PM

The above was for Bill, not innocent Pat who wandered into the fire lane...

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 7, 2009 03:45 PM

Poor Pat :p

You didn't know you'd entered the insane asylum, didja?

Heh... Seriously, thanks for your service Pat. And please thank your bride as well. I don't know how you two do it - I chose not to work so we could try and keep things on an even keel. I have many friends who are both in the service and am in awe of them.

Thanks for everything you do.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 03:49 PM

...though Bill is pretty much a Brat, too.

Different kind though.

/flouncing away, tossing the trivet over one shoulder with an insouciant... um.... flounce :D

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 03:52 PM

FWIW, I rather liked moving around as kid, too.

Sure, there were times when it was not so much fun. And I remember missing my Dad horribly when he was at sea, or in Vietnam. But it didn't leave me with psychic scars, nor did I need to see a therapist, for Pete's sake. What is up with these nitwits whose kids are traumatized for life just because Dad or Mom is deployed?

We all grew up that way, and I only pull the wings off flies on Tuesdays and Thursdays...

[quickly hiding the machete behind my back as I guiltily remember the 6 hacked up corpses in my basement freezer]

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 03:55 PM

Oh, that's okay, Cass - you just blame the PTSD from all the abuse you suffered from the knuckle-dragging myrmidons (who of course vote Rethuglican) that you lived with.

It's not your fault, you see.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 7, 2009 04:01 PM

Ok way to go Dan for quoting Heinlein from Starship Troopers, the very good book, not the crappy movie. And second John of Arrragh (if that is your real name), no worries.
I did my time in LEGIO III GALLICA.

When you go by the Via Flaminia, by the legions' road to Gaul,
Remember the luck of the soldier, who rose to be master of all.
He carried the sword and the buckler, he mounted his turn on The Wall,
And the Legions elected him Caesar, and he rose to be master of all!

It's twenty-six marches to Narbo, and thirty-one more up the Rhone,
and maybe it's death in the heather, or life on the Emperor's throne...

Kipling

But now back to our regularly scheduled posting about the kvetching lawyer of Fort Hood.

Posted by: PatB at January 7, 2009 04:04 PM

Click the link in my name, Pat, and you'll find that is my blognomen.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 7, 2009 04:23 PM

John, I am familiar with your blog and was aware that was your nom de net.
I was trying to have you on a bit. Sorry.

Posted by: patb at January 7, 2009 04:53 PM

Oh... I just had the best idea.

Heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 7, 2009 06:23 PM

So when I was at the Rose Garden, my wife finished up her college degree while her folks watched our first born, who was 6 months old when I left and 18 months old when I got back.

When I was on my Med Cruise, my wife learned how to handle our finances.

When I was in the field for weeks on end, my wife learned how to feed the kids.

I have yet to hear her complain. Now my little boy is a major in the Corps with four kids of his own, and his wife doesn't complain either.

Life is what you make of it. Too bad the whiner doesn't know that.

Posted by: Rex at January 7, 2009 06:31 PM

John~

Daddy was stationed in Germany 4 times: once before I was born, at Hertzo Base, then in Augsburg the other 3 times. First (before I started Kindergarten [pre-'75]) and last time (beginning my junior year of HS, fall '86), he was at the Field Station & we lived in Sullivan Heights, which as you may or may not recall was next to Quartermaster Kaserne, and about a block from the high school. The other time, from about '78-'82, we were in Camerton to start (across the street from the elementary school), and in Sullivan Heights when we needed bigger quarters when the oldest of my little sisters was born. I never drove over there - took the shuttle bus or walked or road a bike, or the Strass when going downtown. I loved Augsburg. My sixth grade teacher attended my high school graduation - 6 years later, she was still there. She may even have been there when you were there, too. We still exchange Christmas cards. She's finally retired from teaching for DoDDS (she went to Korea for a bit after Augsburg), and is now retired to Myrtle Beach, and is able to travel and spend her time volunteering. To this day, I've lived more years of my life in Augsburg than any other city...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 7, 2009 09:40 PM

John, I toldja and *toldja* -- I was in the *scout* platoon at Megiddo.

Remind me to do a TINS on the war kites...

Posted by: BillT at January 8, 2009 12:50 AM

Masada will never fall again!

Miss Ladybug, I have your email and I think we may have a friend in common. His father was a contractor for the commissary and was stationed there. I will contact you off the thread.

This could be fun!

Posted by: Cricket at January 8, 2009 09:14 AM

Bill,

You were at the opposite end of the RVN from my pop. He was up in Hue around the same time. He's been back since (when my DoS sister was stationed in Saig... uh... Ho Chi Minh City). He said it was so beautiful (now of course).

Posted by: MikeD at January 8, 2009 10:02 AM

Miss Ladybug - I know Herzo Base from my time in 1st Armored at Pinder Barracks in Nuernberg (80-84). I was born in Wurzburg (57), when the 10th Mountain held sway there, Aschaffenburg (58), Paris (65-66) (Camp Des Loges) and when DeGaulle booted NATO from France, Stuttgart 66-67) (Patch Barracks), Augsburg (69-70), and Frankfurt (Bad Vilbel) (70-72). I spent a lot of time in Europe as a kid and junior officer. And whenever I went from a USDSEA (United States Dependent Schools European Area (now DoDDS) school to a school back in the states, I was either right on track or ahead. They weren't fancy schools, but we had good teachers. Heck, Frankfurt American Junior High School, at Drake-Edwards Kaserne, was an old german army barracks with rifle racks built into the hall walls - can you imagine the conniption something like that would cause in some school districts in the US now?

And then there was the two-hour bus ride, one way, to get to school in Paris.

Heh. I remember that as *fun*.

And in old green Army buses with porthole windows.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 8, 2009 10:26 AM

Cricket~

I did my time as a bagger, working for tips, at the Augsburg commissary. Worst of it was when you got stiffed after taking the groceries out to the car - if you got stiffed inside, you also got the next one...

John~

My junior year, I participated in a Model Senate that took place in Stuttgart. They farmed all us kids out to host families with kids that went to the high school. Yeah, that long bus ride - before and after school - sucked. I was lucky in that I could walk to school (at least after we were a block from the HS - went we first got there that last time, our temp quarters were in Cramerton - I remember walking to school one morning and having my eyelashes sticking together - the last thing I did before leaving was apply makeup, and it was so cold out, the not-dry mascara was freezing together... Boy, I looked lovely when I got inside the school and it thawed out - on my skin...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 8, 2009 11:40 AM

My first paying job was a bagger in the Frankfurt Commissary.

A nickle to bag and a nickle to drag per bag. You could make $40 on payday - which wasn't bad money for a 14 year old in 1971.

Even if you did get stiffed now and then.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 8, 2009 12:24 PM

Well, it's not like a kid could try to get a job at the mall or something ;-)

Did they have "summer hire" back then? I was lucky I only had to do that one year - between my junior & senior years of HS. And while I didn't have the cushiest of positions (one of the desk jobs), I also didn't have one of the crappiest, either (helping maintain all the lawns and stuff). It was crappy pay (sub-minimum wage, stateside), but it was better than nothing, and likely kept some kids out of trouble ;-)

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 8, 2009 12:48 PM

You were at the opposite end of the RVN from my pop.

We were at the opposite end of *everybody*, Mike.

My first experience with "You're not here -- none of us are, because Washington says we're not."

Posted by: BillT at January 8, 2009 01:02 PM

My first experience with "You're not here -- none of us are, because Washington says we're not."

These aren't the droids you're looking for...

Posted by: Sly's Wardrobe Mistress at January 8, 2009 01:16 PM

"Who's in there?"

"Nobody in here but us SEALs, SeaWolves, Swifties, Marine Tiger Teams, Green Beanies, Air Force Black Hats, MACV, and helicopter pilots, Boss!"

Posted by: BillT at January 8, 2009 02:37 PM

"When I see a man who is in control of his emotions but who also is comfortable enough with his own masculinity to be gentle and kind, I suspect he had a loving and wise mother." Cassandra said a mouthful there.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 8, 2009 03:01 PM

> If Ms. Picard finds the downside of military life outweighs her apparently meager resources;

What, you mean the mental ones?

>:-/

Posted by: Obloodyhell at January 10, 2009 11:18 AM

Cassandra,

If you hate the whiny bitches too why give me so much grief when I point out what a tremendous pain in the ass it was to be married to one?

I liked the ghetto pool. Ours never extended beyond 5X5 except of course we had our own hot tub and the HOA pool plus the 3 or 4 pools at the Y.

But you know how it is. Sometimes good folks get saddled with absolute horrors, in spite of their otherwise good karma.

I watched Soldiers Once again last week and was again struck by the Army notification fiasco. I remember being part of the unofficial network of wives (and kindergarten kids) who walked with mom to the homes of our friends in Carlisle to commiserate the loss of another young man in Vietnam. To my young memories, most of them were shot down in helicopters and most of them died although some were wounded and the neighborhood helped to build a ramp to the front door for the wheel chair and an extension on the back of the house to add a ground floor bedroom for a young man returning soon who would not be using the stairs anymore in the house he grew up in.

Carlisle was just a sleepy town of PA and in spite of the barracks was not a major military post like Bliss, Bragg, Riley, Knox or Hood. We (my mom, my sisters, my brother and I, the littlest sister being carried since she was a baby born a few months earlier at Fort Sill) walked to the houses of those that we came to know had lost a loved one in the Far East. As I say, I watched that movie "We were young once" and it struck me, the walking to notify. We didn't notify, we just walked to share the pain a tiny little bit.

So, at any rate, having spent 10 of the last 25 hours driving for reasons the navy found worthwhile, I just wanted to say that the remarks that you commented on....you were spot on. As usual.

As I recall, all of us baggers at the Picatinny Arsenal Commissary were making between $50 and $200/day in 1979. It was so lucrative that we were only allowed one or two days/week after school/weekends.
Best regards,
Curtis

Posted by: Curtis at January 12, 2009 04:37 AM

If you hate the whiny bitches too why give me so much grief when I point out what a tremendous pain in the ass it was to be married to one?

I don't think that was what I objected to, Curtis. It's been a while since the one comment you made that bothered me, but I think it was more condemning marriage as an institution and also the implication that women in general become selfish, whiny leeches once they get married that I took issue with.

I can certainly understand being disappointed or disillusioned after having a bad experience.

What I am less inclined to go along with is the general conclusion that since some people either don't choose the right person or have unhappy marriages for whatever reason, marriage as an institution is "not worth it" or married women are selfish and whiny. You can hardly expect a woman who has been married for nearly 3 decades to agree with you, especially when from my perspective I've had to make far more sacrifices than my husband has in order to stay married.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 12, 2009 08:02 AM

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