Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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Open Mike Night Jirani Coffeehouse Manassas, VA “Is it Vintage?” “No, I made it.” She was talking about the silk dress I made 46 years ago. The silk had come from Thailand, where my husband bought it on a Rest and Recreation (R&R) trip from his one-year tour in Vietnam. He had admired the long au dai (pronounced ow-zai) dresses Vietnamese women wore, so I picked a pattern that looked like them – a full-length column dress with a slit up to the waist, worn over black pants. I’ve probably worn it three times – the last time on our 25th anniversary, in Hawaii. This... (Read More ...)

W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) East Lansing, Michigan. Winter quarter at Michigan State started just after the New Year in 1967, the middle of my sophomore year. I was rooming with my best friend, Roomie. She’d warned me when we first moved in together that she snored like a freight train and not to wake her up; she wasn’t in distress. As it happens, I could sleep through a fire engine in front of the house, so once I heard her snore, and satisfied myself that she was not in trouble, I went back to sleep. I’d... (Read More ...)

Marigolds (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Columbus, Georgia/Ft. Benning.  In the middle of January, my husband left for a month of training in Indianapolis. We missed our first anniversary together. The next year he would be in Vietnam on our anniversary. By the third year, I no longer even knew when it was, mistaking it for years with the day we met, only two days later. By four months, our son was smiling and turning over. By six months, he was crawling. I washed the kitchen floor daily after I saw my son spitting bubbles of drool onto the floor, then licking them up. At six months, he was eligible... (Read More ...)

Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1943. 155 mm. howitzer. The 155 mm. howitzer, firing on the Fort Sill, Oklahoma artillery range, provides a mass of heavy, high-angle firepower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Macon, Georgia. On January 2, 1968, he called me. He’d received his expected draft notice. A student deferment for college was changed to a Peace Corps deferment when he enrolled in Peace Corps training. But, after training, he decided not to continue with the program and dropped out, to return to school and graduate on time. His draft status reverted to 1A – first to be called. Knowing this, his first... (Read More ...)

A boy in a children’s swimming pool. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Atlanta, Georgia/Long Binh, Vietnam. Once again, we missed being together on our anniversary. It was not until the next year, our third anniversary, that we were together on the day. By then, I’d forgotten which day it was. For years, I thought it was two days later, January 26, which was, instead, the anniversary of the day we’d met. I settled into a routine. I enrolled for a class at Georgia State University, to continue working on my Bachelor’s degree. I applied for baby-sitting jobs advertised in the paper,... (Read More ...)

Technical Sergeant Ricardo A. Chavez is a military training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It was the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years at college. It would be the last summer I spent in Richardson, Texas, and the last summer at home. Six months later, I’d meet my husband. The following summer, I’d be studying French in Switzerland. A few months after that, I’d be married. My father, an amateur photographer, had, until this house, always had a dark room where he developed his own prints. In recent years, with color film, he’d... (Read More ...)

At 20, I got pregnant, eloped, dropped out of school, and followed my husband to an Army post in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was in Officer Candidate School. It was 1968, near the height of the Vietnam War. Miniskirts were in. My boyfriend  told me the popular song, “Sunny,” reminded him of me. When I called my parents to tell them I’d gotten married, my Mom said, “So, I guess this means you’re pregnant, then.” My birthday’s in July. I spent the summer I turned 20 in Switzerland, studying French. My boyfriend picked me up in New York City when I returned and I realized... (Read More ...)

97 Years of Marriage in Two Rings We had five days to get married. I found out I was pregnant on Monday. He was scheduled to leave for boot camp on Friday, responding to a January 1 draft notice. He looked up the legal requirements for marriage in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, from his apartment in Arlington, Virginia. I had just come up from my parents’ house in Georgia for a planned second semester at George Washington University to be near him. I moved my trip up after he got the draft notice, also suspecting by then that I might be pregnant. One local jurisdiction required... (Read More ...)

Español: Armadura de caballero en la armería del Alcázar de Segovia (España) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I was sitting next to a guy at the bar mitzvah party for a friend’s son and we struck up a conversation. He had recently gotten remarried and was ruminating about his observations on women. “I understand that women like to be wooed and won,” he said. “But, I thought after you won them, the wooing part was over.” I don’t consider myself an expert on relations between men and women. I dated only a little in high school, not even enough to go to either my junior or senior prom. In... (Read More ...)

He introduced himself to me on the phone as “Dave.” singer, dancer, comedienne, and actress Carol Burnett, receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) But, I soon found out all his friends called him “Georgia.” He had lost his Southern accent by the time I met him three-and-a-half years after he arrived on that Michigan State campus. A natural ear for languages and years of singing let him drop his Southern drawl in favor of broadcast English, the non-accented English heard in the Midwest. But, his friends and fraternity brothers kept the reminder of his... (Read More ...)