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Mary Catherine Larsen, 68, died July 14, 2017, in the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.
11/21/2013
Military wives

EDITOR, Daily News:

I hope you will print this letter to show appreciation not only to the men in the military but to recognize their wives that travel with them through their careers.

A military wife is mostly girl but there are times, such as when her husband is away and she’s mowing the lawn or fixing a flat tire on her youngster’s bike, that she begins to suspect she is also a boy.

She usually comes in three sizes: petite, plump and pregnant. During her marriage’s early years, it’s often difficult to determine which the normal one is.

She has babies all over the world and measures time in terms of places, as other women do in years. In New York, we had the mumps; in Ketchikan, her husband was promoted.

At least one of her babies was born or a transfer was accomplished while she was alone. This causes her to suspect a secret pact between her husband and the service, providing for a man to be on duty or temporary duty at such times.

A military wife is international, she may be an Iowa farm girl, a French mademoiselle, a Japanese doll or an ex-nurse. When discussing service problems, they all speak the same language.

She can be a great actress to heartbroken children at transfer time (“Texas is going to be so much fun! I hear that they have tarantulas and rattlesnakes!”), but her heart is breaking with theirs. She wonders if this is worth the sacrifices.

The ideal wife has the patience of an angel, the flexibility of putty, the wisdom of a scholar and the stamina of a horse. If she doesn’t like money, it helps. She is sentimental, carrying her memories with her in an old foot locker.

She is, above all, a woman who married a serviceman who offered the permanency of a gypsy, the miseries of loneliness, the frustrations of conformity and the security of love.

Sitting among the packing boxes with squabbling children nearby, she is sometimes willing to chuck it all ... until she hears the firm steps and cheerful voice of that lug that gave her all of this. Then she is happy to be a military wife.

The wife of a retired military man,

JAN STOSSEL

Ketchikan