Our 53rd Anniversary
How thankful I am that I found this guy when I transferred to Midwestern University in my Junior Year of college. After graduation, I taught school a year and then had to say goodbye to John, as he was sent to Korea with the Army. In a very round about encounter I heard of another wife whose husband had been sent to a similar place in Korea. She was going to Korea as a tourist. I decided if
she could go, why couldn’t I go too. We landed in Seoul. John met me at the airport, but only had an overnight pass. Charlotte’s husband had a couple of days. Robert helped us the next day to find a place to live at a beautiful old Korean home that the owner had turned into a Guest House for those few wives who came unauthorized like us.
Living at the Guest House in Korea
It was quite an experience sitting on the floor for all of our meals, taking our shoes off at the door when we entered, and having no heat or hot water during the week. (I suppose the owner was saving on utility bills.) The only way I could communicate with John was to walk down the street to a bar and use their telephone. But it was crazy. NO ONE spoke English. On the phone I had to learn to ask for one town to connect me to another and then to another and then to John’s camp. Even then the connection was so bad we could barely understand each other.
As I look back, I realize God gave me supernatural courage to go to this remote place. I ventured out and found a job in downtown Seoul working for an American. Wives weren’t allowed to live on the base . Having no transportation, I had to ride a bus. They didn’t speak English either. I did learn how to say “stop” when I was at my destination. Buses were crowded, streets were dirty and crowded: very,very dirty in fact. The company was in a hotel on a higher floor. I quickly learned to brace myself at the elevators as the Koreans seemed to have missed learning any manners. I could be standing at the door waiting for the elevator and when it came, a rush of rude people would just knock me aside and get on. My boss later assigned his driver to take me home. This was such a blessing.
The office was filled with only Koreans and one American boss. I made friends with Miss Kim and went with her each day to lunch (if I didn’t bring my own.) The Guest House cook could really cook. We could have a “take to work lunch” made any day we requested it. I did enjoy the days of getting out of the office with Miss Kim. The enjoyment of the food was another story.
The Bus Ride to Camp Hovey to See John
There was a bus that went from Seoul to Camp Hovey, where John was stationed as a second lieutenant. I bravely tried the trip one weekend as I wanted to see John and he rarely got any pass to come to Seoul. The distance from Seoul to Camp Hovey wasn’t all that far, but the bus took forever it seems. Driving of bus drivers was very bad, dodging pedestrians and cars and other buses, and going from one lane to another in a snap. Americans in Korea were very very rare, especially females. I was referred to as “round eyes” and pointed at wherever I went.
Arriving at the Camp was another very new experience. Hundreds of guys. No gals except the Red Cross few who lived around the mountain at the next camp. No private bathrooms of course. John would have to stand guard and yell “woman in the barracks”. As I think back on this, I can’t help but wonder how in the world I had courage to go across the world to Korea. The thought of a year without John was worse than the fear of going to a place I’d never been. flying on an airplane for the first time, and knowing John only had a one day pass when I got there.
General Johnson Needs a Secretary
While on a weekend visit, John heard that the Commanding General of his division was looking for a secretary. We decided I might as well apply. An interview was set up with General Johnson. He was a gruff, stern fellow. He basically just interviewed John and then told me I had the job. “But”, I said, “this job requires a Civil Service ranking and I don’t have one.” He told me not to worry, but just to go back to Seoul and go to the Civil Service Office and tell them I was now working for the General. Well, it worked and here I was the General’s Secretary without even taking a typing or shorthand test. (It’s a good thing as my skills were lacking.)
So now I was going to be working right around the mountain from John’s camp. Of course I had to live in the Red Cross (Doughnut Dollies) barracks. John could not drive in Korea, being an officer and having such reckless drivers on the roads. For him to come and visit me, he had to have a driver bring him over. I can remember the driver picking him up early the next morning if he had a change to ever spend the night. He would have to sneak out the window.
Back to my job. How did it go? Hmmm….not so very well until I met “Goosey” and a few other PC3s I believe they are called. Goosey did my typing and pretended I had done it. Shorthand was another story. I was scared silly when called into the General’s office to take notes. I just did the best I could. Goosey and the others helped me as much as they could in exchange for my orders from the mess hall for them. Certainly the mess hall chefs thought I had an amazing appetite when I ordered 3 sets of pancakes or waffles each morning and several hamburgers each lunch time.
My Dream of Being a Cheerleader
One of my dreams of being a Cheerleader was realized when football season began. I joined the Doughnut Dollies Cheering Squad. This was so very much fun. It seemed the entire United States Army came to these games. I even got to ride on a float through town.
We did get to take a short trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo on leave while I was there. Oh it was fascinating. I loved the beauty of Tokyo. At the airport on the way back, I was told I could not return to Seoul as my Visa had expired. Oh my goodness, this was not good. We asked them to call the General and he got me approved and right on the airplane in no time.
We went through a cold, cold winter in Korea. It was so cold, I had frostbite on my face after walking up the hill to chapel one evening. I survived:)
This was our second year of marriage. It was good to return to the U.S. Many many years and experiences have been shared by John and I, and I thank the Lord for each year and each memory.
The past seven or eight years have been years almost as much fun as college days for John and I. We learned Ballroom Dancing and look forward each week to dates out dancing and being with treasured friends we have met on the dance floor and dance classes. You may have seen the post a few days ago that I sent about Getting Happier as We Get Older. It is absolutely true for us. We have the joy and excitement of nine grandchildren, a wonderful church and many precious friends..
We thank God for good health. We don’t take this for granted to be healthy and fit enough to go to Crossfit and to Dance as much as we do. Each day we declare Divine Health over ourselves. We know words have great power. Words bring things into existence.
I’d love to have your ideas on marriage and getting older. Just press reply and drop me a few words. Feel welcome to join us in declaring your health too. I created a free download a few years back and have just updated it for you. It contains the ten or so declarations we declare each day concerning our good health.
Here’s the form below of the free download. Don’t miss it.