Saturday, November 9, 2013


Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This blog post  is part of my participation in a weekly writing meme called, "The Book of Me, Written By You"  You too can be part of this experiment/experience, there is more information here, and at this Facebook page.

I may or may not publicly share what I write each week. This week I share.

This week’s prompt (week 11) is Military:
  • Did you join the military?
  • Were you encouraged or discouraged?
  •  Did a family member?
  •  Regular or for a particular incident
  •  Did you or your family serve overseas in the line of Service either during a war or a posting
  •  Any thoughts, photographs, memories relevant
I did not personally join the military, but Man served during the Vietnam Era. It was join the Navy or get drafted.  We were expecting our first child, many of our peers were going off to war in Nam and not coming back.  So, he joined. Here he is:

During his service years he was stationed at Great Lakes for basic training, Washington D.C. for language school, San Angelo Texas for additional training and Morocco for 18 months (I was able to travel and live there with him to Washington D.C., Texas and to Morocco for 16 months.)

Man's years of service were a time of growth and excitement for us.  We had young sons, and opportunities.  We saw some of the United States and traveled and lived overseas for over a year.

While we lived in Washington D.C. we were close to both of my grandmothers and were able to travel to visit with them several times.  Both Man and I have very special memories of those visits.

While based in Texas we fell in love with the state and the people.  We were involved in an auto accident while there, our landlord took care of us as if we were his children.

Traveling back and forth to Washington and Texas all became memory laden events, snow storms, blown tires, car break downs, running out of gas just short of the top of a mountain.  All fond memories now, and many lessons learned, do not purchase re-treaded tires, the tread peels off.  Put gas in before you head UP the mountain even if you think there is enough fuel, cause there probably is not.  Blizzards cause slow rides home, serious headaches and many white knuckles.  We try to avoid driving in blizzards these days.  Be sure to have extra baby food and diapers, cause what you thought would be a 8 hour drive might end up 4 hours in the garage and another 8 hours of driving.

We lived in two different villas while we based in Morocco, they were not centrally heated, we used kerosene heaters.  Hot water on demand was the norm, below Man shows off our hot water heater, (so we could send photos home!)  Gawlly, can you believe those britches??  And, they were in style!  Oh MY!  Yes, he is standing on the side of the tub.

Here I am walking down the street in Kenitra with our two sons.  And, my britches are not much better than Man's.  Matching??

Below:  The second villa we lived in.  The windows had wooden shutters and glass windows, no screens.  Our bedroom was on the far left in the front, behind that was the bathroom (sink and bathtub only), behind that a small room where the children played and behind that, the kitchen.  On the other side of the villa was a front room.  My memory is a bit faded on this, but, believe the boys had a small bedroom behind the front room.  The back of the villa was actually one large long room/space, starting with that small kitchen, a small room that housed the toilet (a real porcelain toilet, not a hole in the floor as was common) and a area where I had my washer.  Clothes were always dried on lines.  In the winter, I sometimes had clothes drying all over the inside, but, mostly our clothes were line dried.

The gate led to the side yard.  The wall/fence had glass shards set in mortar to discourage climbing into the yard.  Glass shards were very common and effective.

This is the side yard, the Opal Cadet, our wheels.  I learned to drive a stick shift, on the floor, with that car, and I still love driving a stick shift, 5 speed on the floor,  The two little boys sitting in what looks like a door frame were sons of the landlord.  The landlord lived behind the walls and the door I am walking in front of.  They had 4 or 5 rooms that were side by side.  There were no doors from room to room, they went out the door into the open air area, and into the next door/room.  The open air area was truly open air, there was no roofing at all. They had a room with a small television, several sleeping rooms, a cooking/kitchen room and a room with the hole in the ground toilet.  Off to the right, out of view in this photo was a fenced in area where the landlord had rabbits.

While we were in Morocco there was one coup attempt.  We spent 7 days under house arrest, living in our villa (the previous one, not the one shown here in photos) with the wooden shutters closed all the time, our car hidden in the garage.  This event deserves a blog post (or two) of it's own, and maybe some day I shall do that.

We partook of local celebrations.  The locals enjoyed showing off for us, frequently bringing us to the front of the crowd to entertain us.  They would honor us with food, hot mint sweet tea at their tables.  We were even invited to a local wedding in the desert one night.  

Our budget was stretched, as we did not live in base housing, so we had little money for sightseeing.  Never got to the Sahara Desert.  We did drive to Casablanca a few times.  One distinct memory was my stepping out of the car when a man approached, flipped open his long coat and flashed me - - - hashish.  All sown into the inside of his coat.  I politely declined his offer.  We spent a fabulous weekend in Fez.  Shopping in the Medina was an experience we shall never forget, and just as a warning, do NOT attempt entrance and a tour of the Medina of Fez on your own, it is truly a maze and you will be lost in no time.

We did a day trip to Volubilis, a Roman city. It was a day to remember, the docent was very knowledgeable, a fascinating day.  To date, the only Roman ruins we have ever been to.

This is downtown Kenitra.  I believe this was during Feast of the Throne, a day held in honor of the king’s ascension to the throne.

Man's time of service to his country was an emotional time for our country.  We felt very blessed to be able to spend most of his time in the Navy together, traveling, and experiencing much.  It was a special time in our lives.

And, that is just a taste of what this military wife's life was like back in the early 1970's.



Barbara Poole said...

Loved reading this, and the photos weren't bad either. You were so hot with your long hair. What wonderful memories you created and you were smart to take many photos, something I never did.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Loved this post. Including man's slacks! And my you were quite the looker yourself. I hope you share more of your overseas stories. ;-)