Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Favorite Love Story

In honor of Valentine's Day I wanted to post the story of my grandparents, Stan and Jill, as written by my grandmother.  They have been married for 67 years and met in England during WWII.  For greatest effect, read in your very best British accent.
 
Marry Me, Marry Me
By: Jill Adelman (my grandmother)
 
In September 1944 I took the train from Holyhead, Anglesey to Braintree, Essex on a weeks leave.  I was a wireless operator in the Women's Royal Naval Service.  It was a sad for me going home as things were desolate in England at the time.  Everyone was fed up with the war.  My mother was really war weary and although her health was alright my father was suffering from cancer that would eventually take his life.  I couldn't bear to see him in pain and my mother so distressed.  None of my friends were around and I was bored and guilty because I was bored.  It was then that I met Stan Adelman, a young American. 
 
He was stationed at Andrew's Field just outside of Braintree.  I bumped into him in a blackout outside the bank across the street from the White Hart Pub.  He was with a group of guys from his squadron, the 451st Bomb Squadron flying B-26 Marauders.  There were four or five of them, all laughing, handsome, and dashing in their pinks and greens, the uniform of the Army Air Corps.
 
Stan grabbed my shoulder and yelled, "hey fellers, look what I found!"  He then asked me to have a drink with him, which I did since he was the best looking of the bunch.  We talked for a couple of hours and really liked one another immediately.  During the evening he said, "will you marry me?" which I took to be a joke.  Very cleverly I answered, "ask me tomorrow".  We met again the following evening, different pub this time, for more drinks and talk during which Stan asked me again to marry him.  I again replied "ask me tomorrow!"
 
I forgot an important point.  On our first date I noticed a signet ring on his finger with the initials SA engraved on it.  "What does SA stand for?" I asked, "Sex Appeal!" he replied without hesitation.
 
The following evening we had another date.  Stan did not appear.  Oh well, I thought, too bad.  He was very nice and a star in my drab existence at the time, but c'est le guerre!
 
The next day my leave was up and I had to return to my base in Holyhead.  Back to radios, the Morse code, dreary Naval watches, and our ghastly Chief Petty Officer.  Life went on.  I eventually recieved a letter from Stan explaining that his base had been locked down on the night of our third date and that the squadron had been shipped out to France.  Stan was flying bombing missions during that long winter off 1944-1945, and flew 53 combat missions. 
 
On April 5, 1945 I got a sudden phone call from Stan to say he was coming to visit me in Holyhead.  He had been sent to a hospital in Southport on, what the boys called "flak leave", for rest and relaxation.  Well, he would have none of that, so he skipped out and found his way to Holyhead.  This was amazing as it was so difficult getting around in those days as public transportation was severely limited.  I went to meet him from the 1:45 train and I knew I would marry him as soon as he threw his B-4 bag on the platform.  There he appeared, looking thinner but still my glamorous flyboy.  We were married in June of 1945 and have been together ever since. 
 
Stan and Jill on their wedding day
Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Unknown Fear

Nothing is more frightening than a fear you cannot name
~ Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
 
Yesterday afternoon the USS Truman and CVW 3 and the USS Gettysburg were surprised by the news that their deployment was postponed indefinitely. The deployment they were planning on leaving for within the next couple of days would not be happening as scheduled.  Or maybe ever.  Who knows really?  Flag officers and politicians have PhDs in being vague and that is exactly how today's news was presented. 
 
Vague.  Gray.  Full of "we want to care for the families" and "we'll be ready when they need us" but void of useful information about whether people could rest easy or not.
 
Most of you are probably wondering why I'm not just 100% happy about this turn of events.  After all, I have many good friends on the Truman.  One of my best friends has been processing the start of this deployment ever since their work-ups were accelerated last year.  Another friend is due to have her first child and her husband might now be home for the birth.  Those friends won't have to say a tearful goodbye on Friday.  Great news, right?
 
Yes.
 
But it isn't that simple. There is also something about the way that all of this has unfolded that has left me frustrated and angry.  Bitter about the Navy and uncertain about my future as a spouse of a carrier aviator.  This isn't black and white.  Bad and good.  You cannot in one simple command shed the wet blanket that you wear as a military spouse preparing for deployment.
 
Preparing for a deployment is serious business.  Both on the military front and on the home front.  As the carriers go out to sea and work toward their operational readiness, families at home work toward emotional readiness for a deployment.  Tears are shed.  POAs are written.  Trips home are planned. Sometimes spouses move home to their families.  People give up apartments, sell cars, cancel cell phones, end relationships, and choose not to take classes for a semester or two.  This is just the tip of a very very deep iceberg.  Preparing for deployment is exhausting.  And you run and run and run, a marathon of work-ups and ins and outs and ups and downs until you are literally chomping at the bit and saying, "honey, I love you, I will miss you, BUT LEAVE ALREADY!!!!"
 
Multiply this exhaustion by about 6,000 families. 
 
I know that at least for my good friend, she was at this "get out of my house" point.  She was ready to say "goodbye".  Ready because, once you finally say goodbye and watch the ship pull away you can shift into deployment mode and start counting down to homecoming.  It is hard for non military families to understand, but deployment is often a release; an exhale of emotion because, finally, you aren't anticipating everything so heavily.  It is here.  You can act.  You can grieve, but you can also start doing all the things you have been planning on.
 
6,000 families are now being told they must continue to hold their breath.
 
Deployment wasn't canceled with a reassuring "don't worry, your service member will be home for you".  It was taken away and replaced with the unknown.  A vague postponement where they will be ready to deploy with little to no notice.  Maybe.  Who knows. 
 
These families will be living on pins and needles.  They likely won't be able to plan vacations.  They will be nervous to sign new leases, cancel their current deployment plans and procedures, and start really planning their everyday lives the way most Americans can.  Families will nervously wonder what is going on, keep their ears perked up for any information that they can glean from the "powers that be".  Grasping for anything, any clue, any indication, that they will have to steel themselves for those dreaded pre-deployment weeks. 
 
This makes me sad.  Sad because, as a military spouse I already live with dozens of unknowns.  I am in Kansas right now and I don't know what state or coast I will be sitting in 12 months from now.  I don't know where my kids will go to school.  I don't know when my husband's next deployment will happen.  And now, with this development, once I do know his deployment schedule I now know that less than 48 hours before he leaves they could just pull the entire rug out from under us.
 
It isn't right.  I know that this whole thing comes down to the one thing that runs the world: money.  And I know it is completely naive of me to think that families would come first.  But his kind of emotional whiplash takes a toll.  It is wrong.  And it is disrespectful to the service members and their families.  Disrespectful of their hard work, dedication, and planning. 
 
My girlfriends don't deserve to be living in fear of the unknown.  I don't deserve to live in fear of the unknown. And service members, as brave and flexible and wonderful as they are, definitely don't deserve it.
 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Just Write

Happy Groundhog Day, friends!  Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted that my 3 degree mornings won't last much longer.

Love this movie.  If you have seen it once, you have seen it a dozen times.

I am blaming our family's disgusting illness that has left us all sneezing and wheezing and blowing our noses for the past week on my lack of updates.  Sometimes I know it is better to just write - to see what comes and let a story or feeling just happen.  Nothing amazing or especially funny has to happen to sit down and write, right?  I guess you as the reader hope I don't just start writing tangentially until we got to some random gif or picture.  You know, the kind of post where I start of writing about my kids and it concludes with a picture of Joey McIntyre.  

My childhood crush. xoxo
 
But that is what typically happens when I write without a plan or a point or a story or a photo to inspire me.  But on weeks where my nose is raw from tissues and my patience is thin because sleep is for sissies, I guess it is better to just write and enjoy the outlet for what it simply is.

My friend Karen over at And Then We Laughed is doing a February challenge where she has promised to grace us with her writing prowess every single day of this short month.  I find that crazy.  I swear, if I tried to write every day for a month you would be getting installments about dust bunnies and strange dreams where I wake up in a John Cusack movie.

I am pretty excited about this month.  I am praying that it starts to warm up in this icebox that I have come to know (3 degrees in the morning almost all week.  3 DEGREES!!!!).  On Monday I start a photography class with Clickin Moms.  I am psyched to figure out how to shoot in manual mode on my camera.  On Tuesday, my new gym is starting a new morning Zumba schedule that makes my little dancing heart happy. In two weeks I'm San Diego bound for the long weekend to see some of my besties, thaw out, and meet a special new baby.  I am lucky to be surrounded by sweet new friends in Fort Leavenworth who are all very open, generous, and love wine just as much as I do.  I will tip my hat to Army wives (the real life version, not the TV show) and say that I have felt very welcomed and completely regret every ounce of worry that I had about living on Post surrounded by other military spouses.  Even after 10 years as a military spouse I know that I am still learning about this crazy sociological experiment that we live in.

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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