Getting “Home” was the Problem

by Patty La Taille

Home is a relative term, especially when you marry into the military. My first year of marriage was a rocky one – a spontaneous European elopement as the shadow of Desert Storm – the first war in Iraq – descended on his battalion based in Nuremberg, Germany. Jim and I were married in Vejle, Denmark, on Pearl Harbor Day in 1990, together as man (First Lieutenant) and wife for two weeks, and then he was shipped off to engage the Iraqi Republican Guard in the Persian Gulf. I left Europe to wait out the war back in the States and he fortunately returned six months later. I was 17 pounds lighter and dealing with my own version of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a new (and unfortunately “feeling abandoned”) military wife. We celebrated a quick wedding fiesta in the States with family and friends and off we went to Fort Leonard Wood (FLW), in the backwoods of Missouri.

As a recent college graduate with a degree in Sociology, fresh from a semester abroad and life and travel overseas, I was completely unprepared for the drudgery of life on a military base in “Misery.” Born and raised on Long Island, close to New York City, it was a shock to be cautioned not to take my New York style of dress and attitude – and our new silver Mazda Miata convertible – outside the base. I was warned it was “Deliverance Country” out there. Better to play it safe and stay in our tract home with the AC on, watching Oprah and learning how to be a good homemaker and officer’s wife.

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