Lessons Learned: A Military Wife, a Husband, and Another Man---Humor in Uniform

The standard joke of the time when I was married to an Air Force Sergeant was:

"If the Air Force had wanted the guys to have a wife, they would have issued them one."

New military wife

Source

A military wife for only a year, I kissed my husband goodbye early one morning in the summer of 1972 and sent him off to leadership school in Shreveport, Louisiana. He would be gone for four long weeks while he attended leadership training at Barksdale Air Force Base.

This was my first experience and realization that during our marriage my husband would be gone for extended periods of time. I had no idea that military life was a series of TDY's--temporary duty elsewhere. The ironical part of it was, I came to really enjoy those times while he was away. I got to live a little less structured life. Sometimes reassimilating him back into my life was a bit uncomfortable and it took a while to get used to having my new routine change.


Early in my years as an Air Force wife, I really did not look forward to him being away. So when he went to leadership school that summer, I was somewhat filled with angst. But we had it all planned. At the end of the four weeks I would travel to Shreveport to attend graduation exercises and be reunited with my husband. It was our first separation so I did not look forward to it but I could count down the days till we were reunited.

Barksdale Air Force Base

Barksdale Air Force Base is located in the northwest corner of Louisiana.

Because of the climate and military environment in that section of Louisiana, it has become a popular place for military retirees to call home. Many find it a lovely place to work and play.

This base emerged from the cotton fields of Northwestern Louisiana in the early thirties. And now it has become a major source of revenue and employs many in the area.

It is considered to have a pivotal role in providing a large part of the nation's deterrent force. It is a key Air Force Global Strike Command base.

More of my experiences as a military wife

Planning a surprise

It was summer and since school was closed for the summer, and I had no teacher workshops to attend, my three month old daughter and I packed up my little red Duster and headed south from Albany, Georgia, to Rainbow Lakes Estates in Dunnellon, Florida, to spend those four weeks with my parents.

The plan was for me to drive to Shreveport at the end of the leadership school to attend graduation and drive home with my beloved. My Mother would care for my baby daughter while I was away.

Anxious to be reunited with him, I decided to go up on day early so that I could surprise him. I packed up a bag and hung the new red and white skirt and white blouse I had bought just for graduation and drove to Shreveport.

When I arrived, I was rather travel weary as I had not fully recovered for the C section I had when my daughter was born. At the time I had mine, the incision ran from just below the navel down as close to Miami as it could get. I had had some complications and the doctor really was not too thrilled at the prospects of me making the long drive alone but he did say I could go.

The Excitement of Witnessing This Never Diminishes

show route and directions
A markerBarksdale Air Force Base Shreveport Louisiana -
Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, LA, USA
[get directions]

Location of the Leadership Schools

B markerRainbow Lakes Estates, Dunnellon Florida -
Rainbow Lakes Estates, Dunnellon, FL 34431, USA
[get directions]

Location of my Momma and Daddy's home

C markerAlbany Georgia -
Albany, GA, USA
[get directions]

Location of the home my daughter, husband, and I shared.

Preparing for our reunion

Upon arriving I checked in and settled into my hotel room.

After a short nap, I called the leadership school and asked to speak to Scotty. Informed that he was not there. I asked if I could leave message for him.

“This is Patricia Scott. Can you please ask him to go to them Howard Johnson’s here by the base. Maybe you can tell him you all are going out to dinner. I want to surprise him.”

Assured that they would do just that, I hung up the phone and dressed for dinner. The restaurant was so close to the hotel where I was staying that I made the short walk in no time.


The tables were turned

When I arrived at the restaurant, I was seated at a small table and waited for my husband to arrive. Before long, four handsome men came in the restaurant doors laughing and joking as they did. They were seated at a table not far from mine.. Three of them were very young men near my husband's age of 23 and the fourth one was thirty-fivish. The four of them were having a high spirited conversation which after a while stopped. I became aware that they had stopped joking and laughing The laughter filled room was now filled with whispers. The whispers became loud enough for me to hear.

I was able to hear: “Someone’s got to tell her. Someone’s got to tell her.”

After a few minutes, the tall, dark haired handsome man who was older than the others was at my side. He extended his hand to me and said:

“Hi, I am John Scott. Everyone calls me Scotty.”

I looked at him somewhat in disbelief and looked around. Smiling, I said, “Oh. So where is my Scotty?” I thought this was all a part of the surprise. Maybe they were trying to surprise me too.

Reunited with my husband at last

John stopped for a few seconds, walked briskly to his table across the restaurant and retrieved his glass of soda. When he sat down once again, he continued.

"Since you are the only other person here in the restaurant and you appear to be waiting for someone, I realized some mistake was made. As it happens I have met your husband and do remember him in particular because we share the name Scotty Scott.

Do not worry. I can straighten this out in a very few minutes.”

Sitting there in amazement I could not really believe what had just happened. How could it be? It was too much. And I only hoped that I did not get my husband in some kind of trouble. Being relatively new at being a military wife I was not certain if this whole incident could have a negative effect on him. As it turned out, it did not.

John Scotty Scott did as he promised. He contacted the NCO leadership school and my Scotty was tracked down. Within an hour, he was there. The reunion ended up not being a surprise as by this time I was no longer interested in surprising anyone. By this time, I just wanted to hug his neck. He already knew most of the story so I did not need to provide many details. He laughed as I filled in the bits and pieces he did not know.

Source

The story unfolds

“May I sit down, Ms. Scott,” he asked in a most pleasant way. Do you mind if I call you Patricia? I think I can explain."

He went on to tell me what had happened.

“There were two leadership schools here this summer. One was an officer’s leadership school and the other was the NCO leadership school. What you did was call the Officer’s leadership school. Since I am known as Scotty no one realized it was not my wife who was calling. My friends here," motioning with a wave of his hand," invited me to come to dinner with them thinking they would be in on the big surprise.

When we got here, they did not see my wife anywhere in sight.hey had met earlier in the summer when she accompanied me to the Base. They decided they must tell me why they had brought me to the restaurant," he continued.

More surprises

There is one more twist to this tale. John Scott’s wife’s name was also Patricia. Two Scotty’s, two Patricia’s. One officers leadership school, one NCO leadership school---a great deal of confusion.

The next day was the graduation. After graduation there was a reception for all of the graduates. It was a casual affair and everyone walked around and introduced their spouses and celebrated. Not remarkably, John Scott was there. When he saw me he smiled, walked over, and introduced his wife to me.

As he walked over, I noticed the young GI’s saluting him. He returned the salutes of course.

I asked my husband later why they were saluting John. It was because he an officer and he had been in charge of the leadership schools. I had not become familiar with the routines of saluting at this point as a military wife.

It could not be. He had apologized for the confusion at the restaurant. He had found my husband and had gotten him to the restaurant in a timely fashion. And never once did he mention his busy schedule or how much he had to do.

He had already endeared himself to me because of all he had done to help resolve the little confusing situation.. After I found out who he was, I guess you could say I was in complete awe of him. It was our good fortune to cross paths with the Scotts again several times while my husband was in the Air Force.

This turned out to be a much more eventful trip than I could have ever have imagined. Throughout the years many more unexpected surprises awaited us. Most of them would have equally lighthearted outcomes just as this one had.

© 2012 Patricia Scott

More by this Author


Comments 35 comments

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida Author

Hi Stella this was so funny...in hindsight...at first, not so much...but looking back over it we have hee hawed over it many times.

Nice to see you visiting.

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 20 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Glad it all turned out so good for you and your husband. It was a coincidence about the name. Now you are left with the memories that make you smile. Great hub, Stella


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida Author

I was not a military brat (my Daddy was out of the Army Air Corps by the time I was born) but I was an Air Force wife and loved it.

Thanks for coming to visit...it was a lovely story to share.

Angels are on the way to you, Marlene


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 21 months ago from Northern California, USA

Being one who grew up as a military brat and being married to a military man, I could identify with parts of your experience. I enjoyed your story and glad it had a happy ending.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida Author

Being a military wife did have its challenges and moving was one of them. It was hard sometimes because you had really close friends and after a few years you moved thousands of miles away and never saw them again.

But overall I loved it. Traveling and learning about other places was thrilling and taught me so much.

Thanks for visiting dahoglund

Angels are winging their way to you this evening ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida Author

It was a series of 'coinkydinks' that no one would believe had they not been a part of it. and it turned out so nicely....John Scott has a consummate gentleman in every respect. Thanks for visiting

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida Author

O as I wrote this article I chuckled and was right back there...it was an experience I will long remember.

Thank you so much for your kind words...I am glad you enjoyed reading it, colorfulone

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I was a civilian employee of the Army. Militaty and civilians often worked together but some rules are different. Generally military people did not like taking instruction from civilians, for example. Most of the men had military seervice themselves. In some cases the military wives were military themselves. I do think family life would be difficult becausse of the frequent reloations. A woman soldier told me that they had possessions in storage sheds in three different locations.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

That is really a story that has to be told. What a coincidence or several coincidences.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 21 months ago from Minnesota

PS, I really do have respect for military personal and their families. You endured with a wonderful sense of humor. This warmed my heart to read while I got a peek into your lives. Interesting hub to share.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida Author

Being a military wife was quite an experience. It was an adventure I will always cherish.

That visit to Barksdale will forever be a part of me. John Scott was indeed an amazing leader and precious person.

Angels are winging their way to you this morning, My Friend. H0ping you have a lovely week. ps


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

It sounds like that officer was made of good stuff! Glad it all turned out well and that you were finally reunited with your husband after a short while. Sounds as though you enjoyed the travel that came from being a military wife judging from the comments. Will share this with others who may be contemplating that type of life.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Yes, Wilderness, It was a totally different lifestyle. I fear that I became a Bedouin, feeling a need to move from place to place, as a result of military life. I loved it for so many reasons.

And, yes, we young ones did get in a pickle or two but all did come out AOK. thank you for visiting. Sending Angels your way.. I will be over to visit soon. :) ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Yes, Wilderness, It was a totally different lifestyle. I fear that I became a Bedouin, feeling a need to move from place to place, as a result of military life. I loved it for so many reasons.

And, yes, we young ones did get in a pickle or two but all did come out AOK. thank you for visiting. Sending Angels your way.. I will be over to visit soon. :) ps


wilderness profile image

wilderness 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Hilarious, and thanks for sharing. Military life really is different, isn't it, and young spouses very often find themselves in situations much different from what they've experienced before.

Glad all turned out well, though.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Good morning Shiningirisheyes..

the years I spent as a military wife were decidedly different from my life after those years. They were years that gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow so much. I am so blessed that I had the opportunities I have had. Even situations like the Scotty confusion remain with me today.Thank you for stopping by...it is always good to see you...sending Angels your way ps :)


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Good morning Shiningirisheyes..

the years I spent as a military wife were decidedly different from my life after those years. They were years that gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow so much. I am so blessed that I had the opportunities I have had. Even situations like the Scotty confusion remain with me today.Thank you for stopping by...it is always good to see you...sending Angels your way ps :)


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Good morning Shiningirisheyes..

the years I spent as a military wife were decidedly different from my life after those years. They were years that gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow so much. I am so blessed that I had the opportunities I have had. Even situations like the Scotty confusion remain with me today.Thank you for stopping by...it is always good to see you...sending Angels your way ps :)


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

I have great respect for anyone in the military as well as their loved ones. No one thinks of the sacrifices the family makes as well.

On another note, thanks for the much needed and gut busting laugh!!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

rfmoran...Despite the little glitches I would not trade the years spent as a military wife for anything. I had the opportunity to live overseas which, with, at the risk of sounding trite, was life changing. thank you for stopping by. :) sending Angels your way ps You can read about my adventures at

http://hubpages.com/travel/Japan-Through-the-Eyes-...


rfmoran profile image

rfmoran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

A very well told tale. Having served myself, while married, it rings true to me.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

It was quite an adventure. I had traveled all that way and thought, O, my, I may not see my husband after all. But John came to the rescue. What a blessing he was. It was the coolest thing. He made me feel so at ease and assured me all would be well.

So glad to see you stopping by. ps :)


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Hi Mh...I am blessed that I had the chance to be a military wife as it opened up so many new experiences for me. It also forced me to grow up real fast. I had lead a rather sheltered childhood so even in my early twenties, I admit, I needed to do so me growing up.

I hope your friend's experiences have been good ones.

thank you for stopping by. :) ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Hi Mh...I am blessed that I had the chance to be a military wife as it opened up so many new experiences for me. It also forced me to grow up real fast. I had lead a rather sheltered childhood so even in my early twenties, I admit, I needed to do so me growing up.

I hope your friend's experiences have been good ones.

thank you for stopping by. :) ps


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for sharing this. One of my friends was in the navy. My wife and I babysat his wife before he was transferred to Florida.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

It seems, ps, that being a military wife takes a very special personality - a woman who can be loving but also independent; who can function on her own without being lonely.

So happy you found your hubby that night. John Scotty Scott seems to be a very nice guy, too.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

tirelesstraveler....the military years there were ten of them were years that I will never forget. So many lovely friends and memories to last a life time. So glad you stopped by.

Sending Angels your way. :0 ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

tirelesstraveler....the military years there were ten of them were years that I will never forget. So many lovely friends and memories to last a lifetime. So glad you stopped by.

Sending Angels your way. :0 ps


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

LOL!

Some of the best memories I have of our early married years are the silly things that happened while we were in the military. Those people are still great friends. We were in the Navy for the first three years we were married.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Hi, Bill

It was definitely a learning curve. It definitely was a different kind of life but I am thankful for the experience. I think it taught me to be more independent and to make more decisions for myself.

Sending angels your way, my Friend. :) ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

Hi, Bill

It was definitely a learning curve. It definitely was a different kind of life but I am thankful for the experience. I think it taught me to be more independent and to make more decisions for myself.

Sending angels your way, my Friend. :) ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

You are right. I did feel like I had entered a whole new world. And yes, John Scott, was pretty amazing. It turned out to be a wonderful weekend, thank goodness.

Thank you for stopping by. Sending Angels your way. :) ps


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida Author

You are right. I did feel like I had entered a whole new world. And yes, John Scott, was pretty amazing. It turned out to be a wonderful weekend, thank goodness.

Thank you for stopping by. Sending Angels your way. :) ps


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I have often thought, PS, that the life of a military wife is much harder than the life of a military man. The traveling, the uprooting, the many months alone...it is not an easy life, but it is one you have some fond memories of. Thank you for sharing these; I find them very interesting.

blessings my friend,

bill


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

You must have felt like a fish out of water-- luckily you ran into a very understanding officer. Voted up, funny and interesting.

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