Rosie's Story

My Husband is Home At Last!

I never thought I would see my man again, but today his father and younger brother went to pick him up at the Tampa Airport. I am worried with excitement, and fearful he wont love me anymore.
This has been a frightful and tearful year.
I wouldn't get any mail for days on end and watching the news on TV , I see all the death and destruction that is happening in Vietnam I was sick with worry on my man's wellbeing.
We did get a letter from the Red Cross saying he was wounded leading a counter attack against a hostile force September 19,1967, and was recuperating in the Military Hospital located in Tuy Hoa South Vietnam and was to be MEDEVAC'd to the Specialized Treatment Centre located at Ft. Gordon Georgia.

I remember the 4th of October Dad came home madder than I ever seen him and he said " well Chuck called today and he's in Ward A Room 13 and will call you when they let him.
Oh dad how did he sound? "I don't know", all I asked him was, "where was my F**king money for rent?
He's getting Red Cross to get a money order to send me".

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Here my man is laying wounded in a Hospital only seven hours away by bus and they won't let me go see him.
It has been a terrible morning Corky hasn't been feeling good but our little Angel Jinney Lee is sleeping peacefully, Chucks Mom has been walking around in a nervous type trance.
She went to Granmothers house on the 23rd of September and called the Doctor at Ft. Gordon, and I heard her tell Dad that the doctor was holding him from visitors for at least three weeks, because he was shell shocked??
I don't understand, but they won't take time to explain anything to me.
I remember when my dads friends came for their vacation to Disney World all the way from Germany, they wouldn't even let me visit with them here at the house.
I love him with all my Heart, he has always talked how good his Mom and Dad are but all I have seen and had has been Grief.

' He's Home! my God my mans Home! '
He stands there in his dress Green uniform looking great and his smile is back but his eyes there is something wrong.
The Blue Eyes I knew that were filled with, Love, Hope, Excitement seem dull and cold.
He hugs me tight and the first thing he say's to me is " Ich libe dich" ,I love you in German.
Oh thank you God you answered my prayers by sending my man home to me,
Thank You, Thank You.

I have this feeling that our lives have been changed forever but no matter the change we will work it out for I know we love each other.
I remember our first meeting in Germany his easy happy go lucky ways along with that Southern politeness always showing respect and care for me and my family.
We spent the afternoon in the breakfast nook drinking Tea and talking about everybody but us.
Mom asked him how bad he was wounded and he got very irritated with her and said I'm home all that was yesterday and I'm looking to tomorrow and seeing how my career is going to hold up here in the Army.
It was only a nine day visit but our concern was with us moving to Georgia to be together again, and we spent every possible second together, he didn't want me out of his sight.
The lady from across the street who had become a friend came over and was talking to Chuck but I noticed he avoided all her Questions on what went on over there [vietnam] she was inquiring about the ribbons that were on his uniform, his only reply was that they were there to show he had been in combat in vietnam and then the subject was changed.

He was in the Bedroom holding our daughter up and telling her how much he loved her and all the things we were going to do as a family. My heart is filled with joy, but the joy will be short lived with fearful nights and uncertain days.
By helping with this story my life has made changes for the better.
All these years I was afraid to speak because all I heard from Chuck's mom is that how lucky I was cause he had the pick of any girl in Bartow and how they all thought he was a catch, but what she has never realized is our love is so great that we were lovers first but now we are the best of friends to and we depend on each others thoughts, knowledge and feelings above all other articles be it money, or just material things.
I can truthfully say this we have had our arguments but we never and I mean never have gone to bed angry with each other.
We always stayed up and became one with any problem even though one or the other might have to concede to end the problem. I know this sounds like a fantasy but we agreed upon this when we were first going together due to our cultural differences, me being German and him "dare I say Red neck" no he had  always been a gentleman, until that year he spent fighting in Vietnam.

Chuck has been gone four days now and not a word. I worry so about him for there is something he is holding deep in his thoughts and won't let out.

A letter came today and it was from Chuck, and he will be home this Wednesday but he has a ride from the Airport with one of his friends from the Hospital so don't pick him up.
I see a car in the driveway and it's my man and he looks excited about something. "We're moving to Agusta Georgia", Chuck has been given living off base privileges.
Finally out of this crazy house and away from the lies, and family deception of love.
Chuck has rented us a Trailer close to the base (Ft. Gordon).
First things first we decide to trade in the Volkswagen due to the state of repair its in from Chuck's Dad and Brother Driving it without checking to see if had or needed to be serviced.

It is like old times even with the different mood swings Chuck has.
We had made an early agreement in our marriage to walk away from each other if we got to where we might or could say something that would be harmful to the other. We knew that sometimes words are spoken in haste and not meant to be said, and after this you really can't undo what's been said or done. Chuck always spoke of his Wood Shop Teacher drilling into his logic that never say "you can't until you can then there is no use". Even while we were raising the kids soon to be three.

Yes Chuck always called Corky his Honeymoon Son even though we never had a honeymoon, and Jennie Lee his going away gift, and this baby he swears he's going to name caboose if a boy and caboose if another daughter.
"God" am I happy we are pulling out for Ft. Gordon in our brand new second hand Chevey Malibu four door car.
I'm pretty sick with the pregnancy but as long as we are together it doesn't matter.
Corky is having hard times adjusting to Chucks being in the picture now. I won't to tell him how bad we were treated but I'm going to wait for the right time if it ever comes.
Chuck asked me why Corky was shy and afraid of him. I had to tell him about how his dad would get drunk and would tell Corky "your dad ran away and doesn't love you, so now I'm your Daddy" .
This I was afraid would come back to haunt us as it did.

The Trailer was almost a disaster but it would have to do.
It was hard to find a good home to rent or even buy due to huge amount Troops moving in and out of Ft. Gordon for Vietnam.

It's three in the morning and I awoke alone in bed.
I got up to find chuck sitting behind a chair peering out the window.
When I called his name out it was like  he awoke from being somewhere else, which really frightened me. Later I was to find out after talking with other wives at the Maternity Clinic that the ones who had been in the thick of combat were all just about the same way. They called it 'Hyper Vigilance' and this came about from being in fear of dying for having to go on so many missions of aggression, and being under fire.

One night we were sitting alone the kids being in bed asleep I told Chuck of all the wounded men we saw in the Hospital and how they would look at us with such sad and forlorn faces and that sometimes you would see tears streaking down their blood stained faces, and they would give us a little wave with their finger tips.
He asked me if we waved back and I had to say yes and this was the first time I ever saw my man cry, and all he said to me was thank you. He said when they looked at us they were thinking of their own loved ones, and there tears were tears of joy and happiness of finally being home again with the thoughts of better things to come.

It has been a year now since my man coming home lots has happened.
We had a son born in July and we named him John Paul after John Paul Jones the patriot and because this was the last patriotic thing for Chuck to do while in the service.

To many nights I have found him up and about looking for what wasn't there "Charlie" [viet cong soldiers] We are living in Augusta and we have a new home {second hand} I have learned to deal with Chuck's nightmares even waking up being choked by him thinking he was back in Nam and me, well I was seen as the enemy he had fought so hard in the jungles of that far off place.
It's getting better now Chucks working as a Land Navigation Instructor with "D" Company better known as Dusty Delta of the intelligence training the Cadre put those men through. They were rated the most efficient Training Company at Ft. Gordon.
I know that was a sore spot with Chuck cause he always said these guys are asked to fight for what our President and Congress tell them to fight for but they won't even let them drink a beer when they are expected to terminate another humans life, there is no justice in it.

I have to act as a buffer zone between chuck and the kids.
Everything must be done by the book rooms clean dishes washed, clothing picked up ect ect. Everyday I miss the Man I married but I'm falling in Love all over again with this man with scars running deep especially mentally.
It's the first of May 1969 and Chuck has been having problems with his back, hip, and there seems to be a piece shrapnel working out of his wrist and it's all festered up.
I know how he hates to go on sick call for he has told me time an again sick call is for wussies, he promises to go tomorrow cause the Gray Ghost [platoon sergeant friend] has told him to take care of it.

Chuck came home tonight in a different mood than I have ever seen, I am scared to say anything.
I know I could cause a volcano to erupt if I push him to talk, I've gone down this path to many times so I will Keep Quite for now.
Chuck got up and showered and prepared for bed.
I was tired from today's washing its murder with three kids and all those fatigues [Army work uniform] to starch and iron so I to showered and tried to slip in bed without waking my gentle warrior.

I felt his hand touch mine and he said in a soft choking voice that he had been promoted to Sergeant First Class E-7 but was denied because the Doctor had rated him unfit for duty because of his service connected wounds, and that they were boarding him out of the service in three weeks.
I touched his face and felt the warm tears cascading down his cheeks in silence, all I could think of to say was "We'll make it you have already been to Hell this will be easy".
I wish, but this wish will be short lived for I have more heartaches to come.

Rosie Maskolunas.