The other day, i received a Facebook post with a digital story telling from a young friend…well, she’s younger than me, but that is becoming just about everybody. Regardless, the story was impressive, and i dwelt on how to write something about what a wonderful and caring person she was and remains.
i considered our get together from a couple of years ago. i was pretty much retired, and she was planning for retirement when we met, and sort of got to that stage. But not really. We both still have things to accomplish. The dinner we shared with spouse and friends was delightful. Then we had coffee on a Sunday morning. We caught up. Her accomplishments are remarkable and in keeping with her caring.
Then, i remembered our past. i began an email to my family: wife, daughters, son-in-law, brother and his wife, sister and her husband. Then i changed my mind.i thought she might find it embarrassing, maybe even a little offensive, especially considered the status she has obtained. So i asked for her permission to tell the story.
i do not know how many of you tell my story of “Kathy the Drunk.” If i have related that story to you, this is a bit of an expanded version.
In April 1969, the USS Hawkins (DD 873) returned to its home port of Newport, Rhode Island after completing its overhaul in the Boston Naval Shipyard and almost three months of refresher training or “REFTRA” at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. i returned to an empty nest. My wife of six months had left me and filed for divorce. i had waived my rights to delay the divorce under the “Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act” because i realize contesting the divorce would just make things worse. Still i was in a dejected state and returning to a wonderful apartment on Tuckerman Avenue looking directly across Easton Bay to the Breakers, Vanderbilt’s summer mansion, was not a joyous occasion.
The small bedroom, spacious living area, tiny kitchen and bath was only half filled with what Jane had determined was mine. i had married believing it was for my lifetime and that half-empty apartment poured fuel on the fire of my angst.
The marriage was one of the dumber things i’ve done in my life, putting her in a most difficult situation without my realizing it. But i was committed for my lifetime, or so i thought, until that empty, desolate, feeling hit me when i opened that door.