In Honor of the Ironing Board Brigade: THE SERVICE WIFE

Submitted by Marcia S Klaas, original author unknown

What is a service wife?? You might say the service wife is a bigamist, sharing her husband with another demanding entity called “DUTY”. When duty calls, she becomes wife number two. Until she accepts her competition, her life can be miserable.

Above all, she is womanly, although there are times she begins to wonder … Like the time when “HER” serviceman answers the call to duty, and she finds herself mowing the lawn. Then she suspects she is part male.

She usually comes in three sizes: Petite, plump, and more pleasingly plump. Amidst constantly changing settings, she finds it difficult to determine what her true size is.

A service wife is international. She may be an Iowa farm girl, a French mademoiselle, a Japanese doll, or an ex-Army nurse, but when discussing her problems with newly found friends, she speaks the same language and from the same general experience.

At least one of her children is born or one move is accomplished while she is alone. She beings to suspect her husband has a secret pact with the service that sends him on TDY or overseas at those times.

She can be a good actress watching her children’s hearts break at transfer time. She can give an academy award performance: “Arizona is going to be such fun! I hear they have Indian reservations, tarantulas, and “RATTLESNAKES”. But inside, her heart is breaking with theirs, and she wonders if this service life is worth the sacrifices.

One day later, en route to the new assignment and filled with the high spirit of adventure, she knows it’s worth it. That is, if the baby hasn’t come down with a virus, or the twins with the measles.

An ideal service wife has the patience of an angel, the flexibility of putty, the wisdom of a scholar, and the stamina of a horse. If she dislikes money it helps. She is a dreamer: “We’ll never move again”. An optimist: “The next place will be better”. A realist: “Oh well, as long as we’re together”, and a sentimentalist, carrying her memories with her in the old footlocker.

The service wife fills many rolls; the tired traveler coming down the ramp with a smile on her lips and the sparkle of love in her eyes. The wife whose husband has offered her the permanency of a gypsy’s life, the miseries of loneliness, the frustrations of conformity, and the security of love.

Squeezed in among her packing boxes with squabbling children nearby she is sometimes prone to forget it all. Then she hears the reassuring step and the cheerful voice of the guy who gave her all this … and something close to her heart tells her she will always be happy being “HIS” service wife.

 

 

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