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It was 1970.
I was a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), marching for peace and wielding a protest sign.
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My future husband supported Richard Nixon, was flying in a helicopter over rice paddies and clutched an M16.
That the likes of the two of us should meet and fall in love was nowhere in my consciousness. If a fortune-teller had shown me this future, I would have demanded a refund.
But there we were, several years later, at a party where neither of us belonged. The men, mostly airline pilots, were of no interest to me. Instead, my heart riveted to the tall, wiry guy with a sexy beard.
That tall, handsome man insists he had his eyes on a striking blonde until I intervened.
There was no denying what brought us together: that animal magnetism that makes two people unable to sleep, eat or think unless they are with each other.
Within weeks we were a couple. And we began to learn about each other’s lives.
He doled out his war experiences in snippets, tiny morsels he fed me whenever I persisted. But it wasn’t an easy topic for him to discuss.
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Upon coming home from Vietnam, he had walked off the plane and into the bathroom, where he took off his uniform and stuffed it into the trash. He walked out a civilian, pushing his war experiences to the far corners of his mind to gather cobwebs.
He is still a civilian, but the memories couldn’t stay buried forever. They came rushing forward after he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor attributed to Agent Orange.
One day during his recuperation, he asked me if I wanted to go to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) bar for a drink.
That cramped, smoky room was not my idea of a good time.
But after years of subjecting him to poetry readings, vintage markets and incense to keep the spiritual balance in our home, I figured I owed him this much.