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Friday, March 23, 2012

All the Wives Shared One Fear: Would Their Husbands Survive Vietnam? #Literary

Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel

By Phyllis Zimbler Miller

President Nixon announces he is sending U.S. troops into Cambodia ... April 30, 1970

“It has been said that when a man acquires a commission, the government has gained not one, but two – the officer and his wife.” Mrs. Lieutenant booklet

They drive around the western edge of Lake Michigan, past the industrial suburbs of Chicago, down into the flat farmland of Indiana, their tiny convertible a bright yellow bug boring through the cornfields.

Sharon Gold moves her cramped right foot, and the Farberware coffeepot bangs against her shin. Then the brown paper grocery bag with its open boxes of cereal and crackers shifts across her seatbelted lap.

It certainly can't be said that they have all their earthly possessions with them. When you have a car as small as a Fiat, you take only the barest necessities: Suitcases with summer clothes and bedding tied atop the luggage rack.

Their wedding gifts, their books and her stereo, and the rest of their clothes remain at her parents' home, moved there from Robert's one-room apartment on Sheridan Drive they shared after their wedding.

The branch transfer to military intelligence from infantry has come through! Robert's orders are to report to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for nine weeks of Armor Officers Basic to fulfill the requirement of a combat arms course before military intelligence training. "Why combat arms training?" she asked him when he received his new orders. "Surely you'll have a desk job. That's the whole point of getting the branch transfer." Robert didn’t answer.

Her purse holds the official army reporting packet sent to Robert. The orders for Ft. Knox say nothing about his wife. Robert reminded her of the old army joke: “If the army had wanted him to have a wife, they would have issued him one.”

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