In 1971, when Andy was just five months old, my twenty-one year old Air Force Airman husband, Jim left for Vietnam. The experience of saying Goodbye honestly felt like he was swallowed up by the earth. Dramatic, but true. I walked around in a daze for the next year and I say this knowing that as difficult as it was for me and Baby, it was one hundred times harder for my husband.
Years later, he is finally talking about his experience overseas and what it was like coming back to the US. It took him all this time to tell us that he and his fellow servicemen were spit at as they stepped off the plane at the Detroit airport. The months that followed were a nightmare for him. Unfortunately, he felt compelled to dispose of all of the mementos of that time, his ribbons and uniforms. The only thing we have are photographs I hoarded.
In my story Friends to Lovers, (formerly Mademoiselle,) elements from my life wound their way in; the Wiener’s house is the same house I lived in during my high school years. After Jim left, I moved home with Andy. The map of Vietnam on the wall with the stick pins following the fighting was on my bedroom wall. The fear of the unmarked car pulling up to the house was my fear. And gratefully, never realized.
I love the story of the young girl and her dreams of living a certain kind of life and then discovering it is far different than what will bring her joy.