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Twenty Years as a Military Spouse

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By MARGARET TERKOVICH

As my 90th birthday will be celebrated on Veterans’ Day this year, I would like to share some wisdom that I have gained.

First: “Love God and all else will follow.”

It is important that military dependents be recognized for their contribution to America. My husband, Frank, spent 20 years in the Air Force. So did I and our six children.

Today, it is understood that Military Readiness starts with the care of military families so that the military member is motivated to serve the nation. In 1953, the attitude was “If the military wanted a soldier to have a family, they would issue one to them!” A lot has changed in the past 60 years. One hardship that has not changed is the long separations that military spouses often have to endure.

When Frank was serving a year in Korea, I gave birth to our first child, Ann, alone in Windy Chicago. Frank came home to serve in Florida, where Amy, our second child, was born.

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Onto a new assignment at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, where it was hot and dry with very little vegetation. There, I gave birth to our third daughter, Mary and our first son, Frances.

Our next assignment was England. I was amazed at how green England was. We experienced The Snow Storm of 1962, but that did not change my opinion of England’s beauty. I loved it there.

I experienced the English system of Midwife birthing with my fifth child, a boy we named Chris, and my last child, Fred.

I could go on and on about the wonders of England. In those days, I could buy fish and chips, which were delicious, for about a dollar and feed the whole family. Milk was delivered to the door. The bread was the best and I developed a taste for Cadbury Chocolate.

Our next assignment was Zaragoza, Spain, famous for the rich historical heritage left by the Romans and Moors, who successively occupied Spain until the 12th Century. As Catholics, we fit into this country very well.

It was a great thing to have the experience of living overseas and it gave us a great love for the USA, but I do believe the children’s schooling was interrupted and it was hard for them settling into so many changes.

After serving four years overseas, Frank put in for a return to Florida, where we had family. The military sent us to California instead.

We thrived in California’s higher desert area, built our first house, and felt at home.

It was 1967 and we had to suffer a yearlong separation while he served in Vietnam. After serving in the war, Frank put in for California, where we were settled. The military sent us to Florida! Dependents have it rough serving the military life. Still, I didn’t let it hold us back.

After retirement, we moved to Brooksville and opened Frank’s Natural Food. Our family was healthy. Maybe vitamins are why I am going to be 90.

Thanks to the military, Frank and I traveled on Space Available. We traveled to Jerusalem, the Holy Land that needs our prayers for peace. Our travels took us to Egypt and to King Tut’s Tomb, which was not very spacious but was full of precious stuff. We rode a camel called California around the pyramids.

One of our travels was to Portugal, where Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three children in 1917. There, hundreds of people pray the Rosary every day for all the needs of the world.

It’s been a wonderful and interesting life for a plumber’s daughter from Chicago – a plumber who was a World War I Marine who singlehandedly captured 78 Germans. But that’s a story for another day.

I can say, serving in the military is not always easy for a family, but it is always a blessing for the whole nation.

Here are my six secrets for a long and happy life:
Love God and everyone
Obey God’s commandments
Go to church and pray every day
Eat right and take vitamins
Exercise
Know and love the person you marry

[Courtesy Photo]

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