Combat Boots

my new boots

Recently I saw the Boot Girls on tv, 5 ordinary women from Texas trying to make a difference for returning veterans. Simple idea really, you buy boots and some of the money goes to a foundation that supports veterans when they come home. Reality is, whether you are a hawk or a dove, we have a volunteer army that is in harm’s way. My father was a career army man. He made it up the “chain” as a non com to Command Sergeant Major. He was a gentle person who rarely raised his voice, yet he was in the army. I think he loved the tidiness, the comraderie, the adventure, and how he felt dressed in a uniform. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He traveled out of Brooklyn, and met his wife in her totally destroyed hometown in Germany where the Army decided to put their base. In the years following he had two daughters and as a family we traveled back and forth from army bases in Germany and France to civilian digs in America while he was working on base. While he was in Korea twice and Vietnam twice, we stayed stateside, and mom became a “single parent”. Quite frankly she always was the “one in charge” at home, so there was continuity. What there wasn’t however, were support groups for army wives, not that our independent and strong mother would have attended. We were always the new family in town, always the odd family out, always the interlopers. On the army bases, moving in and out was the norm, but “in the states” people generally stayed put, went to school from kindergarten through college always having a “hometown”, and “best friends” and “neighbors”. Is it any wonder that “Our Town” by Thorton Wilder is my favorite play? I longed to have those words part of my reality.


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