The base at Quantico was an interesting place for a country girl like me. I enjoyed watching the marines march and hear the band play when there would be assemblies and ceremonies on the parade ground. No matter how hard I tried, though, I could never pick Roy out of the crowd of marching marines as they filed by. Sometimes, there were ceremonies in Washington that they would march in, too. Us wives would gang up by the carload and go proudly watch our hubbies strut their stuff, along with hundreds, or maybe thousands of other military men from other locations. The Marine Corps band often performed and there were fly-overs and performances by various flying groups, including the Blue Angels. Military choirs sometimes sang, too. They were unbelievably good.
I loved Washington. It was so big and clean and white, at least the part that small town tourists like me saw. We rarely got a REALLY good look at things, though. We always had to race up there to get a good seat, and then rush back so we’d be home when our men returned. Once Roy got the old cab, though, we splurged on gas a few times and went up and drove around a little. I especially liked the old houses in Georgetown. We learned, too, that not every part of D.C. is clean and white. Every state in the union has a street there named after it. We looked at a map and found West Virginia Avenue and went to check it out. They’d put it in a pretty slummy section of town, or else it had become that way afterward. I seriously doubt if anyone from West Virginia actually lived there; I believe they’d have more sense.
One thing that we did while we lived at Quantico was to visit the 1964 New York World’s Fair. None of the marines and their wives really had the money to go there as couples, but by putting three couples in a car and sharing gasoline costs, we filled a few cars and went there convoy-style. New York amazed those of us who’d never been there. Those who have been there will know what I mean. There was so much purse-snatching and such, with the fair going on, that the guys put us gals in the middle as we walked down the street and basically surrounded us as we walked. Lord help any guy who tried to grab the purse of any of us, since there were a dozen or more marines protecting us. We had to ride the subway to get from where we parked to the fair, and that was new to some of us. The fair was huge, and we only had one day, so we saw only a tiny part of what was there, but we enjoyed ourselves. We were a tired bunch of young folks when we arrived home in the wee hours of the morning. Most of the guys only got a short nap before they had to report to work.
I hesitate to tell this, but Roy had been single all his life before marrying me when I was 21 and he was 28. Being around soldiers and sailors all the time, he liked to have his beer. Often, he’d stay over on base when they needed extra help in the diesel garage and help out. Since they were technically off duty, they could drink beer as they worked. One time, he stayed over a little “extra” extra and had a few more beers and came home drunk. I wouldn’t have anything to do with him until he sobered up, then I asked him to never drink again. Amazingly, he never did. I was glad, since I saw one uncle ruin his life and die young that way. © 2016