This is the way it was in 60’s

Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day.

Not all memories are good for families that served. Some are sad, some are joyful, some are tales of survival.

I thought in honor of Veteran’s Day, I’d share my memories of…

A different time…

At 18, I landed my first summer job that didn’t involve aprons and menus. I needed the money to pay for my wedding and typing eight to ten hours in the new computer room at the carpet mill would get me closer to my goal. I wasn’t keen on working swing shifts, but it beat waiting tables and paid a heck of a lot more. The first mill in our parts to have a computer room gave me a little more respect around the house and about time too as far as I was concerned. At least something I’d taken in high school was useful in getting me out of our packed house.

It was a scary time. Buses arrived each week, friends climbed on board. Soon my love joined other young men bound for a world far from our one-light town. I cried and clutched his hand through the bus window. Our wedding now postponed by war.

Months passed like a turtle crossing a road. I planned and prayed. Planned for my wedding and a new life far from home.

But now, he was in uniform on the other side of the world in a bad place. His phone calls were not really phone calls so much as radio calls. Short wave radio operators all over the world hopscotched his rare calls to me, listening in so they would know when to hit relay switches. Awkward pauses, and empty minutes until I would hear his voice. Every word spoken was monitored and time limited. His letters, few and far between.

While he dodged bullets, I worked, planned, dreamed and waited for our new life to begin.

Home safe a year later, we were married in 1967. No dress blues, instead he wore a tux for the ceremony. Orders were to wear civilian clothes when on leave. Wearing his uniform was dangerous. Yes, even in the States.

Three weeks after the wedding, we loaded a small Uhaul trailer, and with ten dollars in our pockets, we arrived at our new home, at base a thousand miles from family.

We were fearless, and nothing seemed impossible, not after all he’d endured. It was 1968 and like so many of my generation, we started our family in a small apartment in a military town. My husband finished out his service without returning to harm’s way. We were a couple of the lucky ones. Not everyone was as lucky.

To all those who served, thank you.

Vietnam Memorial


Do you have memories of a different time?

A different war?

I’d love to hear from you, let me know how you’re doing! Leave a comment or click the “write me” tab or look for me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! The lights are on, and I’m waiting.

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12 thoughts on “This is the way it was in 60’s

  1. In 1968 we were at each other’s throats just like now. Half my friends enlisted, half my friends protested. Riots broke out in Chicago at the DNC, Detroit and Watts. We elected a President who promised to unite the country and tore it apart. Drugs were three years away from hitting our high school campus, and in three years the high school principal, vice-principal and school superintendent would be fired because their enforcement of the dress code would almost shut the school down.

    Veterans felt unappreciated by protesters, never understanding that many of us never doubted their sacfrice. Our argument was with the politicians who sent them overseas. So it is today. Soldiers should never have to pay for the callous miscalculations of politicians, as many of us fear they will with the new “boots on the ground” mentality which will once again ensure our young men and women in a hopeless war in the middle east less than ten years after we accomplished nothing but creating new strongholds of terrorism and giving rise to the Islamic State.

    If only our politicians could look back and realize the communists are still in power in Vietnam, we created a power vacumm in Iraq, the Taliban continues to threaten in Afghanistan and we once again want to put our young men in danger. Soldiers have other roles to play in national security and world peace than combat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right. Some think it was a simpler, nicer time. It wasn’t. Those who didn’t enlist were drafted. Didn’t give young men much of an option.
      I cringe every time I hear politicians talk about reinstating the draft. They are usually the ones who have no idea what it was like. How soon people forget and as the saying goes repeats the same mistakes.


  2. It was nice to hear a happily ever after story. There were too many bad endings in the 60’s. What bothered me the most was that as an enlisted soldier all you do is follow orders. When those hero’s returned home they were jeered at and cussed at, it was disgraceful. Many men and women lost their lives fighting in Viet Nam, it was not their choice. Many are still having PTSD still. It doesn’t matter where a soldier goes he/she is still protecting the U.S. and it’s citizens.
    Any way it was nice to read a good ending. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

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