Happy Anniversary to My Husband


Dearest Readers:

Good morning, Everyone. I hope your day is splendid. I am posting something today, not to get personal wishes. Today, I am posting just to wish my husband, Phil Cooper, Happy Anniversary. We started our marriage off with many road blocks and detours. Three months after our marriage, I watched him board a plane from Charleston to Fort Dix and then to Viet Nam. Over the years, we’ve had other storms and battles, but we have always walked tall and survived. Today, is our anniversary. I will not share how many years. Just know, I was a teenage bride. Everyone in my family said our marriage would not last. They said I must be pregnant.  His family said I married him for his money? Were both families wrong! If I was pregnant at the time of our marriage, I do believe it was the longest pregnancy in history — three years, to be exact.

Isn’t it strange how cruel and vindictive some families can be! Instead of wishing us well, they criticized. Instead of taking the time to really get to know me as a wife, his mother said I ‘stole her son.’ Stole her son??? Excuse me. IF anyone stole her son, it was the United States Army!

As you know, I am a singer. My dream in life was to become a professional singer, but I lacked the confidence that I could REALLY sing, until we started going to karaoke. Repeatedly, I have people tell me I have an amazing voice and stage presence. Many times, I blink my eyes, almost in disbelief. If only I had that confidence and encouragement in my younger years.

There is a song I sing occasionally, especially when my lady friends request it. This song holds a piece of my heart. What is the song title, you say? ‘YOU DON’T OWN ME!’

“You don’t own me. Don’t try to change me in any way. You don’t own me. Don’t tie my down cause I’ll never stay…”

So symbolic to me! Why? I got married at a time where many women automatically took the name of their husband, and so I became: Mrs. Phillip R. Cooper. ?? I remember asking myself why I must address myself as Mrs. PRC. Didn’t I STILL have a name? Whatever happened to me and my maiden name? I did not like to address myself as “Mrs. Cooper.” I wanted to have my name. My independence. Just because I got married does not mean I stopped existing! All of the letters Phil wrote to me in Viet Nam were addressed to Mrs. Phillip R. Cooper. Gee. I thought I STILL had a name!

So much for my existence! Now, I address myself as Barbie Perkins-Cooper. It tickles me when others address Phil as “Mr. Perkins-Cooper!”

Maybe now he can understand how I feel! I like having my independence. Just because I married does not mean I must toss away who I am!

Today, I wish Phil and I a great anniversary. Over the years, we’ve had our share of issues. I admit, I am a most independent woman and I do not like being told what to do. What woman does? I admit, when we were newlyweds, I allowed him to dictate what to do, how to do it…How to dress…How to wear my hair…etc. ETC! In the 1980’s I finally stood up and spoke and when I did — I truly became the woman I’ve wanted to be. So

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Cypress Gardens

today, I will reminisce about our relationship, thankful we have worked so hard to keep our marriage intact. Tonight, we will celebrate at karaoke. I always say to others, “Marriage is truly a work-in-progress!’ And so, I will continue working. Happy Anniversary to Phil. I’ll not say how many years, but I will say — “We’ve been married forever!”

Your question to me on this night when I sing could be — “Will you sing “You Don’t Own Me.”

Maybe I will. And if I do, I probably have my stage performance ready! Just wait and see.

“You don’t own me….Don’t try to change me in any way. You don’t own me…Don’t tie me down cause I’ll never stay…”

Happy Anniversary, Phil. Thank you for all you’ve done over the years to show me I am worthy and deserving of love, and thank you for sticking it out with me, especially when I fought to rediscover my independence.

In Memory of Pearl Harbor


Dearest Readers:

I would like to take a moment of time, a moment of silence, in memory of Pearl Harbor Day. Today, December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii.

I’ve visited Hawaii twice. Both times, I wanted to tour the memorial; however, it was closed for renovations, improvements, etc. The military holds a special significance inside my heart. I remember studying about the Pearl Harbor attack in history class. One of my class projects was about Pearl Harbor. Although my teacher gave me an A+, and she read my project to the class, she refused to return my project.  This was back in the days of typewriters, not computers. What is a typewriter, you might ask? Before computers and keyboarding typing was a subject in high school. I am thankful I learned to type the correct way, not the hunt, punch, pecking order most people use now.

Reportedly, according to my husband, his father was stationed on the USS Arizona. He survived. Although I met my father-in-law, never did I hear him speak about Pearl Harbor Day and his survival. He didn’t speak much at all, that is, until he was so drunk one could not understand his speech. I honestly do not know what it was like to live at that time, or to see Japanese planes attacking, burning, and destroying beautiful Hawaii, the USS Arizona and other ships and killing so many of our military. Some of the family say my father-in-law drank so much because of Pearl Harbor. I have my doubts about that statement, simply because my father-in-law was quick to blame others for any of his betrayals, deceptions and life in general.

Posted below is a site I discovered while researching about Pearl Harbor. http://www.history.com/news/5-facts-about-pearl-harbor-and-the-uss-arizona

Reading that site, I discovered Elvis Presley helped raise $50,000 in funds for the memorial back in March, 1961. Truly a site worthy of reading, just to learn a bit more about Pearl Harbor.

Twenty-three sets of brothers died on the USS Arizona. One full set of brothers, Kenneth and Russell Warriner, survived the attack. You can read about them by visiting the site: http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/7193335-74/harbor-pearl-kralik

There is much that is written about Pearl Harbor. One interesting topic is the fact that our military veterans rarely talk about their experiences. Reportedly, “The total number of military personnel killed was 2,335, including 2,008 navy personnel, 109 marines, and 218 army. Added to this were 68 civilians, making the total 2403 people dead. 1,177 were from the USS Arizona.” https://visitpearlharbor.org/faqs/how-many-people-died-at-pearl-harbor-during-the-attack/

To all of you who know about Pearl Harbor Day, especially those who had relatives you lost due to these attacks, I would like to thank you for serving your country, or for knowing someone who served during this time. Daily, we lose World War II veterans. Some of those veterans I have had the pleasure of meeting on occasions, and when I see someone wearing a World War II Veteran cap, I give them a hug and say thank you.

Today, I honor all of them by writing a bit about Pearl Harbor Day. On December 7, 1941 at 7:55am, the attack began. East coast time was 12:55pm. I have set my IPhone to alarm me at 12:55pm today. I will share a moment of silence and prayer for the day which “began in infamy.” http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5166

As we make plans to celebrate the holidays, let us remember Pearl Harbor…9-11… and all of the battles the USA sent our precious military to fight for our freedom, including Viet Nam. To our military, I pray for you daily. I thank you for your dedication to America. May we never forget those we’ve lost.

In memory of Pearl Harbor Day I salute and thank all of you. May God bless our country.

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The evening sunset in Hawaii

 

 

 

 

HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY


Dearest Readers:

It is with heartfelt pride I extend a proud and Happy Veteran’s Day to all Veterans who served our country. I have a heart filled with love, respect and pride for ALL VETERANS, especially the Veterans of the “Vietnam conflict.”

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As my loyal readers know, I am married to a Vietnam Veteran. Married only three months when he shipped out for Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day. What a broken-hearted Thanksgiving that day was for me. I remember crying and praying all day long for God to keep my soldier husband safe and to bring him back to me.

Years later, after watching my husband burst into rages, I researched to see what was going on within him. He would not talk to me. When he was tormented, I heard these words: “It don’t mean nothing.”

The fights and rages continued and each time he said, “It don’t mean nothing,” I realized his words meant a lot, especially to me. He was careful. Never did he show his rage in public. He only showed them to me. Never did others see him choking me during nights of fitful sleep. “It don’t mean nothing,” certainly meant something horrifying to him. When we saw the movies about Vietnam, one of the lines by a fighting soldier were: “It don’t mean nothing. Man. It don’t mean nothing.”

I tapped my husband on the shoulder. “You say that all the time to me.”

He looked at me in the darkness of the movie theater.

Once, after playing golf with his closest Vietnam friend, he came home and said: “Jerry thinks I have PTSD.”

“Oh,” I smiled. “Jerry thinks you might have PTSD. Guess what! I KNOW you have PTSD.”

A few weeks later, Phil decided to meet with his doctors at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. The doctors confirmed he definitely had PTSD. For those who might not be aware, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] wasn’t diagnosed until 1980. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/PTSD-overview/ptsd-overview.asp

In this household, PTSD existed much earlier while watching my husband jump practically out of his skin whenever he heard loud noises. Let’s not discuss fireworks. He shivers like a frightened child when he hears them. In the middle of the night, he would straddle me. Hands around my neck, squeezing and choking me while muttering something about “Charlie’s coming,” and a few words I could not understand in a foreign language – Vietnamese style.

On Veterans’ Day, I do not want to digress about Vietnam.

Today, after the election, there is so much hatred in America. How I wish all of those angry people would go to a church and pray — to rid their bodies of the hatred they have. We in America, need to give our new President Elect a chance to make America Great again. We should not beat others, knocking them out of their cars, kicking, screaming cursing at them simply because “You voted for Trump.”

We must move forward. We must fly our USA flags proudly, not burn them. We must say to a Veteran, “Thank you for your service.” Most of all, we should not hate.

To all of you who served our country, I shall say again: “Thank you,” and “May God bless you, and all of us in the United States of America, as we move forward to a new President.”

May God bless the USA. Welcome Home Veterans. HAPPY VETERANS DAY.

[The photographs posted are from the HHC 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. I love each and every one of you and your families. Happy Veteran’s Day! Photography credit: Barbie Perkins-Cooper]