The following was written by my late wife Elaine. She wrote a long book, a diary really, from which this is one passage:
The Story of the Cannibals
During Dave’s year-plus in the Philippines on the island of Mindanao, several weeks passed when no letters came from him and I worried after reading a short report in the Detroit News about two soldiers stationed in the Philippines whose remains were found after they were eaten by cannibals.
Sometime in that fall of 1952, I felt “a lump” in my throat. I could swallow normally but the feeling of a lump persisted. My mother decided to take me to a throat specialist, a Dr. Robb in the David Whitney Building in downtown Detroit. He didn’t find anything wrong while examining my throat, and asked if I was worried about anything and I said: “Yes, I’m worried about cannibals.”
He said, “You’re worried about what?”
So I explained, and he said, “That’s your trouble! Worry can cause all kinds of symptoms, including feelings of a lump in the throat. But I’d say you’re worried about your boyfriend, not about cannibals.”
Worry warts do suffer! Upset tummies, sleepless wide-awake hours, loss of appetite, lumps in throats, sweaty palms … Once a worry wart, always a worry wart!!
Discharge from the Army
Dave’s discharge was in December 1953 and his final assignment was at Fort Sheridan, Illinois where he was reassigned to the Inactive Reserve, technically subject to being recalled; formal discharge was years later. He wanted me to visit him at Fort Sheridan, I was anxious to go, and I flew there for the weekend.
While riding the bus on the Army base, I saw him walking on the sidewalk, and asked the bus driver to please let me out right there, which he did. So that was our reunion, after 18 months. We stayed at a hotel on or near the base for a night or two, in separate rooms so the clerk wouldn’t think we were living in sin. But maybe he suspected anyway, because the rooms had a connecting door! After that, we were still Virgins. That was our morality. I returned to Detroit and completed the preparations for our January 2, 1954 wedding: the cake, the gown, the flowers, the invitations, etc.
Many of our friends were away in colleges but they were coming home for the holidays and would still be home on New Year’s weekend. Even more important, though, Dave planned to start college on the GI Bill at Michigan State College in Lansing, and registration for the winter term would begin on Monday, January 4, and he wanted to start immediately. Our lucky stars were shining, considering Detroit winters, because the first week of January was very mild, during one of those welcome January thaws, and on the night of our wedding it was in the ’60s.
To be continued…
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is a nonagenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family