By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
By the time you are reading this The Little Woman (she has not warmed up to that name) and I will have just celebrated 48 years of marital bliss. This is truly an outstanding milestone when one considers we have only been married 52 years.
Over this half century plus, we have been through a lot of ups and downs together. We met, married, and had our only child in Germany. We could not have had more humble beginnings. We lived in a three-room, third-floor, cold-water flat and our German landlords (Herr and Frau Doer) did their level best to make us believe the war was still on. TLW even had to wet wax two flights of stairs every day even though she was great with child. She went to the commissary every two weeks with about $25 to feed us for two weeks. Hamburger Helper was our best friend.
Next, we set up digs in a rented 8- by 40-foot trailer outside Sewart AFB, Tennessee. I remember both of us could not use the hallway at the same time. We upgraded after a year or so to a great-big 10- by 50-foot beauty with a little covered patio. We were still dirt poor but we were rich in the friends we made there and still hear from them. We had our first real separation when I had to pull a four-month rotation to Evreux, France with a squadron of C-130 aircraft.
We moved on to Lowry AFB, Colorado while I was still a poor Airman and we managed a 20-unit apartment complex in lieu of rent. Things started to come around for us a little bit there. I was promoted to SSgt (E-5) not long after we got there and selected for TSgt (E-6) as we were leaving three years later. We really loved it there and started many more life-long friendships.
All three of us then took on the most exciting adventure of my 27 years, three months, and 16 days in the Air Force. We went to Bangkok, Thailand for 2 and a half years. You talk about culture shock! Language problems, driving on the wrong side in unbelievable traffic, and absolute extremes of wealth and poverty, and extreme wafting odors. TLW was pregnant upon our arrival and had to hold a handkerchief over her nose outside. Unfortunately, we lost that child soon after our arrival, as we did five others over a ten-year span. That just made our only son all the more precious.
Overall, this was a good tour for the Platt family. We could lived cheaply, enjoyed the luxury of a full-time maid, and the shopping in Bangkok was unbelievable. Of course, we had to learn to bargain for everything — even taxi rides. As we left there, I was selected for MSgt (E-7) and we were “moving on up!”
Next, it was on to La Mesa, Calif. (suburb of San Diego) where I was assigned to a remote radar station high atop Mt. Laguna. The ride to/from work was a long one — about 10 miles to a bus stop where I rode another 40 miles, straight up. The last 15 miles consisted of a narrow, snakey two-lane road with no guard rails and an endless drop. I was selected to be the First Sergeant of the station and also selected for SMSgt (E-8) toward the end of that tour. Together we were “moving on up!”
We came back to Lowry AFB and bought our very first house! After a couple years, I made CMSgt (E-9) and TLW was well into a successful career in metal goods sales and we were “moving on up” together. Another big separation for us came as I had to pull a one-year remote tour in 1977 to Osan, Korea. TLW had to keep the home fires burning and deal with a junior in high school who got into all the things juniors get into. I retired in 1985, went into Civil Service right there, and then we both retired in 2000. By then, we were empty-nesters and together we decided to make our “moving on up” move to Golden Pond and our retirement dream house near her family.
Wonderful times were had and wonderful friends were made, but 11 years later, we made the momentous decision together to move down here to Sarasota to be near our son and his family. Although we have moved all over the world together, this move was the toughest logistically and physically. We really did look like the Clampetts schlepping through 6 to 7 states with a 12-year old car stuffed to the max with worldly possessions, a 16-year old cat and attendant litter box, TLW (who can’t read a map), and me (who can’t even feel my feet after 100 miles). Anyway, we got here and we are now official Floridians (we just got our driver’s licenses yesterday).
So where is this rant going? After all these years of togetherness, TLW and I are now taking physical therapy together 2 to 3 times a week! She is being treated for weakness in her legs and balance problems (compounded by the fact she has titanium knees). I am not considered a candidate for surgery right now for that compression fracture of the L-1 vertebra, so the hope is the core-strengthening therapy will suffice. We go together to a great facility, with a really concerned staff, and it is only five minutes from the house.
This is it! The next big move we make together will be to “The Home” or to just lay down and take a dirt nap together. One of us without the other would surely be lost.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org