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 After completing the War College Year at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, I had my orders to Vietnam. So we moved back to our house in Annandale Virginia which we had rented, Patsy and the kids moved in as I shipped out for a year at war in Vietnam.

                 1967-68  Annandale Year without Dad

Neighborhood gardening

According to Rebecca

'Uncle' Paul and 'Aunt' Ruthie Gorman lived just two houses up from us. During the year Dad was in Vietnam, they became our other family. In fact, for years I thought we were related!

It looks like someone decided the front pfizer bush had grown too big and was obstructing the street when backing out of the driveway at our house.

So Uncle Paul, with a little help from all the kids, made a valiant effort to yank it out.

Uncle Paul is supervising; David, Timmy Gorman(standing back to camera) Edward(in the hole in a checkered shirt), Becky(bottoms up), Sarah(leaping across) and John Gorman(in football jersey).




In the end only Uncle Paul and David were left to finish the job."



Experiment #2

When Dad left for Vietnam, somebody (who would that be?) thought it would be an excellent lesson in responsibility to get another puppy and kitten.

This time, my kitten was spayed asap and so we didn't get the multiple litter of kittens within the year. I was bummed about that.

Rebecca asks: "Now what makes this photo interesting is that the cast and foot to the right of the ottoman is David's. He can tell the story about how he got that way.

All I know is that I 'helped' keep him in a cast for much longer than he expected.

Care to tell that story,  David?"

David's version " I remember the event.  I just don't remember the particulars but now that you describe it, a trashcan?    What I do remember is wearing out casts and yes, mom spending way too much time at the emergency.  I do remember clearly I got lectured by a doctor to stop wearing the casts out.  I also remember the pain of a broken bone is not as bad as a severe sprain."


Christmas Without Dad


Rebecca remembers:

"Christmas Dinner with Grandfather Simpson (Grandmother had passed away in Georgia the previous March).

Notice the fine china (Columbine Pattern) and glassware, all from Aunt Arleen.

We were eating on a table base from the West Point Hospital that mom had painted in the colors of the day. Copper streaks over white!"


A happy 4 year old at Christmas


Big 1967 Snow And sledding behind our house

Rebecca: I remember snow in Virginia as being LEGENDARY!  This was one of those days.

 We had a super duper sledding hill that began at the top of the Allen's driveway and winded its way through the trees all the way down to the creek. This became the big thing to do in the neighborhood.

I remember David building banks of snow to make the curves a lot faster.

I don't know why I never got hurt because it was fast and icy! I think I made it to the creek once without crashing."

Meanwhile Patsy and I were exchanging mail almost daily - she took pains to keep the children away from television and its reporting on the violent Vietnam War, and they barely knew anything except Daddy was there.

Meanwhile I was mailing her detailed accounts of  what was going on in combar action. (If you read under Military Years the Vietnam War ones you will see just how many letters were exchanged between us). Once in a while I wrote directly to the kids - David and Rebecca - as enclosures to my letters to Patsy.

Patsy succeeded in shielding the children from the worst of the war - so well that even now 50 years later, they do not remember much about Vietnam or my fighting in it through over 70 heliborne assaults in 5 months.



#1 Rebecca Hughes 2013-11-25 14:07
Another adventure without Dad was when the house caught on fire.
Or rather, it smoldered.
I had a kitty named Tinkerbell (2nd or 3rd reincarnation of the 1st. They would "go somewhere else" according to mom, and she'd replace them.) Anyway, I was cared of sleeping in the dark (age 9-10) so I would leave my night table lamp on. The cat would knock it over as she would jump up to the window to look out.
The last time she jumped up it ruined the pink plastic lamp shade, so I took it off. Therefore, I had a bare bulb on top of a lamp.
You guessed it, Tinkerbell jumped up, the lamp fell onto her wicker kitty bed right on the floor next to my bed. I woke up to a smoldering kitty bed and put the lamp back up and turned it off. It sure was smokey in my room, so I went and crawled in with 4 yr old Ed in the room across the hall.
Sometime later mom and david were running around yelling for ed and I to get out of the house. It was on fire!
I remember sitting on the curb in pjs with ed, covered by a blanket watching the fire truck and the firemen running in and out of the house. What a commotion! It was great!

David, I think you know actually what happened.
I recall mom saying that she couldnt find me in my smokey room and was panicking. She also was pouring water on the now smoldering wood floor and it would disappear. Meaning to the firemen, the fire was trapped between floors and they had to come now!
Somehow, mom or david found me sleeping with ed, and got us out before the firetrucks arrived.
When they arrived with a big hook and ladder truck, mom showed them the spot and proceeded to pour water on it. This time it stayed on top and didnt fizzle up with steam.

So the "fire" was officially out.
I do not remember ever being made to feel that somehow this was my fault.
#2 david 2013-11-25 14:47
I think I have a memory of this. All I can say is wow.

But have to admit there are holes in my recollection of some stuff. A combination of being self absorbed brat (me) and just age probably.
#3 david 2013-11-29 16:13
In response to the 'cast and foot' question in the article... I remember having broken a toe and having it placed in a cast at one of the military hospitals. The problem became... me. I would run all over the place and destroy the cast, so I ended up having something like 3 casts.

One day, and I don't remember the circumstances other than just being my usual annoying bratty self, something about getting into a rukus with Rebecca, a trash can thrown, getting hit in the toe, rebroke it... and I needed yet another cast. I do remember the doctor being really annoyed at me, costing the government money, mom having to drag me to the hospital for the 4th or so time for a cast. But the upside was I think I was able to cull a lot of kid sympathy which looking back... someone should have just left me crippled. After all, it was just a toe, and I ended up with several broken toes while dancing and you didn't stop because of that. Guess that was karmic debt coming due for the early event.

(and I know I'd already posted something on this but wanted to add to it here)

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