A service wife is mostly girl...but there are times, such as when her husband is away and she is mowing the lawn or fixing a flat tire, that she begins to suspect she is also a boy.
She usually comes in three sizes: petite, plump or pregnant. During the early years of her marriage it is often hard to determine which size is her normal one. She has babies all over the world, and measures time in terms of places as other women do in years. "It was in Hawaii the third child was born and the eldest had the chicken pox, in Yokosuka babygirl suffered a broken arm. It was at Whidbey he made Chief and we received word that his father had passed. In San Diego our little league team won it all."
At least one of her babies was born or a transfer was accomplished while she was alone, This causes her to suspect a secret pact between her husband and the service providing for a man to be overseas or on temporary duty at times such as these.
A service wife is international, she may be an Iowa farm girl, a French Mademoiselle, Japanese or a southern belle, but when discussing service problems, they all speak the same language.
She is a great actress. To heartbroken children at transfer time, she gives an academy performance. "Fallon is going to be such fun! I hear they have Indian reservations-and tarantulas-and rattle snakes," but her heart is breaking along with theirs. She wonders if this is worth all the sacrifice.
An ideal service wife has the patience of an angel, the flexibility of putty, the wisdom of a scholar, and the stamina of a horse. If she dislikes money it helps! She is sentimental, caring her memories with her in an old footlocker. One night she is a bigamist, sharing her husband with a demanding entity called "duty." When duty calls, she becomes # 2 wife. Until she can accept the fact, her life can be miserable.
She is above all, a women who married a serviceman who offered her the permanency of a gypsy, the miseries of loneliness, the frustration of conformity and the security of love.
Sitting among her packing boxes, with squabbling children nearby, she is sometimes willing to chuck it all...until she hears the firm steps and cheerful voice of that happy lug who gave her all this.
Then she is happy to be...his service wife.