When I was young, I knew that I eventually wanted to get married, but being young, I wanted to first see things and play. I joined the Marines at seventeen and left on a grand adventure that took me to six continents and 18 countries around the world. During that time I learned one thing. The divorce rate in the Corps was HIGH, VERY HIGH. I decided that I would not subject a potential wife to the rigors of that life, and, I am old fashioned, I planned to marry for life.
Abruptly my life in the Corps ended with the downsizing of the Marines in 1991. After thirteen faithful years of service I found myself booted out on a Medical Discharge thanks to Uncle Bill's (Pres. Bill Clinton) decision to reduce the number of Marines from 365,000 to 185,000. This too is another story.
So I find myself a civilian again with no job and injured. I was given a huge check, a lump sum settlement, and made some hard choices. I paid off my truck, found a place to live and paid the rent for a full year, paid my utilities for the year and then sat back and had a pity party.
I drank myself into an ulcer and bitched about the unfairness of things. After I came to my senses and having only $500 left in my bank account, I sobered up, found a job and started to live again. I played, went out to the bars, met women, but just never seemed to find the right girl. I would tell my friends, "I am looking for June Cleaver's daughter", they all told me the same thing, "She don't exist". I then joined up with my 501st friends and then one day I noticed this girl with one of my friends. I had just convinced him to join the 501st and was making him a costume.
He and I had known each other for around eight years. We had met during my war gaming years and had become good friends, but had drifted apart when he had gotten married to a very controlling wife. After his divorce, we hooked back up again and as I said, I had convinced him to join me in my Star Wars group and one day I see this girl with him. I asked who she was and was intrigued when I found out that it was his older sister.
Now I had met her about five years before when she was visiting her brother and he had come over for some reason or another. We had spoke briefly and I had given her a gift of some homemade candles that I had laying around my apartment. I really did not give it another thought as she was married at the time. Now she had returned, and she had just left her husband. I asked some more questions about her and he said, "Do you want me to hook you up with her?"
I didn't know what to say, "Sure", I told him and we arranged a dinner with the three of us. I was very nervous. I wanted to leave a good impression, so I cooked a grand meal. Steak with all the trimmings. They arrived and the meal went very well and while talking afterwords she told me she still had the candles I had given her all those years ago. I couldn't believe it. That one small act of kindness and she had remembered and kept them all this time. I knew there was something here. We started to date and the more I learned about her, the more I knew that she was the girl I had been looking for all those years. She cooked, sewed, quilted, cleaned, wanted to be a stay at home mom and she wanted children.
I had found June Cleavers daughter! I kicked my game into high gear and we dated intensely from October till January. Her divorce was finally complete the first week of January and I knew it was time to make my move. I told her that I wanted to make her my wife and to my surprise she said she would have to think about it. I was floored.
Thankfully, her brother came to the rescue. She had gone to him and told him she just wasn't sure she should get married to me, he told her this. "Your right, all Tom would do is give you a House with a white picket fence and a family, let me hook you up with some of my other friends who will beat you and cheat on you." Well that seemed to do the trick and she finally relented. I also found out later that she was concerned about our age difference as I am eleven years older, but that has not been a problem at all.
We were married on February 2nd, 2002. Yes that is right, 020202, my wife has a thing for numbers. Needless to say, there were some interesting times at the beginning of our marriage, her mom and I did not hit it off and her former husband's family was convinced that she had been cheating with me for years, but we worked it all out and now things are running smooth.
Frank was born October 1st, 2002 or 10012002, and Jack came along January 31, 2005. Suzy and I have been married now for eight years this February and I see no end in sight, which is a good thing. We mesh well and I am finally getting her to lighten up some and enjoy life, something I am really good at and she is helping me to be a nicer person, something she is really good at.
I look forward to living out my life with Suzy and raising my young ones. But sometimes I think about it and say to myself, "Your 47 with a four year old and a seven year old, are you out of your mind!?!" Then Jack or Frank will come in and say they want to play and I forget what I was thinking and start playing with my then and become a kid again.