To recap from last week, I told you about my prior experiences in column writing over the years, and how I had written about my daughter, my cats and dogs, myself and living the single life, but I had never written about my hubby. It was difficult to write about him because I lost him in 1972. Only recently have I been able to talk more about him and find that I miss him more and more, the older I get. I still can’t talk about his death, so I won’t even go into that, but I do want to put into words some of our life experiences as a first generation career military couple.
I mentioned that we both attended North Georgia College back in the 1950s and 1960s, at that time, the only coeducational military college in the United States.
North Georgia turned out not only superior military officers, but also well-prepared officers’ wives. We were schooled in Army protocol, ladies’ events, behavior, hats, gloves and proper attire, and we lived with rank and bugle calls, most of us for four years. We knew what to expect.
I met my hubby, David Maurice (Butch) Kilgore (actually re-met) in 1958 and, by the spring of 1961, we were engaged, with a tentative marriage date of June 1962. I would teach school in East Point while he continued and finished his senior year at North Georgia.
I bought a car — my pride and joy — a 1955 Ford Fairlane convertible that I lovingly named “Zelda,” and made almost weekly trips to Dahlonega to see the love of my life.
However, in October of 1961, we had a particularly harrowing date and broke up … well, almost. After the angry words had settled and I had thrown the ring out the window of the car onto the lawn of his house, we both said, almost at the same time, “Let’s get married tomorrow.” And so it was done.
The next day we went round the counties and finally accomplished our purpose, ending up being married by Rufus Brown the Haralson County Ordinary, in his living room after he had finished his dinner.
We announced our nuptials in December. My mother was overjoyed. His was furious, but that was not unexpected. We moved into a basement apartment on Avon Avenue in southwest Atlanta and began our married life. He got a part-time job during the Christmas holidays and our first Christmas wasn’t so bad.
He went back to school in January and I moved again, this time into a two-room-with-a-shared-bathroom apartment in the back of a house near the Nabisco bakery — an apartment I shared with none other than Butch’s cousin Thelma (the one who didn’t want us to meet). Thelma had married Dickie McLeroy, a high school classmate of mine so we were just one, big, happy family.
With June came Butch’s graduation and his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. The buttons on my vest were about to bust, I was so proud of him. And, with the commission came our orders for Fort Hood, Texas, our first military assignment. Our life adventure had begun.
Next time, now about this military thing …
Judy Kilgore is the religion editor for The Citizen.