Category Archives: Book

I made my first writing video on

I have a lot of work to do to set it up. I don’t know what I am doing and spent most of the day working on youtube and there is just so much more to learn.

Tessa – 

Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog

Author of a book, a work in progress on the blog,

Highlighted chapters are done and ready to be read.

Chapter 6 – Cruelty to Animals (Government Property: A Memoir of a Military Wife)

To read previous chapters click here for the list of chapters or click on the link at the top that says “Government Property-A Memoir Of A Military Wife.”

Chapter Six

Cruelty to Animals

The last base housing we lived in was on Daphne Court. I remembered that street name as I always liked the name Daphne. Daphne Court was a real court with several sections of row houses, six to a set, all around in the shape of a court. Our street did not go through to the base. We had to go to the highway, which intersected Daphne Court and turn right. We would drive down and do a U-Turn and head back up the freeway to the base.

Now, these were excellent housing units. They were for the higher-ranked enlisted men. These were much bigger than the ones the lower-ranked enlisted in the military got and better for the most part. They had much larger rooms and a separate laundry room, which we didn’t have in the old ones. The only reason we were there was that they were tearing our old units down for a huge parking lot for a store they were putting in on base.

We had large screened-in back porches, and we were on the corner, so we also had a side yard as well as the front and back yards. Behind us was another street, and the rears of those row homes faced us.

One of the higher enlisted men had a boxer. He was a beautiful copper color and a powerful animal. The owner, a man with broad shoulders and a well-muscled chest, was so cruel to that animal. We all complained to someone on base at one time or another about the cruelty. We half expected him to kill it eventually. He dragged it around by its chain and lifted it into the air, so it hung on the chain and beat it. Some of the men confronted him, but nothing was ever done by authorities to intervene on that poor animal’s behalf.

We had two mutts ourselves. We kept them in the screened-in porch when we went somewhere as the door would lock from the inside. One day, they managed to get the door open. They broke the lock. They must have headed for the highway and made it across. A workman over there recognized the dogs, and he and a friend brought them back. When they realized we weren’t home and that the dogs had broken out of the porch, they took them back with them and left us a note. We couldn’t keep them on the porch anymore. It just wasn’t safe for them.

We had a mother and one of her puppies. Now the puppy was sometimes put out on a stake and chain. One day we caught the neighbor’s children torturing her. These children were black. They beat the dog and then ran to a few feet outside of her reach. We had no idea how long this had gone on. We stopped putting the dog out on a chain at all, once we found out what they were doing.

Now flashing forward four or five years later to when we were back and living in New Jersey after he got out of the military, we put up a fence for the dogs to be able to run around loose. We hadn’t thought that entirely through. Kennels were so expensive, but we had this fencing, and so we put the dogs out there.

One day I hear a man’s voice yelling, “Lady, lady, please come get your dog.” I was mystified, but then I heard him calling again. I hesitantly looked out the door, and here was the meter reader pinned against the meter by our dog. She was a big dog and hopping mad. It suddenly dawned on me the man was black and the same race as those children who had tormented her all those years before. She was ready to tear him apart and had dug out from under the fence. I finally managed to pull her off and take her into the house.

Now, this wasn’t the man’s fault, but the dog didn’t know any better. The meter reader was black, and the dog remembered the black kids tormenting her, and she never forgot. We had to get a real kennel after that. You can train an animal to be mean. They do remember. Those kids took a friendly dog and made it mean if you happened to be a black person. She was lovable as all get out to everyone else.

Chapter 5 – Beaches (Government Property: A Memoir of a Military Wife)

To read previous chapters click here for the list of chapters or click on the link at the top that says “Government Property-A Memoir Of A Military Wife.”

Chapter Five


With our move to the second base, we were a lot closer to the fishing piers down on the inlet. I had never really fished before, but I tried it once off the end of the pier and enjoyed it, so we usually went every beautiful day. We had our first child by now, and she was an infant in 1978 and would mainly sleep in her playpen so we could fish without too many interruptions.

I liked fishing, but I am afraid of live bait. Usually, we used frozen shrimp, which wasn’t a problem for me. If Andy used a small fish we had caught or worms, it was his job to bait the hooks and, he had to take all caught fish off the hook because I wouldn’t touch them. If they were big enough, they went into a cooler to take home so I could eat them. I loved eating fish, but he didn’t.

One day he got this bright idea. I was the one who ate the fish, so I should be the one who had to clean them. I wasn’t happy with this idea. He assured me the fish would be dead by then, and it wouldn’t be a problem. I reluctantly agreed.

He dumped the cooler of fish into our sink and handed me a knife. I reluctantly took the knife and reached in for a fish. I managed to clean it. Okay, that wasn’t so bad, I thought. I picked up the next one. It moved in my hand, and without thinking, I tossed that fish across the room and into the wall where it slid down to the floor, leaving a nasty slime mark. To say he was annoyed was putting it mildly. I reminded him that he promised me they would be dead. He went back to cleaning them.

Our first daughter was getting older, and keeping her in a playpen was getting harder. I was pregnant again by now, which would be the summer of 1979, and occasionally my fishing was interrupted as I had to watch the older child roam the pier when she refused to stay quietly in the playpen. She was 20 months old when her little sister appeared on the scene in October 1979. She could no longer be in the playpen as our 2nd daughter took her place. Now I had a toddler running around that I had to watch all the time.

We spent every weekend at the pier. The kids were pretty good, so we continued to take them. Getting a babysitter for every weekend wasn’t possible. We had our best friends Charlie and Kim take them occasionally, but we didn’t expect them to keep them every weekend. As it was when I went to work, they ended up watching first the one and then the two of them when the second one came along. They watched them so much that the oldest daughter started to call them mom and dad and us Terri and Andy. It took a while to break that habit.

As time went on, we had a toddler and an infant who was approximately eight months old and learning how to walk. With two toddlers walking, the youngest had to remain in the playpen. We put it next to us on the pier. The oldest was walking around and, she was interested in the fish wriggling by the fishermen. Those were sharks that the fishermen had left to die as they didn’t want to keep reeling them in.

One day the people around us started to yell, and eventually, we realized they were yelling at our daughter. While I was busy pulling a fish in, I had taken my eye off her. She was walking the pier and kicking the sharks back in. There were a lot of sharks in the water, and they were annoying when you were trying to fish and brought up a shark instead. Some of these were large too, not all of them were tiny. She stayed away from the large ones. She was afraid of those.

I stopped fishing and kept an eye on her. I was trying to get her to understand that she couldn’t kick anything back in. Try reasoning with a two-year-old. I had to go back to watching her and not fishing much.

The eight-month-old was amusing herself by throwing her toys out of the playpen. We picked them up, and she’d throw them back out. That was fine until she started throwing them over the side near the pier rails and into the water. Before I had realized it, she had thrown her bottle over the side and into the water, and we watched it float away. Great, now she had to be moved. Not to mention, we lost a whole bottle from our bottles allotted for the day.

We moved her playpen to the middle of the pier. We hoped it was far enough away from either side for her to throw either her toys or another bottle overboard. I had to settle for throwing my line into the water and letting my husband watch it and pull it in if something got hooked on it.

We spent every weekend and almost 24 hours a day there during those weekends. They did close at times, but we spent every open hour there on the weekends, and fishing was a significant part of our life at that time.

When we went back ten to fifteen years later to check out the area, it took forever to find the mobile home park that had been infested with roaches that we had lived in briefly, and when we did find it, it was nothing but a pile of junk. The homes were tossed around, smashed, and looked as if a giant child had a temper tantrum with his toys. We knew it was the right one because the A-frame office survived. We couldn’t figure out which mobile home we had once lived in though with all that mess. I did some research and saw that several tornadoes had hit that area over the years since we left there.

We found the pier and walked it for old time’s sake. I don’t remember fishing off it at that point. We had the girls with us at that point, and they weren’t much interested in fishing at the advanced ages of teenagers. They were happier back at the campground where there were many activities, including a pool and the travel trailer we had bought so we could go camping.

We also got permission to go on base, but everything there was different, as well. It used to be a very rural type area, but after all those years, it had grown as well as the towns surrounding it. We barely found anything that was still the same. It was kind of disappointing. Both of our old base housing areas were gone. The only thing I recognized was the “Dairy Queen” ice cream stand. It was still there.

Chapter 4 of Book “Government Property – a Memoir of a Military Wife” is published.

To read previous chapters click here for the list of chapters or click on the link at the top that says “Government Property-A Memoir Of A Military Wife.”


Chapter Four

Another Baby, Girl or Boy

So far, it had been a monotonous summer. Every day the high temperatures were draining, and the sun was frying me to a bright red. I do not tan. I burn. During our honeymoon in Virginia Beach three summers ago, I had a sunburn that had turned into sun poisoning. From day one, I could not leave our hotel room as just the heat, even in the shade, hurt my sunburned skin.

So to a woman who was seven months pregnant and huge, and with a toddler under two years old, having to sit outside every day with the toddler was sheer torture. There was no air conditioning in our home on base. Neither of us wanted to have to be inside where it was hotter.

Every day I had to take my toddler outside so she could play in her wading pool. One day I had an entertaining idea. I went over to where she was splashing in her pool and climbed in and sat down. I used a bucket to pour water over my head and body, especially my huge belly. She laughed and started pouring water over me as well.

The neighbors were starting to stop and gawk at us. We were in the front yard, so it was open to everyone. It felt so good that every day we sat in the pool. I was able to cool us both off and entertain the neighborhood at the same time. They got used to seeing us sitting in the pool.

I didn’t buy a maternity bathing suit. Maternity clothes were so expensive. I made most of my maternity clothing or bought it at the thrift shop on base. Or I borrowed my mom’s maternity clothes that I used to wear as an unpregnant teenager because I loved the styles. I had some material that had been laying around from the outfit I had worn to go and see Andy when he graduated from boot camp. It was a small black and white checked pattern. I sewed a top using lots of elastic and was like a tube top with a skirt sewn on to the bottom. It worked great as a summer top or to use when we were sitting in the wading pool.

The problem arose when we went to the beach with our best friends, Charlie and Kim. I usually didn’t go in the water as I hate being pulled under or thrown around by the waves. So, I wore the top with a pair of shorts as my bathing suit.

I decided to go in since everyone else was. I got pulled under and choking, surfaced, and stood up. The water had stretched the elastic and made the skirt heavy. The next thing I knew, it was down around my hips under the baby bump, and our friend, Charlie, happened to be staring right at me. I was so embarrassed and dropped back into the water, trying to pull the top back up and over the baby and my breasts. I may be an exhibitionist, but not to the point of nakedness, especially in front of people I knew. The other people there I would never see again, but we were close friends with Charlie and Kim. I got out of the water fast and wrapped my towel around me.

I went back to the wading pool until summer ended and it cooled down some. That may have been the last time I ever set foot in the ocean. I hated the sticky feeling and the sand that managed to get where it didn’t belong.

Since I was working, my fellow friends at work had set up a shower for me at the officer’s club. They thought they were secretive, but I knew what was going on. Every time I walked up and they were talking, they all shut up and looked away. I would have had to have been dumb and blind not to figure that one out. I could have used that shower for my first baby, but hey, at that point, I would take it. We never did have much with the first child, and most of the clothes were from yard sales, so I got some new baby stuff with this one. We still had all the baby stuff from the first child, and this made for some new things to add to it. As she outgrew clothes, I packed them away. We were still planning on having a third child, and so nothing was given away.

This brings me to her due date. The doctors had decided she was due on a particular day in October. I went into labor with her quickly as she was the second child.

I went to work that night, the day before she was due. I worked at the Officer’s Club. I could keep working as the hostess; I just had to stop waitressing.

I came home that night, and our friends, who would be watching our older child, had just left, when the labor pains started. We had to wait till they got home and call them to come back and get our oldest daughter as I was in labor, and I had to get to the hospital.

We arrived there after midnight, making it my official due date. When asked my due date and I told them it was today, those nurses had the nerve to say to me that I couldn’t possibly be due that day because babies do not come on their due dates. What kind of stupid reply was that? Babies do come on their due dates all the time. I was in terrible pain and tired of arguing with the nurses.

Finally, the records were brought upstairs from the ob/gyn section of the hospital for the night deliveries. The nurses pulled my file, and finally, they had to agree that it was indeed my due date. I wasn’t dilated yet, but she was the second baby, so they didn’t send me home. They made me walk the hospital floors until my water broke. Then I could be set and start the proceedings for a delivery.

I didn’t have anesthesia. As I said, I had all my children by natural childbirth. It hurt a lot, but I was more afraid of the needle for the anesthesia than I was of the pain from the birth itself. My first child took 36 hours of labor and was 6 pounds 9 ½ ounces and, this one took four and a half hours from start to finish and weighed 7 pounds 15 ½ ounces. She was a lot larger than her sister had been.  A pound and a half is a big difference when it comes to babies.

The second child was born in October of 1979, five days before my birthday. Our two kids were both born around one of our birthdays.


Well, November is NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and it starts 11/1 (today for me right now).

I am going to try and participate and taking my story I am writing for Sue Vincent’s prompts and add a beginning and move forward to meet what I have done for her so far. The back story is my plan. I am not happy about the goal because it is 50,000 words for the month and I have to be more ruthless and write every day and I am not great with rules that control my writing.

That’s the plan right now anyhow.

Tessa – 

Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog

Author of a book, a work in progress on the blog,

Highlighted chapters are done and ready to be read.

Chapter 4 of book “Government Property – Memoir of a Military Wife” – has posted

Click here for Chapter 4 or click on the link at the top of the page.

Tessa – 

Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog

Author of a book, a work in progress on the blog,

Highlighted chapters are done and ready to be read.