Tag Archives: Life

The Path

The Path —- BY TESSA

She never chose the easy life path.
She had to cut, hack out her swath.

She searched for her method of attack,
But knew she had to find a working tack.

There were days she got ahead,
But most were days she learned to dread.

Over and over she did the same things.
Hoping for success or that she would grow wings.

Wings would take her here and there.
She wouldn’t have to cut through anywhere.


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

Author – http://www.finallyawriter.com (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog http://www.tessacandoit.com


This is a work of creative non-fiction. The events are portrayed to the best of my knowledge. Memoir is written from memory and memory can be flawed. If I got anything wrong, I apologize.

I have changed some people’s names and/or descriptions to protect privacy. All Rights Reserved.


I am writing this book and publishing it in a non-traditional way. In other words, I am publishing it on my blog and not charging a fee to people to read it. There are several reasons for it, but any income from it would screw up my government disability and what I am eligible for so no income will be derived from it, just my pleasure in having people read it. I can print out the actual document and make my own book if I want to.

I dedicate this book to my children and their father, Andrew Smeigh. Between us, we had 3 great children and 4 grandchildren (at the time this was written).

I also dedicate this book to our best friends Charles and Kimbaly Stanley who were there for us during the military years and who helped raise our children, while my husband and I were working. My husband was defending our country and I was serving the Officers of the Military at their Officer’s club in their times of recreation.

I also thank Charlie for his service to our country and to Kim for standing by him as a dedicated Military wife.

Thank you,

Teresa Smeigh

Chapter One – Government Property

Chapter One

Government Property

It has been said that when you join the military, you become government property: they own you. My husband was even told that if he got a bad-enough sunburn, he could be court-martialed for destroying government property. There were lots of other things I thought were silly, but as a military dependent, I wasn’t important enough for anything. My role was to make sure that things were right for my husband, back him up, keep my mouth shut, and behave myself by following the rules no matter what I thought of them.

There were a lot of rules that we were expected to obey. He wasn’t allowed to wear his camouflage uniform (cammies, as they were known) in town unless he was in his car. We had to make sure he kept the car filled up, so he wouldn’t run into the problem of having to get gas and not be able to get out of the car to get it because he was in his cammies either on his way to or from work. We had to get out and pump our own gas in North Carolina, and that included me. I was glad when we came back to New Jersey and I didn’t have to pump my own gas anymore since it is against the law here. He had to be in civilian clothes in order to be able to be outside the car in town.

While in uniform, there was no kissing or other public displays of affection allowed, including holding hands. There was even a rule against adultery in some places.

The soldiers were not allowed to put their hands in their pockets, despite having plenty of them. One of the reasons for that was to keep their right hands free for saluting their officers. No wonder so many of them ended up standing at parade rest. They had no idea what to do with their hands. You could tell a military man by how he stood with his hands behind his back and his feet about ten inches apart.

They had to watch their language. No indecent language was allowed.

Haircuts were expected once a week, two weeks tops. Heaven forbid your hair got too long. Andy kept his short anyhow, as he had naturally curly hair, and the longer it was it started to curl up.

While walking, they couldn’t eat, drink, or talk on their cell phone. There were no cell phones back when Andy was in the military, but that was a new rule when they became commonly used by just about everyone. When out with someone, they had to walk on the right side so their right arm was free to salute. No walking on the grass unless they were training or mowing the lawn.

One rule that affected me was that his cammies had to be properly ironed every day. We couldn’t afford to take them to the cleaners to have them done, so I washed, starched, and ironed them all the time. Not my favorite job, but as his wife, it was my duty to see that he was properly dressed. Ironing cammies is not easy.

Now, these were just some of the rules. There were many others, and some of them were downright stupid, but those were the ones that I could relate to at that point. We found a lot of them out by accidentally breaking them.

Andrew, known as Andy to most, had originally wanted to join the military and be on a submarine, just like his brother. It had been a dream of his, and the military smashed it when they found out we were planning on getting married and soon. We had already booked everything and mailed the invitations.

“You can enlist with us if you postpone your wedding. We need you now, and it’s not negotiable,” the recruiter told us. They could care less if our invitations were already replied to and the wedding gifts were starting to arrive.

I knew this was a dream of Andy’s, and I didn’t know what to say or do. I didn’t know what he would say or do either. I waited with bated breath and looked first at him and then the recruiter, before sliding my eyes back to Andy.

“We can’t stop the wedding now. We are too far along. The gifts are already coming in. I will have to pass if you can’t make an exception for us.” Andy was calm and polite, but he was determined to keep our wedding date, and for that, I was eternally grateful to him. I knew how hard it was for him to give up that dream of being on a submarine just like his older brother.

We got married as planned on July 10, 1976. We were only nineteen years old at the time. It was a medium-sized wedding with a reception right there in the church. We had cake and ice cream, along with chips, pretzels, and punch. We had no choice as my parents could only afford five hundred dollars, and I had to plan and hold the wedding and reception on that budget. We had nothing saved to add to it.

My wedding gown was a simple long white dress, bought two sizes too small so that I would have to lose the extra weight I had gained (which I did). My maid of honor, my sister Debbie, and the bridesmaids, Kathy Bradley, and Gail Anderson, had dresses that came off the clearance rack for twelve dollars each. No major changes needed to be made to any of theirs. I couldn’t believe my luck since the cost of my sister’s dress had to come out of my small budget.

The ceremony was held in the Lutheran Church in Wenonah, New Jersey, and my biggest problem with having it there was that they didn’t have pews, only metal chairs. To me, a church had pews. I couldn’t change churches as my favorite pastor was there, and I wanted him to perform the ceremony.

When the pastor asked if there was anyone who objected, my friend Sandy’s baby screamed. Sandy had been told not to bring her child to the wedding, but she did anyway, and the baby just happened to scream when the pastor asked. Everyone was looking around to see who had screamed. Seeing it was just a baby, we continued the ceremony.

I was now Mrs. Andrew Smeigh. No one can pronounce or spell it. I should have kept my maiden name of Dean. It wasn’t as common back then for the wife to keep her maiden name, and I am old-fashioned anyway and would have taken my husband’s name no matter what it was. Just like I would follow him anywhere, which not too long after that I followed him to North Carolina when another recruiter from a different branch called and said he could enlist with them even though he was already married.

My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I drove down to South Carolina for the graduation from boot camp. I had lost a lot of weight and he had too. Plus he was also bald due to having to shave his head for boot camp. I didn’t recognize him at first. I know he was surprised when he saw me as well because I looked good. While he was gone, I’d had no money except for what my part-time job paid me because the military messed up my allotment and I didn’t get it for the thirteen weeks he was gone. Not much food and exercising by running around the long block had made me drop all of the weight I had gained after we got married.

After he had graduated from the thirteen-week boot camp with a meritorious promotion to Private First Class, we went home directly from the graduation and packed all our belongings into boxes, and we were ready to load the car for our trip to North Carolina for his training. All the nice boxes I had packed did not fit in the car, and finally, in exasperation, Andy ripped them open and just dumped all the contents into the trunk and back seat, and we left behind what didn’t fit. We had a long car trip from New Jersey to North Carolina, and we needed to get started. He had been given ten days of leave till he needed to be at his duty station for training, plus one day for traveling.

After a very long drive, we arrived late that night at the building on the base where Andy was supposed to report for training. Since we were already married when he enlisted, it never crossed our minds that they would have a problem with him bringing me along after boot camp.

It was dark and we were later than we should have been, but we’d had no idea where we were going. Finally getting out of the car at the designated building, he went first and stood at attention. I slouched in behind him.

Looking at the faces of those soldiers was not a pleasant experience. Not only were we late, but he’d also arrived with someone they were not expecting.

“Who is that?” one of the men asked, and it was obvious none of them were amused in the least.

“My wife, sir!” I was wishing I could just disappear at this point.

“What did you plan to do with her?”

“Sir, we have money saved, since they never started the allotment to her during boot camp, so we were going to get a place to live in town.”

They talked among themselves. The recruiter knew we were married, and we had expected rejection since his first choice had already turned him down. But he said it was not a problem, so Andy had signed up and gone to boot camp. These guys were uninformed of the fact that he was married and obviously had not been in this position before. They went back to the conversation about what to do about me.

I don’t know how Andy felt, but I wanted to cry. I was tired from all the packing and repacking. Add in the long trip and being in a place I didn’t know, and the only person I knew was my husband. We waited with bated breath.

A verdict was finally settled on. There were specific rules since he wouldn’t be living in the barracks like the other recruits, but we could live with them. I had to drive him onto the base to the barracks very early every morning, and then pick him up every night once they were done for the day. He was required to take his turn doing guard duty at the barracks, called Fire Watch, and on those nights, he had to stay overnight. On the days they had a field day, which was a deep cleaning of the whole barracks, he had to participate in that as well.

We found a mobile home park just a short way off the base. It was called Yopps Mobile Home Park in Sneads Ferry, NC and every day I drove him to the barracks and back home. It wasn’t far at all. I kept myself occupied driving the other wives around during the day shopping, doctor appointments, etc. That was until the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child.

Military may cause some problems with my book.

I was wondering a bit just how serious that phrase “If the Marine Corps had wanted you to have a wife they would have issued one” was. I googled it. Several things came up. I don’t know if it in fact legally belongs to the Marine Corp. I don’t need a problem.

The gist of it is I don’t think using it would be very smart which means changing my title and part of my first and second chapters because as I read on it seems I had violated several rules back then with the dress code. I knew he was under several of course, but I found several sites dedicated to the wives and the dress code especially. Announcing in print that I had violated those rules is not a good idea. Chapter 2 and my wearing my skimpy clothing to entertain the troops wasn’t technically breaking the rules as I didn’t leave the car completely or at least I don’t believe I did, but most likely not a great idea.

So I need a new title, change part of chapter one and revamp and/or put a statement on there as to the dress code for military wives I didn’t know about. Part of this blows my book apart and have to find a new way to go. Back to the drawing board.


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

Author – http://www.finallyawriter.com (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog http://www.tessacandoit.com

Precarious Perch

Precarious Perch —- By Tessa

Precarious Perch,

Gripping for my sanity,

Must not let it go.


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

Author – http://www.finallyawriter.com (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog http://www.tessacandoit.com

The book has been updated through chapter one so far (THERE IS A PAGE FOR IT ON THE TOP OF MY BLOG PAGE)

The book has been updated through chapter one. Chapter one is the only chapter that has been vetted through my writing group which includes someone who has been published numerous times and offers her services. Since I am not going the whole real publishing route I figured this is good enough for me. Plus the I get the suggestions from the others in the group as well and so I can pick and choose as to what I agree with.

The group only meets once a month though and the woman I am most interested in doesn’t always come. Therefore her comments will not always be available, so I have to choose whether to go on and post my chapters as they come along (I am halfway done this first book with ideas for 2 more possible after it) and just edit it after I get my edits from them or slowly mete out the story one chapter every month or two, possibly longer if she doesn’t show up. I am just not sure. Plus I would always accept constructive criticism from those of you on here who read it. Most of you are writers as well and know what you are doing and have been published. I already know that commas and I don’t get along well together. When I get my work back from the group meetings there are commas everywhere. I also write long sentences at times and, then I have to break them down.


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

Author – http://www.finallyawriter.com (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog http://www.tessacandoit.com