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July 5-6, 1997


On June 12, I was in the break room at work, getting snacks, and MSgt Gallagher asked me,"So Sergeant Paul, what do you think about going to Osan?" (South Korea). "You mean permanently or TDY?" I replied. I didn't get what he was saying...so I said,"Do you know something I don't?" He said,"You have orders to Korea right?" I hadn't heard that. I went back to my office, a little stunned, with my Hershey's bar, and quietly asked my boss,"Did you hear anything about me going to Korea?" He hadn't, but two hours later the computer printout showed up. I was going to Korea.

Miimii took it well--I'd told her before, during our long walks, to expect it one day. It was only one year, and we'd survive. I would spend a year alone in Korea and then return to my loving wife and cats. I could deal with it, I kept telling myself.

Then things went from bad to worse. My mother phoned me on the morning of June 28...my sister was pregnant. I casually told Miimii. She'd been in a good mood but eventually got very quiet and after a few hours she felt sick and wouldn't get out of bed. Then, she started screaming at me as hard as she could, and it lasted 1 1/2 days. She'd told me before that if my sister ever got pregnant before she did, she would divorce me. She screamed that she wanted me out of the house (see, now this is why I didn't want to come back from Turkey). Don't ask me how, but after almost two days of this I calmed her down and we decided we wouldn't divorce, but she demanded I got to a room and close the door whenever I spoke to my mother on the telephone, so she wouldn't have to hear it. I was miserable in this marriage, and secretly hoped she'd die suddenly so I wouldn't have to be with her, but not have the shame of divorcing and breaking my vow to God. I sat alone praying, while she again napped upstairs. I opened my Bible to see if God would give me guidance, and the first passage I opened was Proverbs 21:9 "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife".

I couldn't take any more. I opened up to Mike Geary at work. I'd never said anything bad about Miimii to anyone before because I believed that a husband who honors his wife wouldn't put his wife down to others. But that day I couldn't hold back. Six and a half years of anger came pouring out and everyone at work was so surprised. They all thought we were so happy. Apparently they hadn't noticed the vein balling up in my neck.

The next weekend was three days long, so Miimii wanted to go on a little trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I thought, "LANCASTER? To see the Amish? This was the woman who liked the big city, shopping, would never walk barefoot in grass, and wanted to pave our back yard?" I was looking forward to it, and maybe bringing life back into our marriage. Saturday morning came, and Miimii changed her mind. She refused to get up. We talked for four hours until I convinced her to go through with the idea...and we went.
Things were good, not great, but pleasant. I hammed it up with some fellow horseys. It was fun.
Amish horse and Michael cut up in Lancaster>>>

The famous bear story.
I was trying to have fun on our little vacation. In our younger years we'd cut up a lot together and laugh all the time. As we were walking through Lancaster, there was this person dressed in a bear suit, jumping up and down and waving to traffic. It was funny. I told Miimii,"Go stand behind him, do something funny and I'll take a picture of you". She said,"No, he might get mad!" I said,"I don't really think he's going to mind, let me stand next to him". Then she started getting upset,"NO!!! I don't want any trouble...what if he gets mad at us for making fun of him?" I said,"The guy is dressed in a BEAR suit standing on a street corner and waving at traffic. I don't think he would mind, he doesn't seem like a serious person!" As it happened, I stayed a safe 100 feet away and took these pictures with a zoom lense to 'avoid any trouble'. It was hard to repair a marriage that didn't want to be repaired.
It was just a bear...

A very serious and sensitive guy in a bear suit>>>
For a day, things were well with us. We were only on vacation for 2 1/2 days, but on the last day, we became obsessed with going to Hershey, Pennsylvania and seeing the Hershey's chocolate factory. We'd both seen Willy Wonka (the movie), and had that vision in our heads. We set out on the afternoon of July 6, from Lancaster. We wanted to see the rivers of chocolate (we are both choco-holics).
Of course it was Sunday evening. We arrived and everything in town was brown. There was a rollercoaster--brown. I told Miimii,"Look, a chocolate roller coaster". Road signs were brown and I said,"Look, chocolate signs, mmm...yum" Buildings were brown,"Look Sheep, chocolate buildings--I'm hungry". Everything looked like chocolate.

We cruised the Hershey industrial park and giggled like two school girls. We arrived at this obviously empty building. All the birds were black crows, I said,"Look Sheep, chocolate birds!" We slowly walked up to the doors, and one was open so we wandered down a corridor a few feet when we ran into the Sunday cleaning crew-they were all black. I shot a quick look at Miimii, and as we bit our lips hard to stop from busting out laughing, I said,"We want to see the chocolate". They politely told us there were no tours that day, so we giggled a little and slowly walked out, staring at the shrine to chocolate. I told Miimii,"Stand in front of the chocolate sign and I'll take a picture. Pose like Vanna White". As I was shooting, one of the cleaning people came out and shot us a very confused looked. It was our last adventure, our last smile.

I don't care what they say I won't stay in a world without chocolate>>>

***Miss Paul has asked that her face not be shown to protect her identity***