In the days before I had a daughter, we lived in Charleston, SC. Rick was a chaplain for a Destroyer Squadron there and we lived in old base housing. It was a wonderful place to live because of the comraderie of the families on base, the spirit of the senior officers’ wives, and for us, the wonderful life-long friendships we made.
It was also lovely. The admirals lived in antebellum-type “mansions” and other senior officers had what we called Panama houses over-looking the river. Next door to us was a house that had formerly been a schoool house on a plantation. There were azaleas that bloomed early, spanish moss waving from live oaks that whose branches arched across the roads. The temperature was moderate, downtown Charleston was lovely, and the beach was a quick drive without much traffic! It was a place I could returnn to quite easily.
The base was targeted for closure by the BRAC commission and it was giveen back to the city of North Charleston in the late ’90s. So every once in a while I think about our wonderful time there and google it to see what happened to the stately old mansions and beautiful park-like setting.. Recently I ran across someone’s picassa web album that showed pictures of the old base. I also found that the panama houses were being turned into restaurants –even though the Club, pool, and golf course had been destroyed. I learned there is a park by the pier where our friends used to catch crabs and the old admiral’s house is under a battle for preservation as a new railway line is coming into the shipyard that now occupies the naval base.
I sent a link to the photos to a friend who had shared some of times there and I texted her about some of the discoveries I had made.
I told her about the parks and restaurants and that an organization uses some of our old housing for homeless vets.
She texted me back, asking: “Why are there so many homeless vets? That’s just weird.”
Slightly surprised by her response I texted back with some of the issues that cause our nation’s heros to become homeless: “PTSD, drugs, 20% of all the homeless are vets. More vets die from suicide in one year than have died from combat in this entire 10 year long war. Convincing reasoning, right?”
Her response: “Veterans. Duh! I was thinking veterinarians!”
I’m still laughing.