The Mom Photo Essay Project On Instagram: Three

When my mother joined the army, in the midst of WWII, she signed up for "the duration plus two years." No one knew for sure how long the war would last, but my mom made the commitment to serve her country for however long it took. The war ended the year after my mother joined. My mom served out her active duty time, though she stayed in the army, as a reservist, until she had completed twenty years service. During those twenty years, she met my father, who, at the time, was a Navy man. Seven weeks later they were married. A few months later, my father made a change from the Navy to the Army. Mom says it was because he couldn't really swim, but I've always thought that he didn't want to have to be away at sea for long periods of time. It was my dad who kept moving up their wedding date. After his proposal, they were going to wait a year. Then he persuaded her to wait six months, then a few months, and, by then, they'd been together about six weeks; a week later they were married. I think he didn't want to be away from her for months at a time. Mom's never admitted that, so perhaps it is only a romantic notion on my part. They were assigned to different duty stations over the years. At each post, my mom did her reserve duties. In the early 1950s, they were stationed in San Antonio, Texas. It was while she was there that she learned how to shoot a gun. This photo was taken during the training. When the training was done, my mom was a Certified Marksman. When she retired from the army in the 1960s, she had achieved the rank of Major — she outranked my father (who retired shortly after; he was a SSGT). Of all the things my mother has done in her life, none has made a bigger impact on who she is, on her sense of identity, than her time in the Army, and her rank as an officer. It has also had an impact on her aging. The Major doesn't age, she doesn't need help, she can do things on her own. Now, at 91, it is that mindset that makes growing older and frailer all the more difficult for her. #elderlyparent #caregiver #WAC #army #aging

A post shared by John Francis Nooney (@john_francis_nooney) on

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