Addie, do you ever feel you need help?
Oh my goodness. How did you know? If I could just stop causing my husband Harold’s outbursts and violent behavior…if I could only understand what it is about me that makes him so angry…
Ah, so your marriage is troubling you?
Definitely. Besides that, since the Pearl Harbor bombing, when Harold lost his best friend Joe on the Arizona, it’s been…rough. I know he’s grieving and wants to go fight the enemy, but the county draft board has deferred him for farm work. That has to be so hard, and I feel for him. We’ve only been married three years, so surely things will get better.
Hmm. I can understand. What kinds of support to do find out here on the farm? It’s a bit isolated, isn’t it?
Yes, but my down-the-road neighbor Jane is a wealth of wisdom. She’s gone through so much, and I’m learning a lot from her about gardening. Her gruff exterior hides a heart of gold, and I’m so glad we got to know each other.
Your garden is important to you?
Yes, I feel a special peace when I have my hands in the soil. And it’s important to our nation, too. It’s a Victory Garden, you know.
Wonderful—do you have any other friends?
Oh yes! My dear friend Kate is clear across the Atlantic in London, searching for her downed RAF pilot husband. She’s sort of an amateur psychologist, and is always encouraging me about Harold. And there’s my mother-in-law—she’s been changing, and for the better! I never dreamed she would become a confidant, but that seems to be gradually happening.
And then there’s our mailman, George Miller. I know I can trust him to keep quite about my correspondence with Kate—Harold would be furious about this.
He doesn’t like Kate?
Not at all—maybe it’s because Kate and I are so different. She says what she thinks, for one thing. And she’s a real risk taker, doesn’t care what anybody thinks. That would absolutely not be me. I wish I were more like her, to be honest.
Are you saying you have some inner fears?
I sure do. What people think bothers me a lot, and I’m afraid to speak up most of the time. Harold is very sensitive, you know, so I watch my P’s and Q’s—I wouldn’t want to disturb him.
You have to tiptoe around him?
That’s it exactly. But don’t get me wrong, I’m certain that through faith and perseverance, our marriage will get better. He really is such a strong, intelligent person—it’s just that…well, I need to learn how to communicate with him…need to understand what I can change to make him happy.
I see. Well, good luck with that, Addie. Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers.
Writing has always been Gail’s passion. Her Women of the Heartland series honors make-do Greatest Generation women who sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom.
Gail and her husband live in northern Iowa and retreat to Arizona’s Mogollon Rim Country in winter. They also enjoy grandchildren and gardening. It’s no secret why this late-bloomer calls her website DARE TO BLOOM, and she loves to encourage other writers through facilitating workshops.