Written by: Bob Brumfield

In my past, it could not be said that I thoroughly thought things to the logical conclusion. Not a few times, this led to a most unpleasant situation. To say the least most of my life was always in turmoil. This, I assure you was never my intended outcome. I lived under this cloud for 33 years before the ray of sunshine appeared on my horizon.

 I married my first wife on liberty six weeks after we met. It was lust at first sight. I confused it with love which it thankfully became. Three days later, my ship deployed to the Tonkin Gulf. Afterward, we went to Da Nang and spent sixty-four hours shelling without sleep. This went on and off for the next six months, and then back to the states. That ended my second tour. After being in drydock and refitting with new sonar gear, that was the end of my four-month honeymoon; it was to sea again. In August 1966, the ship went up the river and became a forward firebase. After six months, I came back but I was different. I couldn’t shake the violence. The marriage lasted six years. I moved back to Cincinnati when she told me she was remarrying. I started doing drugs and alcohol in earnest. I met a stripper, and she proposed. I said yes.

 That marriage lasted eighteen months. One night at Christmas, I met a woman named Carol in a bar. We dated a few times and decided to move in with each other. I was homeless, living with my sister at the time. Carol was divorced and had four kids ranging from 12 to 4 years of age. Once again, my impulsive nature had gotten the better of me. I never thought what effect my moving in would have on them. I was tense for the longest time, but gradually they got used to having me around. But it wasn’t enough.

 I began to experience feelings of remorse. My only thoughts were of myself in this family dynamic; these children deserved better. I was in a quandary about how to bring this about. The answer came about most strangely. Believe it or not, it came directly from God.

 I was driving home from the bar when a voice told me to choose. Being in the car alone, I was startled. Somehow, I realized it was His voice I heard, and I prayed I couldn’t pick, so you have to choose for me. From that moment on, I was a changed man. I stopped drugging, drinking, and smoking and decided to propose. My only regret was I hadn’t done it sooner.

Forty-two years later, I’m still married to a wonderful woman named Carol.

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