Stickman Readers' Submissions April 14th, 2007

The Love Of My Life, Was She Different

China Hotel Guide
• Jinma Spring Hotel
• Rui Cheng Hotel
• Tianhong Plaza Hotel Beijing
• Capital Airport Hotel

How it started. 1962 senior class home room, the most beautiful girl I have ever seen is sitting next to me. She is 5 foot or so in height, luminous skinned, almond eyed and has long black hair. The closest I have ever been to an oriental. Her father is in import export. I am smitten, what a creature. A few weeks later she transfers, unfortunately she left me with a case of yellow fever.

I embark on a military career. By 1968 I am in a failing marriage with a round eye. The military in its infinite wisdom sees fit to post me to Hawaii. This effectively puts the last of the nails into the coffin of our marriage. Asian women everywhere. I am cheating on a regular basis. This can't go on.

He Clinic Bangkok

1973, I am posted to Thailand and it is time to bury the coffin. I ship my wife home, we have two young daughters, whom I adore, they are suffering the ill effects of a bad marriage and now a divorce. I feel like I would like to bury my wife in the back yard. Divorce is a better alternative. Remember the saying "marry in haste, repent at leisure."

1974, I have been in country about 4 months, my room mate and I are doing a short time and an all nighter every night. 3 dollars and 5 dollars respectively. Sometimes we swap girls back and forth. Never the same girl twice. There is a lot of competition with guys to see how many women they can do in a year.

1974, June. A couple of friends and I decide to go to the Village Inn just east of Ban Chang. There are few bars on that side of the road. Most of them are across the road in Newland which was set up to keep the nightlife more or less out of sight.

CBD bangkok

There are the usual bevy of beauties there. Nothing special. I go to get everyone a beer. Walking back to the table I notice this lady with long goldilocks curls, something I had never seen a Thai do before or since. She has wide hips for a Thai, and great legs I can't see what she looks like. I set the beers down at our table and go looking for her. She was wearing a black dress with red, yellow and orange flowers on it (I still have this dress). She is sitting with 4 friends. She has these piercing black eyes. I try to strike up a conversation but she keeps passing me off to her friend. Her friend, the object of my affections, whose name is Porn, normally doesn't go to bars and they had talked her into coming out with them. She has a kind of business in the compound where she lives, and usually has a GI boyfriend. He had rotated back to Hawaii of all places and left her with some money. With her business she didn't work the bars. I finally get her to talk to me – the usual banter and she is not impressed with my appearance of flip flops, loud trousers and a tank top. In fact she is not impressed with me at all..

I say lets go short time but she says she doesn't do short time or all nighters. However if I want a girlfriend, it's 125 US a month. Before I know it I say ok, finally she gives me a smile. You know the one which lights up the room. Man I am dead meat…

We get to her place she says she has a surprise for me, the surprise is her 7 year old daughter. Porn is 38 and I am 31, I spend the rest of my time in Thailand with her. I am madly in love, I would crawl through broken glass for this woman.

Over time she relates some of her life to me. Her maternal grandfather was a general in the Thai army. He father was a major, her mother came from Sari Buri. She has no family now except for the daughter. Her husband's family owned or still owns a famous BKK hotel that was a contract hotel for the US military during the Vietnam era and is still in operation.

wonderland clinic

I rotate to California in late 1975. I return in 1976 we are married in Sattahip. I have found the love of my life, she makes my heart sing. Why didn't I find her sooner. Sometimes the Gods toy with us.

What a character she has turned out to be. The stories she tells about growing up and her interim life are hilarious, sometimes painful. What a woman. How could I have been so lucky? We have our ups and downs, what marriage doesn't. On the whole I feel I couldn't get any luckier.

She starts working as a dishwasher at NASA Dryden, and eventually works her way up to cook / manager. Not bad for a woman with limited English, but she has a keen desire to learn and a strong work ethic. Eventually she lands a small government food service contract. She has all the male employees there wrapped around her little finger. They are no match for that Thai charm and magic smile.

1982 I retire and start working for a small SoCal aerospace company and she continues with her contracts although small, she enjoys the challenge of running the cafeteria.

She is having trouble with her back due to a scoliosis and she finally has surgery. I am beside myself with worry. She spends a week in the ICU unit. I am working 10 or more hours a day on second shift. I get off around one in the morning and drive 80 miles to the hospital and sleep in the car till visiting hours, staying with her till I have to drive back to work. This goes on for the week she is there. The only fly in this ointment is her daughter. She doesn't show up except for a few hours for 1 day. Her mother has just had major surgery and she doesn't care!

Finally I can bring Porn home and I am so relieved. Sometimes I wonder what would I do without her. It is too painful to contemplate. I put it away in a hidden recess.

The following years are pretty good we do all the things you do in a good marriage, vacations (not enough), go to Vegas, trip a across the country and back up the inside passage to Alaska on a cruise ship. The highlight was probably the trip back to Thailand after a 25 year absence in 1999 /2000.

She finally sells her last business and retires in 2001. We aren't rich but have a nice income and I am still working. I still get the daily briefings on her day. Porn could make a story out of the grass growing. What a woman. I love her more everyday.

2001, I am going to retire in October and we will travel and do the country. She wants to see all the United States. We will buy a motor home and spend half the year traveling and the other at home.

13 June. It's a Sunday. I had once again spent part of the day at work. We were again working seven days a week. Modified weekends. I come home and Porn suggests I go to a movie. She doesn't like to go to the movies as the seats hurt her back. I reluctantly go by myself. The movie is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. When I get home she is on the sitting on the couch. She had not opened the gate as she usually does, but it's late. I think nothing of it. She says "Daddy I don't feel well, help me go to bed." She has trouble walking, but that has been a problem off and on for years. Especially when she is tired. It's early morning, I realize her heart is racing, she wants to get up but can't. I now realize she has had a stroke. How could I have been so stupid. I call our neighbor to help and we take her to the hospital. An 800 pound gorilla has settled on my chest. Why didn't I see this coming? This is the woman who makes the sunshine in my life. I call her daughter and she says "It's your problem, deal with it." I am stunned. I have just told her that her mother has had a stroke and she doesn't care. She finally shows up 4 days after.

Soon after the daughter who didn't care for her mother develops filial feelings or so I think, a bit later she has her mother sign power of attorney for health to her has me barred from all access to her mother and has her mother sign divorce papers. My world has collapsed.

Now we are in the end stages of a divorce. For what ever reason the daughter has taken control of her mother's affairs. Of course she thought there was money, but the lawyers have taken a large share, there is not a lot left. My biggest worry is the daughter will eventually put her mother in a nursing home and forget about her.

Not a day goes by I don't think of her, and what a wonderful person she is. I have no idea what to do with my life now. Some days I just don't care to get out of bed. What will I do with the rest of my life, I don't know. There is no purpose anymore.

So the real question is was she different. I think so. She never gambled, never drank, didn't play cards and had few Thai friends because they had nothing in common. She had strong traditional Thai values. I never heard anyone speak ill of her Thai or otherwise. I often wondered what I did to deserve such a wonderful wife. A question I still ask myself.

What I miss the most is "Daddy, guess what happened to me today?" and that wonderful smile.


Stickman's thoughts:

Very sorry to hear of your lady's ill health. Her daughters actions are very sad indeed.

nana plaza