Follow Me: The Life and Adventures of a Military Family
Author: Elizabeth Carroll Foster
Publisher: iUniverse (2010)
Binding: Paperback, 224 pages
On September 6, 1949, the author was a bride and clueless as to the twists and turns her life would take as the wife of a US Army officer. Her husband served sixteen months at the end of WWII and completed his three-year obligation in the reserve forces. Meantime, he tried to complete college and enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard while at the University of Oklahoma. The Guard unit was recalled to service with the 45th Division at the outbreak of the Korean War.
Elizabeth was ill-prepared for the kind of life she would experience as a military wife, the frequent moves from pillar to post while rearing four children, the separations from her husband, and parting from her friends and making new ones. Without a support system, she learned that military wives depended on each other.
It wasn't an easy life, but it offered many exciting adventures and presented friendships in many places. Her children adapted well to the nomadic lifestyle, despite transferring from school to school in midterm. Would she have made the commitment had she known what it entailed? She would have because it was a life of wonderful adventures shared with her husband, her children, their dog, and many, many friends.
Winter 2011 Reading List
This is a memoir of a woman who became the wife of an Army officer and pilot. As a young bride, she was clueless as to the demands that would be placed upon her. She felt ill-prepared for the nomadic lifestyle and her frequent moves from pillar to post while raising four children. In spite of that, she succeeded.
In the Preface, she writes, “Military life is hard for anyone who experiences it, whether of short duration or over many years. Yet, as difficult as frequent moves, school changes, goodbyes and long separations are, it is a life of travels to places outside of one’s dreams, of making new friends, and many, many fun times. It is a life of building memories to be unwrapped and relived years later.”
She recalls “We traveled across the United States, lived in Pakistan, toured in India andItaly with four youngsters and a dog … my first airplane ride was with a new baby dosed for teething. Four babies were born in five years.”
Foster also observes “After twenty-five years as the spouse of a U.S. Army officer, I think I know a thing or two about military wives. They are full of grit.”
She notes that military wives have much in common, regardless of the branch of service. Conditioned to be strong, they show endurance. When life gets hard, they may sit down and cry, but not for long. There is always another move to make, another house to turn into a home. And during tragedies, they share food, tend the deceased’s children, and put the house in order for a grieving friend.
Foster’s book includes photos which help the reader feel a connection to the author and her family. Her story will resonate with many who have lived a life in the military. It may even inspire envy in those civilians who have never had the opportunity to travel to exotic places.
This book is entertaining, enlightening, and honest. It is a testament to the bravery and courage of the distaff side of military life, and a validation of their many sacrifices. As Foster so aptly asserts, “Military wives accept the life that’s dealt them.”
There’s no doubt, our country needs military wives. They are the nurturers, the healers, the bedrock and the heart of America. Very highly recommended reading.
Reviewed by: Charlene Rubush (September 2011)