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When the men are gone ...

On Fort Hood, the setting for Siobhan Fallon’s tales of military life, the street names are almost too symbolic to be real. However, anyone who’s been stationed at the Army post in central Texas will recognize names like Tank Destroyer Boulevard and Warrior Way. What military family hasn’t lived on a street named after a general, weapon, battle or warship?

“Those are the things you forget about when you’re a military spouse,” Siobhan said. “The rest of the world is not like that.”

A story of hope, hard work

“I feel a deep sense of hopelessness,” one woman wrote on the Spouse Calls blog about her husband’s post-traumatic stress disorder. “Is there anyone out there living with someone with PTSD that is coping? ... I need someone to tell me if it’s possible to live with someone who has this disease.”

Another spouse asked, “Does it ever get better? I have faith that my husband will one day open his heart to me, but sometimes it’s so hard to keep positive when I feel like I am dying inside.”

Recommended reading

Bonnie Amos said she had “one of those aha moments” while discussing books for military families with her husband: Why not create a recommended reading list for military spouses, and make the books available at base libraries and exchanges?

An “aha moment” for this Marine wife has the potential to affect many others, because the husband she was talking to is Gen. James Amos, the current Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Books on base

Having books about the military family by authors who are members of the military family on the shelves of our military exchanges and libraries seems like a no-brainer to me. However, those of us who have been around the world and back know that finding those books at a base or post is not a given.

I’ve been asking fellow military spouses, patrons of military exchanges and libraries around the world to check the availability of military family books, and I’ve been talking to people who work at those facilities about how they choose the books for their shelves.

Strangers and friends

An old picture hangs on my wall, a framed snapshot of two girls who scarcely know each other making a pizza. It is a photo of both dinner and friendship in the making. One of the girls is a much younger me. The other girl was one of my college roommates. We and a third girl — who took the picture — had met a few weeks earlier at summer orientation and discovered our mutual need for housing and someone to share it with.

With all the optimism of youth, on the basis of 15 minutes acquaintance we decided to share rent, household chores and bathroom privileges for the next school year. We needed a fourth, and we found a willing candidate on the university’s list of students in need of housing. She lived on the other side of the country, but a few phone calls confirmed her as the last member of our intrepid quartet. We met her the day she moved in.