20160218

Serial Season 2 Episode 7

If you are listening to the Serial season 2 podcast and you've listened to episode 7 where Bowe Bergdahl's friend Kim Harrison reacts to his joining the US Army, then you'll understand the passion of a mom, so to speak, towards her child who just enlisted in the Army.

This episode brings back a memory of when I was 17 and pondering my future.  One of my forerunners for a period of time was the US Army.  I went as far as taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) at a military processing center.  It, at the time, was this huge leap in managing my own life.  I made this choice.  I went to the recruiter.  I went to take the test.  I went and talked about where I wanted my future to go...

As you might imagine where I'm going with this story, my mom did not want me to enlist.  She didn't really want me to go anywhere, but generally speaking would have supported my choices.  But the US Army?...that was just not something she was into for me.  She told me this, tried to get me to see both sides of the token.  I vaguely listened.

Then one day (a day we look back on and laugh about), the Disabled American Veteran's (DAV) called our home asking if we had any stuff to be picked up as we were regulars, so to speak.  If you're unfamiliar with the DAV, they will come to your home and collect small household items and clothing donations.  We tried to give something every time they called on us.  On the day noted that they called, my younger brother answered the phone.  He was young then and confused the message...he understood something about the military and what he thought he heard as "Steph" (instead of stuff), and this all happening in the morning.  So he goes to my mom with a legitimate concern that the military would be coming to pick up Steph in the morning.  My mom flipped out, worried I had signed some papers and not told her, or not understood what I was really doing and signed papers anyway...she even went so far as to call the recruiters to yell at them for coercing me.  It's all fuzzy now, the memory of how everything went down and what all was said but I knew then that my mom had real concerns about me joining the military.  She knew me better than I knew myself I guess...and well, I never enlisted.

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