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Going to the Store to Buy Gum

We lost John Glenn this week. So did his wife, Annie. What a pair!

Although she had a really difficult time handling daily life on her own until someone finally gave her a cure for her communication-crippling stutter at age 53, Annie sent her husband Glenn off on at least 149 combat missions in two wars, numerous high-altitude test flights, the first ever American orbit around the earth when he was 40 years old and into space again at 77.

Every time, he would say, "I'm just going down to the corner store to get a pack of gum."

And every time, she would reply, "Don't be long."

A great private ritual to set aside their fear of the very real risk of losing each other.

Working in careers where the invitations to cheat on his wife were frequent and many of his colleagues (combat pilots, test pilots, astronauts, Senators, and Presidential candidates) took advantage of such invitations as a way to shake off the constant stress of these roles, John Glenn spoke up for marital fidelity as essential to the role of American hero and pointed the media to the good works of his wife Annie as even more important than his own.

Their two children were very, very fortunate to have such role models for how to love.

I enjoyed these two articles in the Washington Post about their marriage. I hope you will, too.

Annie Glenn: 'When I called John, he cried. People just couldn't believe that I could really talk.' by Travis M. Andrews

John Glenn survived space and celebrity -- and still had a great marriage by Lily Koppel

And in explanation of my recent absence from this blog: Mono happens, even to 64-year-olds.

Comments

I love the bit about the pack of gum and of course, his fidelity is also heartening. Thanks for sharing this, Patty.

Thanks, Amy!

Welcome back. I check your site often and was wondering why the gap in postings. You have helped me in my quest for a stronger & better marriage. THANK YOU.

Jennifer, thank you so much for this feedback. You make it all worthwhile. Glad to be back!

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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