Saturday, February 20, 2010

You didn't hear this from me, 'K?

Because you wouldn't want to get me into trouble, would you? Thank you!

Many many moons ago, when my husband was in the Navy and was in Vietnam, he got pulled out to attend and compete in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The host country gets to pick a new sport to add to the games and they picked judo. Jim was a black belt and had qualified before he went overseas, so when it was time, they pulled him out (he had 2 weeks left to serve in Vietnam- he worked with Special Forces teams and they extracted downed pilots, amongst other things) and he went to Tokyo, marched in with the US team wearing someone else's clothing, and just in general, had a fabulous time. He is NOT a braggart so everything I know about this has been dragged out of him over the last 25 years, painfully. ;) He didn't medal, unfortunately, and was eliminated before the quarter-finals, but he had a lot of fun hanging out with the Australian female swim team and was there when Dawn Fraser got in trouble for swimming in the Emperor's Moat.


I had to go digging to find this pin, it was buried with some other pins and cuff links.


And this was what he looked like before he went overseas- pretty stinkin' cute, huh? I'm sure his experiences in Vietnam (another thing he never talks about) hardened him up a bit and he probably looked a little more fierce by the time he got to Tokyo.

He sent his mother some cool stuff, too, from Japan. This is a mother-of-pearl inlaid table that has removable legs, I decided to hang it in my sewing room. He gave away his sake set and chopsticks.

Oh, and the kicker? After the Olympics were over, they sent him BACK into action for his last 2 weeks. Can you imagine what a culture shock that was? And how paranoid you would feel, knowing you were this close to going home? Of course, getting home was an experience, too- he was swept overboard by a rogue wave in the Pacific Ocean with about 20 other men standing in a lunch line on a ship. Some of the guys couldn't swim so while they waited to be rescued, he had to help some of them stay afloat. He's a Florida native and quite the swimmer/scuba diver so it was good that he was there. IN THOSE SHARK INFESTED WATERS!!!! Eeek. I'm so lucky that he lived long enough for me to meet him and fall in love with him.

Now, Mum's the word! You'd never hear any of this from him. He hates when I brag on him, but I just can't help it. He's the smartest, funniest man I've ever met. As we say around here- he's no slotfish. lol (A slotfish is one of a certain size that must be thrown back.)

21 comments:

Laura said...

What a great story!

Rafael's Mum said...

Wow! what an amazing life! some of the experiences must have been dreadful and I am not surprised he doesn't want to talk about it! But wow... so glad those sharks did not turn up... And no worries... I don't know anything about this! :-)

DeeRoo said...

Oh Susan...thanks so much for sharing that story....brought tears to my eyes. He is a lovely man and yes, glad he was around to fall in love with you!

Closest I've ever come to the Olympics is in 1980...I think that is the year the US boycotted...the Russian youth Olympic team came to VA to compete in Richmond several months before the games began and visited Busch Gardens in Williamsburg where I was working and some of them wanted to purchase tee shirts but didn't have money...so they gave us pins in exchange for US dollars and bought their tees!:) I still have those pins too!:) But your story is WAY more important!!

Elsa said...

I love these kind of stories ... thanks for telling it (I won't tell, promise!). My Dad was a WWII vet and a Pearl Harbor survivor and I loved when he told his stories! what a life your husband had, so glad that he made it back and you and he got to fall in love! you are both very blessed!

Lisa said...

I loved the story! And what a hottie!

WendyLou said...

What an amazing story! And such a sweet testament of your love for your man. He certainly sounds like quite a catch ;)

Lara said...

Definitely a keeper huh Sooz. What an awesome story... not so much the bit about being sent back to service. I would've thought they'd cut him a break on that one!

carol said...

Cool story, Sooz and what a hunk in his younger years!!! No wonder you "caught " him! Thanks for sharing that wonderful story with us!

Dorrie said...

So glad you shared. . .and tell him thank you for his service. And you're right, what a handsome guy!

Trudi said...

What a great story, so glad you could share it with us :) I'm sure he's got a wide chest full of medals he's not told anyone about too! Definitely a keeper!

Lynz said...

My Alan is desperate to go for a pint with him - he talks very little about his military days, too (and he didn't see anything like that action!) but I want to hear about the swim team! *guffaws* What a fabulous story, you're a lucky girl, Sooz!!

P.S. My word verification is Nesse!!!!

Lurline said...

Lovely story - so glad he found a beautiful girlfriend to love him forever after!
Hugs - Lurline♥

Leslie said...

this story is amazing. your husband did some really amazing things, and my he is handsome!

Marianne said...

Wow, that's a great story, and you definitly have yourself a great man!

Heidi said...

Thanks so much for sharing this!

Susan R said...

What an amazing story Flossie. He is such a lucky guy to have found you too. Thanks so much for sharing and don't worry your "secret" is safe. But then again I'm sure he knows how much you love and admire him.

Susan

Poppyprint said...

Wow. What a survivor. That Olympic 'interlude' must have seemed like a dream for him...and then to be swept overboard on the way home!!! That is the stuff of movies! It's nice to share - I can hear how much you love him through your writing.

Crafty Mama said...

Wow, what a story! And what a cutie he was too! :-)

Debbie aka Marblesbestfriend said...

Susan, you are lucky I do not know your husband personally because I am the worst secret keeper on the planet. I don't set out to tattle intentionally but secrets always slip out like little poots after a meal of rice and beans. LOL That was a great story and I'm glad the sharks saved him for you! Have you been married 25 years now? You sure know the lingo well for someone who doesn't like to fish!

Lynne S of Oz said...

Typical that he found a pack of Aussies to hang out with. Dawn Fraser was a livewire for sure!
It's amazing what people get up to that we never really hear about. Really amazing.

Anonymous said...

WOW...Who Knew!!?? He's just full of surprises, isn't he. What a wonderful story!! Except for the sending him back for 2 weeks....Grrrrr

Tiger