Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Wives

From the Virginian-Pilot:  Janie Tschudy (whose husband, Bill, was shot down with my father and imprisoned for the same 7 1/2 years) and my mother.  Memories of Janie and her son, Michael, and the part they played in our family, in our home, are among the most constant and warm of my childhood.  Sharing the experiences they did, it's not surprising the two Navy wives became close friends.  Janie was probably the friend in whom Mom was most able to confide and laugh for the rest of her life and, fittingly, coincidentally, Janie and Bill were visiting Mom in the hospital the day she passed away and stayed with Dad in his home that night.

The National League of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia was formed in 1970.  POW wives who had patiently waited and kept quiet, not wanting to interfere, or "rock the boat," eventually began to take matters into their own hands.  The progression of my naturally reserved mother from homemaker to activist, from background on Watergate Lane to forefront of the effort to get those husbands home, is evident in her diaries.  In the beginning, she's reticent to interfere (quotes a Washington official essentially telling her to just go home and let the government do its job and not get involved, "If I've learned anything from my years in Washington, it's that if you push too many buttons, the whole switchboard gets jammed.") but, as time passes, she and many other wives become frustrated by the wait.  By the end of the diaries, her tone has changed to one of resolve and action and her entries relate meetings in Washington and mention names like Kissinger.


Kimmy Coleslaw said...

Always said - your mother too was a hero. Can't even imagine.

Madeleine Doak said...

Warden, hero - she had several labels!