I’ve been in the company of women most of my adult life…and I don’t mean just dating them.
I was one of the first supervisors in the Philadelphia Police Department to have women assigned to me, and I was one of only eight male supervisors to be called as a witness in the federal trial regarding women in the police department.
When I retired and became a teacher, I was the only male on faculty at a small grammar school in south Jersey.
These things all require some degree of adjustment, but the biggest transformation I had to go through was when I married my wife, Barbara.
When I met Barbara, she was a widow with four daughters—all of whom were still in school. Me? I was a carefree bachelor living with my father.
Can you imagine his reaction when I told him that Barbara and I intended to wed? Just let me say that my dad was a first generation Italian-American with very old-World philosophies. So he expressed some…objection.
But that objection was short-lived, as he soon saw the wisdom of my selection, and, to those who knew my dad intimately, it was obvious that Barbara was the only person who could tell him exactly what she thought without provoking his ire. And believe me, that’s something neither I nor any of my three siblings ever accomplished.
Being a bachelor one day, then the father of four the next, does take a bit of emotional fine-tuning. It also takes something else far more tangible—your own bathroom! That was the only prerequisite I insisted upon before our nuptials.
A friend who had several daughters of his own advised me to simply ignore the fact that I was outnumbered five-to-one. So I tried that…until I awoke one weekday morning believing that I was no longer a cop, but was back in the Air Force. Really!
I had been on the four-to-midnight shift and was sound asleep when I was yanked out of my slumber by the sound of aircraft taxying on the runway—a sound all too familiar to me from my years at an airbase that had its bomber flight line in close proximity to our barracks.
I jumped out of bed thinking I had to get to the flight line before takeoff. It took me less than a minute to realize I had been out of the Air Force for 12 years.
As I walked through the house, I found that all three bathrooms and two of the bedrooms housed the motors that had awakened me; since every female in the house—all five—were simultaneously blow-drying their hair!
My wife and oldest daughter were getting ready for work, and the three younger ones were primping for school. So what I thought was a B-52 getting ready to launch, was something far more powerful—five women getting equipped to face the day.
I quietly went back to bed. I counted myself lucky, because I could never do that in the Air Force.