"Once a Marine, always a Marine"
Pair of military wives celebrate corps' 230th birthday
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Two women who forged a friendship as military wives 50 years ago continue to honor their countries and each other as military widows today.
Daisy Kube, 72, of Hartselle and Edress "Edie" Bagwell, 81, of Ragland celebrated the 230th U.S. Marine Corps birthday Nov. 10 at Kube's Hartselle home.
The two friends have observed the holiday each year since becoming military wives.
"Once a Marine, always a Marine," Daisy explained. "That's why I have a Semper Fi sign on my front door."
Daisy's husband, Palmer, served the U.S. Marine Corps for 21 years as a cook. He was Decatur VFW Chapter 4190 All -American Post Commander in 1981 and 1991. Edie's husband, George Leon Sr., served the U.S. Marine Corps for 23 years as a cook and three years in the Reserves.
George and Edie met Palmer's new bride, Daisy, in 1955 when the two couples were stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and lived in the "Industrial Area."
Daisy, who had been married to Palmer for just two years, said she learned so much about being a military wife from Edie, who had been married to George for 10 years.
"We had to make due because we didn't have much at all," Daisy said. "Edie taught me how to make a one-egg cake. I remember how she would feed the kids who weren't old enough to be in school with leftovers. She taught me a lot."
"We lived in the tiniest mobile homes and none of us had much money," Edie recalled. "I made end tables and a coffee table out of apple crates and dyed white bed sheets different colors to make curtains. You just learn to make do."
Daisy and Edie said their families were uprooted and transferred often, but the Kubes and the Bagwells usually found themselves stationed together again every three years. After their husbands retired–Palmer in 1966 and George in 1967–the families remained close.
The Kubes were there for Edie when George died in 1972. Twenty years later, Edie was there for Daisy when Palmer died in 1992.
"We're just as close as any two sisters," Daisy said. "We call each other every week and visit with each other two or three times a year."
"We share good times while we can," Edie said. "I feel very blessed to have her as a friend."
Daisy and Edie want the spouses of those currently serving in the military and the spouses and widows and widowers of veterans to know they understand the joys and difficulties of being "married to the military."
"I am very proud to be a Marine Corps wife and widow," Daisy said. "I want the other widows to know they aren't forgotten. I cry every time I see one of ours killed in Iraq. Being a military wife isn't easy, but you have to trust in your country and have faith."
"To a serviceman, his country comes first and everything else comes second," Edie explained.
"That includes their wives, even though they love us, and that's just the way it should be."