What do I have Left?
Marty was a Vietnam War Veteran. He was a fresh faced 19yr old from Wheeling, W.VA . His father had worked in the coal mines and he was destined to do the same but he wanted to get out of the coal mines. He saw his way out when he registered for the draft. He couldn't afford to go to college. He knew that the Vietnam War was an unpopular war but his father, Sam a World War 2 Vet himself instilled in Marty the pride in serving his Country.
Marty's number was called and he had to report to Parris Island, South Carolina for 12 weeks of basic training. His parents made it to the graduation from basic training. It was somewhat of a hardship because of the money but Sam and Sarah felt like Marty needed their support and they were so proud of him walking in formation. He also got an award for Marksmanship. He had 21 days to be with his folks then he was off to the base to get on a plane to Saigon, Vietnam. He served 2 tours of duty. He returned home to Wheeling, his father was proud of him for serving and he was able to go to college on the GI Bill.
He went to the University of West Virgina to Major in Mathematics. He graduated with honors and he got his teaching license. He taught 6th grade Math at Juniper Elementary School. He met a beautiful red headed woman with the most amazing green eyes. He was in love. He introduced himself as Marty and she introduced herself as Sydney. He asked her out for a cup a coffee. She said yes and for a year they dated and got married.
Sydney encouraged Marty to get out of Wheeling to go to a bigger place to spread his wings and that was in the seat of all power, Washington, DC. He got a job teaching 6th grade Math at St. John, the Apostle Elementary School. She found a job as a librarian at the City Library and it was a just a 10 minute walk down the street. He had to take the subway which he had never done. So, Sydney taught him how to take the subway and even though he got lost a couple of times, he learned in no time at all. He had to get up at 4 in the morning and Sydney would have breakfast waiting for him so she could send him off with a smile. At 6 in the morning, he went to the train station to take the train to go to work. They found a little house in a wonderful neighborhood in Georgetown. They had 3 children who with time had grown and gone.
Sydney became ill with Breast cancer and even though she had Chemotherapy and surgery to remove one breast, the cancer had spread to her Liver and the children came home to be with her in her dying months. Marty was sad because he was going to lose his Syd. She made him promise to go on with his life after her passing. She died in her sleep 6 months later. Marty cremated her and scattered her ashes on the Potomac where they would have their picnics and he would read poetry to her.
He missed his Syd so much that he mourned her for about a year after she was gone and his oldest daughter asked him to move in with her and her family. He said No but thank you because he liked his independence. He would do his own thing - get out of the bed to wash up, shave his face, put on his clothes and then put on his coat and hat and go to the subway to go to a little cafe called the Capitol Café to have a cup of coffee and a donut. He saw the other Vets there from the Korean War and the Vietnam War. They would see him and make room for him. They read the paper together and swapped war stories. Sometimes there was a group of young soldiers who would stop by the table. The old soldiers would salute the young soldiers and shake hands with them. Marty had been feeling kind of sorry for himself and he thought that he had nothing left but he did.