Phred and Anne, New Mexico or Arizona, May 1984
I called from Ft Bragg through a Watts line. I was coming home for a three day weekend just before ETS'ing and was gonna clear it with him. The operator answers and I tell her, "Sgt Tinseth calling for Colonel Tinseth. Please patch me through to..." and I gave her the home number.
He tells me he doesn't think it's a good idea. He and my mother are getting a divorce. Things just didn't work out. I hang up and break down. Sgt Murphy asks what happened. I tell him and he tells me to take the rest of the day off.
Four years later I get this picture. I am stunned. Not only at the beauty of Anne but mostly because he's wearing a name tag. He hated name tags and the disingenuous BS that went with them. But there he was. Obviously happy. Wearing a name tag.
He met her while she was painting a spare tire cover on the back of an RV. He thought she looked pretty good. He'd been in the New Mexico desert following old stage coach trails with a metal detector. I had this picture of him in shorts with black socks waving his detector back and forth in the middle of nowhere.
They never married but lived with each other almost 30 years until Anne passed away last November. He was positive he would go first. His last plan spoiled by Murphy's Law. His health declined rapidly but he lied to his children for fear he'd be a burden. He talked of assisted care and a trip to Sweden. And then he told me, "Being a helpless fucking fool is no fun."