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Judi Butterworth

Recollections of the Humorous Side of Life as The Lady of the Class of 1961

I was an Iowa farm girl with little knowledge of West Point at the time Larry and I met. I recall telling my Mom that Larry and I were talking about marriage (after only 3 dates). She didn’t seem too thrilled or impressed with him being a West Pointer but she made it clear to me that I should probably seal the deal since he was a “Virginian”.

We were married in northwest Iowa during a blizzard which dropped over 6 feet of snow. For some reason, Larry had to drive alone in the blizzard to a church he had never seen. The service had to be held up a bit but he made it. Larry has always claimed that the 5 parachute jumps at Airborne School were a piece of cake compared to this 6th jump into marriage. Of course, it didn’t end there as we had to spend the first 3 days of our honeymoon in my parents’ attic while my Dad helped dig us out so we could make our way to California to Larry’s first assignment.

When we arrived at Fort MacArthur, CA, we were told we could stay in the BOQ until we found housing. We were also told that the BOQ would be empty except for us – WRONG!!! Larry reported for duty early the next morning and left me to sleep in. When I went down the hall to take a shower in my flimsies, I heard voices from the shower. I ran as hard as I could back to our room and I think I made it just as 3 guys came out into the hall from the shower – WELCOME TO THE ARMY!!!

Our first born, Kimberley, arrived in San Pedro, CA on Christmas Day, 1962. The night before her birth, Larry and my Dad had more than a few drinks after I went to bed. As Larry came to bed, I informed him that I thought I was about to give birth. He tried his best to talk me out of it saying he was in no condition to deal with this. I finally prevailed and we were off to the hospital. About a block from our apartment, Larry announces that he left his eyeglasses behind and cannot see well. His drunken state plus being half blind made for an interesting trip to the hospital. He literally used the curb as a guide, in and out around parked cars. When I arrived in the delivery room, Larry announced to the medical staff that he had a severe case of hemorrhoids and suggested that he might just require more attention than his wife. Larry made me a promise after this that he would arrange in the future to be absent during any of my future deliveries. He kept this promise.

Life in the Army world continued to be exciting and unpredictable but for me Larry’s first job after retirement (Saudi Arabia) probably topped all of our previous experiences. Larry worked for Vinnell Corporation, which was charged with training the Saudi National Guard. I was given some good advice by a fellow Army wife before going to Saudi Arabia. She told me the only way for a woman to survive there was to ignore the Saudi police (Mutawas) and just walk a straight line as if they didn’t exist. I never had a real problem shopping except when Larry accompanied me. He was responsible for keeping me in line (no blonde hair showing and no part of bare legs showing) and the Mutawas would give him “hell” for not keeping me under control.

Larry was fortunate to be able to command both a battalion and brigade and these opportunities allowed me to work closely with and assist the young wives of officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers. This was my biggest thrill as an Army wife.












Last update: 10/28/2021