Adrianna’s Odyssey

Of all the required reading I was assigned in high school English, one classic in particular endures to this day among my all time favorite stories: Homer’s The Odyssey. I got to thinking about it when I was trying to come up with something to write in the Marriage Blog in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Adrianna and Gordon

It all started last week when Jade sent me the link to an article from the New York Times by Michael Winerip titled “Parenting/The Home Front: For Young Newlyweds, a Life Deferred by War.” It was about a girl named Adrianna (17) and her boyfriend Gordon (20). (Gordon’s really his last name but it’s what everyone calls him.)

When Adrianna found out the New Jersey National Guard unit Gordon had enlisted with was going to be shipped to Iraq, she proposed to him that very second. He didn’t give her an answer right then. A month later he agreed, but said he wanted to wait until he could get her a ring. From what I gather, once he did he proposed to her. They were married in March. In September, off he went to Iraq.

Like Penelope

Once I read the article I knew I’d write about it today. It was a very touching story. But the more I thought about it, the more Adrianna reminded me of Odysseus’s wife, Penelope. She seemed cut from the same fabric.

She knew what she wanted (to spend the rest of her life with Gordon), and to he– if anyone thought she was too young to get married. She recognized her pea pod mate when she saw him, and she wasn’t about to let him get away.

I’ve heard stories about wartime proposals and marriages from the Vietnam War and World War II. In some cases an unplanned pregnancy was cause for a quickie marriage. In others, couples were hitched days before a GI was shipped out so they could enjoy an intimate man and wife union in a respectable way.

I’m sure there’s a woman or two in those wars who might have proposed to her man back then, and there are probably others nowadays who also took the bull by the horns as Adrianna did and proposed to their men. But I saw a Penelope (Odyseeus’s wife) in Adrianna when I read her story.

I saw the kind of fierceness and dedication to her true love that Penelope displayed. In The Odyssey, 10 years has passed since the Trojan War. Most assumed Odysseus was dead. Suitors began wooing Penelope, but were unsuccessful. For one thing, she didn’t want to remarry. For another, and the most important reason, she didn’t believe Odysseus was dead.

Strength of Conviction

I’ve always wondered if I’d have that kind of strength of conviction. I love Wayne with all my heart, and I’d like to think I would, but if people were constantly haranguing me that he was dead, would I eventually start to believe them?

Something tells me Adrianna would never wonder such a thing. If the war ended and he didn’t return home right away (Heaven forbid!), but she felt in her heart her Gordon was still alive, I have no doubt she’d wait however long it took for him to come back to her.

Let’s hope she never has to be put to such a test. (That either of them do.)

And here’s my prayer for all of the soldiers serving away from their spouses: may you find your way home safely sooner rather than later, and may loving arms restore your souls.

Courtney Mroch writes about animals great and small in Pets and the harmony and strife that encompasses married life in Marriage. For a full listing of her articles click here.

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