Diane Engle

Class of 1969

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Over the reunion weekend, I was asked, several times, why the Army and did you meet your husband in the Army?  So here goes, my favorite story about what has shaped my life today.

After graduation I attended beautician school and graduated ten months later realizing I had another calling.  I wanted to go back to school but my parents were moving to Cape Coral , FL and I could not afford school and living in NY.

I joined the Army with a written guarantee for schooling in the billet Medical/Dental.  I looked at this move as a great adventure.  Little did I know how this move would change my life and I would experience so many firsts.  I was always a patriotic person, loved my work, coworkers, and a time I will never forget.

The day I left the Army I was driving from Ft. Dix , NJ to Cape Coral , FL to visit with my parents.  My objective was to study for one more year and then apply for a job at the Miami VA hospital.

I was driving on route 301 in Wilson , NC (yes, we remember where) because I-95 was under construction.  I started to get bored and spotted a car from NJ with Coast Guard stickers.  Remember that CBs were extremely popular in the ‘70s.  I spotted an antenna on a one truck and called out on my CB, “Hey Jersey Coastie…I am getting tired and need someone to talk to.  I had no intention of pulling over when a male voice said drop to channel 15.  I did and we talked for three states. Amazing that we had so much in common. We never exchanged names only CB handles.  He had to get back to Fort Myers Beach , FL by midnight or he would have been AWOL.  In parting he said if we ever meet, I will take you to dinner.

Fort Myers is directly across from Cape Coral , my destination.  One month later while looking for a spot to park I noticed two guys pointing at me in my rearview mirror.  Little did I know it was Alex (my CB friend) and his roommate.  He had told him about the Army girl on the CB in a Firebird with TX tags.  I drove away to park where they could not see me.

Three months later I attended a local river raft race with new friends from college and noticed the second-place winners were from the Coast Guard.  I walked over and asked a group of Coasties if there was a guy there with the CB handle “Water Bear” and they pointed to him in the distance.
The rest is history, and we were married eight months later.

It’s now 42 years later and he is the love of my life.  Children were not in the cards for us, but we borrow everyone else’s then give them back.  We have lived overseas and around this great country.  I am a retired RN who ended up in medical management for the final years of my career.  We retired from the military to Cape Coral to take care of our mothers in their last years.  When they left this life, we moved to the Cumberland Plateau in TN, and we belong to many veterans’ organizations as advocates.

Alex likes to tell people we met on the “Internet of Yesteryear” and the Man upstairs pulled our card and put us together.  Oh and the CB’s became book ends.


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