The ‘Fighting Coynes’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

I have a baby brother and it came about in a strange time. I’m not saying it didn’t come about in the usual way. It was strange as it happened in the summer I was graduating from Teacher’s College. Guess there was no stopping my dad.

That there was a birth in my exciting time was unthinkable but who could stop it or change it? Although the people involved in bringing it about had already done the agreeing. No changes.

So let’s go on. We had three boys, four girls. Uneven was not to be accepted, thus came the fourth boy. Could we stop now, please?

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The baby grew into an adorable little boy. To add to this he was smart. How many times have I told you my mother didn’t raise stupid children? Wouldn’t accept anything less than smart. I used to wonder if she’d settle this by sending the not smart one back. Nothing seemed impossible to this unusual woman. I kid you not.

By now I am teaching and he is growing up. I’m afraid I wasn’t watching too closely. I had a class of 32 who kept me hopping.

Skip to high school now for Richard. He proved a true Coyne. Doing what pleased himself he enlisted in the Army and came home and mentioned it at dinner. It was a &uot;by the way today I…&uot; Now with two in the Navy and one in the Coast Guard all hell broke loose. Nothing phased Richard. He chose the Army. Off he went to be a soldier. He did well and eventually was sent to officers’ training – a 2nd Lieutenant. Then he met a girl. Don’t they always? He wanted to get married. We were all invited to the officer’s club to the wedding. Brand new wife wasn’t my cup of tea but I said nothing. He had two sons and came the nasty word – divorce! Years later he met Pat (2nd wife – a doll) Came son and daughter from this marriage.

Next stop, stationed in Alaska. Richard loved it as he loved hunting and fishing. But next duty lacked the fishing – but loads of hunting – Vietnam. Spent a year there. Came back and decided he needed college. Applied since government picked up the tab. Went to the University of Nebraska. Who goes to

Nebraska? Richie did. While there he got orders for Vietnam again. Guess they liked him over there. Being a kind government they waited until he got his degree then off to Vietnam, trip two.

In a year he returned all in one piece but now a Major. Our Navy brothers finally accepted an Army brother. Right now he is most successful working for Amtak with the United States his territory. I just discovered he’s good looking, well built and kind. I saw him for the first time in 10 years. He’s called many times. He lives in Pennsylvania. He’s 69 and why he doesn’t remember arriving on my college graduation day I’ll never know. Men! They have such awful memories.

He took away my glory but I’ve forgiven him for that and going in the Army. For many years there was no war in my house that could equal that of the Army-Navy football games.

Added thought – the Vietcong should have thought better than to tangle with a Coyne.

Florence Arena is a regular News-Herald columnist.