Date: July 15, 2024
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
Events | Online Events

When one half of a couple joins the military, the other does also, in a sense, by default. There can be a sense of abandonment, as well as a troubling intimation that the military will always come first.

Military spouse Simone Gorrindo joins us to talk about her experience as captured in The Wives: A Memoir. Her book is an intimate and evocative account of the challenges that come with her husband’s deployment.

Initially resistant to the idea of military life, Gorrindo stuck with her boyfriend, Andrew, when he decided to join the Army.

That meant leaving a vibrant life in Manhattan to a rented house near Fort Benning. In time, Andrew left with a special operations unit in Afghanistan.

Gorrindo, who holds a master’s degree in journalism and has a background in editing, felt the constraints of her new role. She found military culture to be one of dependency which, along with the oppressive heat of Georgia, the mundane routine of her days, and the abandonment of her professional life in New York City surrounded her in a curtain of isolation.

Her company consisted primarily of other military wives, each dealing with the challenges of their husbands’ deployments. These women, thrown together by circumstance, navigated a life filled with uncertainty, emotional strain, and the need for resilience.

The uncertainty, anxiety, dependency all recalled Simone’s childhood, one dominated by her mother’s alcoholism. The sense of longing and stability, the desire for connection, pervades her account. Her own background flooded the foreground as she progresses in her pregnancy.

Each deployment felt like a betrayal. The adrenaline and purpose that guided Andrew’s life were absent in hers. As an Army wife, Simone was expected to be compliant and accommodating. The gulf between her and Andrew widened.

Yet, Simone knew her job was to maintain the household and construct a sort of family stability, even as the Army spun plans of its own, of which she was left entirely unaware.

When Andrew returned from a deployment, he had changed. But, she had changed also.

In detailing her story with courageous candor, Simone Gorrindo gives us a opportunity to talk about the dilemmas and difficulties faced by military spouses. It sheds light on the emotional labor, the sense of isolation, and the resilience required to navigate life in the shadow of military deployment.

Through her personal narrative, Gorrindo gives voice to the collective experiences of military wives, arguing for the recognition of their strength and the importance of their own transformations.

We’re grateful to UPMC for Life and Tobacco Free Adagio Health for sponsoring this event!