John and Annie Glenn

They say that behind every great man, there is always a woman. How true. When he died, in December 2016, Marine combat pilot, war hero, astronaut and US Senator, Col John Glenn had been married for 68 years, to his childhood sweetheart, Annie, whom he credited for being the very reason for his success in life.

The story of John and Annie Glenn is the very well spring of inspiration.

John first met Annie when they were neighbors and their moms would put the two five-year olds together in a large basket swing in the backyard and they would spend the afternoons giggling and screaming.

As Annie grew, she was found to have a severe stutter in her speech, so bad that she couldn’t even utter certain words without going into a long stutter. That led her to be shunned and bullied in school – until John took charge of her ‘security’ and she was never bothered again. Glenn remained true to Annie through seven decades and sometime during this very long honeymoon, Annie was able to conquer her stutter through therapy and perseverance.

John Glenn passed on this December 8th. It is okay to have never ever met a man like John Glenn but still feel a sense of loss – at another little bit of good, chipped away and lost inside the maelstrom of survival. Annie is still alive, now 96. It must be hard living alone. I hope the world for you, Annie.

There must be so many ways to show your love for each other. Little simple ways, like this one I read about the Glenn’s somewhere…..

John and Annie liked to play a secret game between themselves. Whenever as a combat pilot in the fifties Glenn went on a mission, he would turn at the front door of their little cottage at the air base and give Annie a quick peck on the cheek and say with faux curtness,” I’m going down to the corner store for some gum. You want any? Yours is pineapple, isn’t it?”

“No, silly,” Annie would strain to hold back the tears, look up into his face and smile,”Jill Travers at middle school liked pineapple. Mine is orange. And don’t be too long. There’s shepherd’s pie for dinner….”

The same above conversation played out on a clear blue morning on Feb 20, 1962, when Glenn stood at the door of the astronaut’s bus and she touched the visor of his face plate. Minutes later he boarded the Mercury-Atlas rocket that stood steaming a mile away, ready to fly him into the unknown.