Veteran’s Viewpoint: Britton Bell’s Experience

britbeBritton Bell, Vietnam War Veteran, Facebook Friend.

Maturity is the capacity to empathize with another’s drastically different experience.
I hope this post helps to do that.

I ask the zanily funny, straight-talking Britton a few difficult questions.

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  1. Enlisting
    I enlisted in the US Navy in June 1966, and had a three year enlistment.
  2. What you remember about your Comrades
    I was a Hospital Corpsman, and met some of the most inspiring guys – mostly Marines – who were hospitalized for months, and sometimes a few years because of the severity of their wounds.  I have more stories about them than Carter has little pills.
    I lost more than 50 friends in the Viet Nam war … Marines and many Navy Corpsmen.  That is something no one can forget – every year I remember them as if it were still 1966.
  3. Worst thing about being a Veteran

    ​The worst thing ?
    When I traveled in uniform and when I applied for jobs after my discharge, using my little experience (considering I entered right after high school graduation) was being called “A Government Paid Whore”.

     This happened more times than I can recount.  Eventually I left my time in the Navy off my resume – and was offered every job I applied/interviewed for.​

  4. Toughest thing after the War ended.
    Going to the Viet Nam War Memorial and finding the names of those I knew who were killed in action was the most difficult, painful, emotional experience for me.
    Of the 58,220 names on the Wall at the Viet Nam War Memorial in D.C., 638 belong to Navy Hospital Corpsmen who were killed in action — more than in any other war except World War II. I knew more than 50 of those boys personally.
  5. About considerations to a Veteran.
    ​I do not and never have expected anything from anyone because I served in the military. My Duty, my Pride, my Honor.
  6. Anything you want to say
    On a Lighter Note
    ,
    the BACRONYM (yes – bacronym) WAVES – after it was used by the Naval Reserve when it accepted women into their service it came to mean:
    WAVES:  Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service
    many years later, it was “changed” in fun to mean:
    WAVES:  Women Are Very Essential Sometimes!!!!​

How I met Britton

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Britton & Gabby

Gabby had a really bad accident, and as Britton talked about the difficult legal/emotional fight about the accident, I found myself drawn to her and wrote to her and we emailed for a while. Later, I (or she) found her on Facebook and became friends. She has a great pick-myself-up- attitude which inspired me through the years.
This interview is in her honor as a Fiesty, Brave, Tough, Kind, Gentle, Faithful, Honor-bound woman.
So ready to take on so much.. and still laugh it out.
Love you, Britton! You are a hero!
And it has nothing to do with the war.

Also the founder of Britton’s Unique Boutique, BUB, Fine, organic skincare products – her lifetime passion! (labeling done). Link will be updated.
About her

Britton Talks About her War Experience:
(Some of this may be in the speech in the Veteran’s Day Ceremony, where she presents a tribute to Navy Hospital Corpsmen, many of whom served with the SEALS and Marines in country and especially the 638 who were killed in action.)

” Two million women have served in defense of our nation since the Revolutionary War, the Navy providing all medical services to the Marines since that time.

In June 1966 I enlisted in the Women’s branch, “WAVES” of The US Naval Reserve (estd 1942), at the height of the Viet Nam “Conflict”, because I wanted the GI Bill to help toward Medical School.

Only 38 out of 80 I started boot camp with, were graduated and sent to other duty stations.
I was thrilled when I got my orders for Great Lakes Naval Training Center because I was going to be a WAVE Hospital Corpsman.

The first Navy Corpsmen went into DaNang with their Marines in 1965. Corps School, a 34-week school, with rising casualties, we were pushed to our limits in 17 weeks to be fully trained.
Less than 10% of my class were WAVES and were sent to non-combat zones. The majority of my male classmates were serving “in-country” by early spring of 1967.

Special units, such as the Navy SEALS and Marine reconnaissance units took Corpsmen with them.
Hospital corpsmen in Vietnam cared for over 70,000 Navy and Marine Corps combat casualties.  Of the 58,220 names on the Wall at the Viet Nam War Memorial in D.C., 638 belong to Navy Hospital Corpsmen who were killed in action — more than in any other war except World War II. I knew more than 50 of those boys personally.

From 1965 until we pulled our troops out of Nam in 1972, 30 hospital corpsmen received the Navy Cross; 127 the Silver Star Medal; 290 the Bronze Star Medal; and 4,563 earned the Purple Heart.”

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The most dangerous role of the hospital corpsman in Vietnam was in the field, as medical Sailors.
These Sailors patrolled with their Marines, risked the same dangers, and rendered the aid that saved the lives of thousands.

The Women in Military Service for America Memorial, located at the Ceremonial Entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, is the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America through history.
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Passion Fruit Natural Perfume. What it Takes to Make

The Passion Fruit Vine in my backyard starred in its own story.
It began, humbly enough…
This year, unlike previous ones which gave about 10 fruit, this Vine was planned by Mom to climb up the Coconut Tree, find optimum sunlight and space.
It spread like a canopy for over a year until suddenly there were Fruit!
Fruit! before we noticed either Buds or Flower! months missed!

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Passion Fruit & buds. The Single Flowering branch.

One glorious branch hung down the tree with Fruit and buds… Fruiting and Budding and Flowering.. all at once..Such a sight to see, it gladdens the heart.

20151009_111804Pleasant mornings in the backyard, breathing in the loveliness, and sometimes, capturing with my camera. Because this was a loveliness I may not see again ( A delicate plant, previous 2 vines dying after one fruiting season in the hot summer)

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The glorious Flower. Very well hidden!

Not everyone appreciated my presence..

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Baby bulbul.. with downy feathers and wings that couldnt fly… still trying to scare me
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The fruit peeping out of the Flower
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Along with Vitex’s violet leaves & buds

Eventually, the Fruit falls

20151009_102030 The fruit, when ripe, falls to the ground. It is very smooth skinned. The scent of the passion fruit is so strong that the peel is fragrant!. At one point I thought the peel should be made into a perfume!

The beauty of the plant is enough to make that heart-connect, but when the fruit is cut!!Oh! its fragrance, just blows me away.

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The vary fragrant Golden Pulp of the Passion Fruit.

The Entire Plant is such a thing of Beauty- from its leaves, its delicate (but business-like) tendrils, its buds and flowers- all leading up to the sensational fruit drink.

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With tangy, sour notes, and a heavenly fragrance, the pulp is diluted down and a generous amount of sugar to offset the tartness. The juice is not beautiful for its fragrance alone, but its taste as well- not too sweet like a mango, and not too sour like a lemon. Just satisfying.

Eventually, one of the fruit makes its way into a perfumery Absolute/ Concrete

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Fruit Concrete of a single Fruit

a wonderful process Dabney Rose teaches without using Chemical Solvents unlike commercial Perfumery Compounds
thoroughly enjoying the time-consuming, labor-intensive satisfaction. It takes days and weeks of care and processing, always keeping it in mind as so many factors can spoil the perfume.

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After the concrete is done, and it is made into perfume, I evaluate its top notes, its body, its dry down..
Passion Fruit as a  Perfume has very complex Notes.
What I first thought were fruity notes, like real mango fruit’s fragrance, and a whisper of lemon fruit- smelling much like the original passion fruit , were only the Top notes..

In dilution it turned into quite the animal… a surprising twist..

Top fruity notes drying down to walnutty heart notes with a bit of burnt sugar/caramel lusciousness. No hint of floral notes, just intensely nutty.

And then comes the surprise finish… passion fruit beginning and ending all by itself into
A rich, mossy, almost leathery back ground.. but soft so soft… think forest floor and Oakmoss in a celestial place.

What a Natural Beauty!

One should stop now, I think…
But wondering at the combinations- One part is talking to an aging Vanilla Bean Tincture which is soft and powdery.. and probably wont overpower Passion Fruit.
Then something to reinforce the nuttiness… and then we shall see… we shall see this wonderful perfume in its glory…

Hand blown perfume bottle got from Egypt. Waiting it's turn.
Egyptian Hand-blown Perfume Bottle, Fragile.

My bottle is all picked out. A hand blown perfume bottle, brought all the way from Egypt. This teeny thing cost so much! Unfortunately I hadn’t much exchange on me and the other 2 broke in transit. But one unique bottle will do for one Passion Fruit, i think…

The Race is not for the Swift… Then for Whom?

In Life, everything is a Race…

Its not only a race of Things- Who’s got the biggest car? who’s got the most stylish clothes

Its also a race of non-things.

Who’s the smartest talker, who has the funniest anecdotes… who has met the most celebrities..

Races in the visible, and races in the invisible.

Everything petering down to – who has the best life?

And somewhere in this fast paced life, and “Who’s the fastest?” races, we lose sight of the other race… ‘Who’s the slowest Race…’.

Some Races are a Snail Race.  Some races are “Who is the slowest…?”

Snail Race
Snail Race

Who is the Slowest…

To get offended..

To get even…

To become harsh with reason..

To talk unkindly to noisy children..

To leave the infirm to themselves…

To let go the love.

The Race to be Slowest, the gentlest, the kindest, the most loving.

And for these things, Time and Chance happen to all. (Eccl 9:11)

To all.
Everyone has the Chance and the Time to Win.

Win… not at being the Swiftest.. but at being the Slowest.

And you are the biggest Winner.

Not- with people who consistently hurt you- and damage you– and whose good actions towards you are overswept by the bad.. No.

But those who work with you, and help you, and consider you, show love for you in action, but some flaw in their personality raises your antenna.

With them, be the Winner at being Slow.

And be Wise enough to discern What to Win.