The Dave Meadows Story


How to Really Screw up Your Life  

Dave Meadows joined the Paul Foster around 1985.  For all intents and purposes he might as well have been born that year too.

He was a fresh-faced kid from Ohio; blond hair and blue eyes, a non-drinker, religious and incredibly naive.

A lot of kids from the Corn Belt in my experience were never exposed to much of the larger outside world prior to Naval service.

Dave was no exception.

Dave was a likable guy who worked in engineering.  Never got in any trouble, always did what he was asked.  Just a dependable, nice young man.

Then came the Philippines.

For those of you who have never been to the Philippines, it is kind of like Tijuana, except a whole lot cheaper.  Just about
anything you desire is yours in the the Philippines if you have the $$.

It is not the place for a fresh faced kid from Ohio to go wandering about without adult supervision.

At any rate, on with the story.

When Naval personnel hit the shores of a foreign country the first place the bulk of those personnel hit are the bars.

Dave, not knowing any better and wanting to fit in with the crowd, discovered the bar scene his first night out and promptly fell in love with the first brown skinned beauty who sat on his lap.

It must have been a heck of an experience because he spent every minute of his off time in that particular bar with that particular
girl.  He even paid people to take his duty watches so he could spend more time with his new found love.

Some people on board, myself included, got concerned and talked to Dave about it. 

Dave wasn't listening.

He was returning to the ship drunk every night. Sometimes he missed roll call in the morning.

Bear in mind that this was a guy who several months prior did not drink and actually went to church on Sundays.

A couple days prior to getting under way (leaving port),  Dave gave his girl friend a six hundred dollar gold necklace.  This was
in 1980's dollars.  He was severely depressed about having to leave his true love.

The morning we actually were supposed to get underway there was no Dave at roll call.  Dave was not on the ship.   The Chief sent a couple guys out to find Dave and they found him in the bar not wanting to leave.  They got him back to the ship and for the rest of the cruise Dave was a very unhappy camper.

Dave wanted out of the Navy badly and his work and attitude reflected that.  He wanted to be back in the Philippines with his one true love, who was no doubt truly loving a few people other than Dave as soon as Dave left.

Back in the States at the Long Beach Naval Base he hung up the bible and spent his nights at the enlisted men's club chugging down beers.

Somewhere around that time he discovered a lot of Philippino women from around the base played Bingo several times a week.

Dave started playing Bingo too.

And thus started the long, slow downward slide.

In the Bingo Parlor one night,  Dave met a nice Philippino woman whose husband (yes, I said husband) had recently shipped out on a  WesPac cruise for six months. She had five kids and lived in base housing. 

Shortly thereafter, Dave was living in base housing too. Life for Dave suddenly got a whole lot better, or so he thought.

Our ship was due for an overhaul and this was going to take place near Portland, Oregon at Northwest Marine Ironworks.  The overhaul was scheduled to last about a year.  Everyone was thrilled about spending a year in Portland except for Dave, whose latest love was living in Long Beach base housing.  

Dave really wanted out of the Navy, but not badly enough to arrange to get booted out on a bad conduct discharge.  He was beside himself about moving away once again from his one true love. 

Those first few weeks in Oregon, you could hear Dave talking on the phone professing his love for the Lady from Long Beach.

We kind of figured that once Dave spent some time in Oregon, he would forget about the other and get his head straight - preferably with someone who was not married.

Well.........That didn't happen.

WesPac cruises do end and the Lady from Long Beach opened the door one day to find her husband standing in the door.  The husband had had a couple beers and he did not handle seeing his wife four months pregnant real well.  The wife ended up in the hospital with a couple shiners.  Someone called shore patrol and the husband spent a few days in lockup.

The Lady from Long Beach called Dave and informed him he was going to become a daddy and that she was in the hospital all bruised up.

Dave kind of snapped.

He flew down to Long Beach over the weekend and packed up the woman, the kids and all the family belongings.  He rented out a truck and hauled everyone and everything to Oregon.

I don't think at this point in time Dave made  more than six or seven hundred a month.

He may have made Petty Officer but I kind of doubt it. 

He rented a house and on his salary, that probably just barely covered the rent.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Long Beach, the husband got released from lockup.  He went back to housing and opened the door to find no wife, no kids, no furniture.

The husband called the police and filed burglary and theft charges against Dave and threw in a charge of adultery. 

The wife filed battery charges against her husband.

Adultery in the Navy can be a big deal.  A person convicted of adultery in the military can look forward to several years in a
military prison and a bad conduct discharge on release.  Not quite like no-fault divorces in the civilian life.

The situation had the potential for getting very ugly. There were essentially two military bases involved.

The base Captains got together and enforced a solution:

1.  The woman, kids and property would return to Long Beach.

     Theft, burglary and adultery charges against Dave would be dropped.

2.  Dave would cease all communication with the Lady from Long Beach.

     Dave would tell the Lady to drop battery charges against her husband.

And that is what happened, more or less.          

Is that the end of the story?

Not a chance.   Dave kept on sliding.

Dave and the Lady from Long Beach kept on communicating. 

At some point it dawned on them that if she divorced her husband, Dave and the Lady could get married and everything would be legal.

Divorce doesn't happen instantaneously in California.  It takes at least six months.

The Lady from Long Beach called Dave one night and informed him that she had filed for divorce from her husband.

But..............There was one small problem.

The Lady's husband agreed to the divorce on the condition that Dave adopt all the kids after they got married, relieving him of any child support obligations.  In return, he would make no trouble and he guaranteed never to see either of them again.

The husband wasn't the brightest bulb in the room, but on that day he saved himself a fricking fortune.

Did that stipulation give Dave pause?

Heck no,  he just kept on sliding.

Dave was now at a cross roads. A critical choice had to be made.   Dave knew he could never support a family of five and one in the oven on his salary.  He hated the Navy but how could he support such a large family in civilian life?  Dave was smart enough to figure the possibility of that happening was somewhere between slim and none.

Dave's soon to be wife pointed out that Dave's enlistment was just about up.  If Dave re-enlisted again, there would be a healthy bonus involved.  She also informed Dave that medical, dental, housing (for Petty Officers) on base was free.  Commissary privileges made food and other consumables very reasonable indeed.

Say what you will about the military, but they do take care of their own.

Dave would also get a healthy increase in his monthly salary for each child, provided of course that he adopted them.

Heck, Dave would be in the catbird seat....... if he re-enlisted  ........... and if he adopted five kids.

Did Dave even blink?

No way. True Love was involved.

Dave and the Lady from Long Beach got Married.

Dave adopted all the kids.

The ex-husband was true to his word and never heard from again.

Dave re-enlisted and became a dedicated man - dedicated to making rate and advancing as fast as possible.  Takes a lot of money to support a wife and six kids.

Where did Dave relocate for his next duty assignment?  The Philippines of course.  His wife wanted to be closer to her family.

Is that the end of the story?  

Did Dave live happily ever after?

Heck no, but by now you may have figured that out.

Within a year of relocating to the Philippines,  Dave's wife filed for divorce.  Dave's wife was never in it for love. 

She had a plan.

How much money do you figure you could get for child support with six kids? 

A fricking fortune and having that fricking fortune in the Philippines paid out every month for at least eighteen years in US dollars would enable the Lady from Long Beach to live like a queen.

The only way Dave could logically survive would be to stay in the navy where housing and food is free.  He sure wouldn't have any money left with those massive child support payments being garnished from his check each month.

For Eighteen Years.

The Navy takes child support very seriously and once you are in the system, you aren't getting out.

Since Dave adopted all the kids, Dave was now obligated to pay child support for each child until their eighteenth birthday.

In US Dollars.

To the Philippines.

For at least Eighteen Years.

So what happened to Dave?

I honestly don't know.

I did hear a rumor that Dave did make Chief in record time.

If you have kids who are in the midst of walking that fine line between doing something really stupid and not,  encourage them to read this. 

They might just save themselves some eighteen years of grief and a whole pot full of $$$.

2008 footnote:  

This web page is a couple years old and something must have happened in 2007.  In 2007 I recieved a spate of emails from parents who forced their kids to read this story for various reasons. It has produced a few positive results insofar as kids doing stupid things is concerned.

The number one criticism or complaint is that some kids tell their parents after reading this, that it is total bs...... a complete fabrication and not worth any further comment. Parents then request I at least state whether or not this is a true story.

A few people believe they know this individual and would I be so kind as to confirm a name or two sent my way.

Nope, won't do that.   I can neither confirm nor deny.

The purpose of this page be it fact or fiction, is to try to get someone who might be in the process of making a life changing mistake to perhaps reconsider the path they are taking.  As we who have been there know, the battle against hormones is not an easy one and the outcome is never predictable but you do what you can, and that is all you can do.  

As an aside and at kind of an opposite end of the parental - kid spectrum, there is this.  I am sure you know someone who can relate to it as well.

I don't want to Oprasize this, but if you have  a story you'd like to pass a long in the interest of preventing what might be one of those irreversible errors, feel free.  I think it is important.  And......there  are a lot of people more talented than me when it comes to writing.

Case  in point:  MacDuff

2009 Footnote:

Boy this page continues to remain popular.  Doesn't say a lot about the state or our society.

Bill and his 'It's not sex' and Barry with his 'I wouldn't want to burden my daughter with - a baby.........'  seem to have made a lasting impression on society at large.
However there seems to be a significant portion of the population that do not agree with the liberal standards insofar as relationships are concerned and that in my view is a good thing.