Chip and Joanie: A Mail-Order Love Affair
The girls in the pictures are pretty but I’m skeptical, because I ordered a Russian bride years ago and Nastya showed up.
She was a little older than I’d anticipated. Maybe about 50 and missing a few teeth. I was only 20 at the time, so I just put her to work doing laundry and scrubbing the bathroom. Granted, I was hoping for someone along the lines of Mila Kunis, but Nastya was really grateful to be in the USA, plus she made the most delicious gurkins, borsch, and pelmeni this side of the iron curtain.
I’ve only known of one person, besides me, who actually had a mail-order bride. His name was Chip. I’d imagine it still is, but I haven’t spoken to him in years. If you find me online, Chip, then hey! How are ya?
Chip married this girl named Joanie. I think that was her name – probably still is – hey Joanie! – and the interesting thing about them is they got married the day after she stepped off the plane to meet him for the first time.
Chip was a Navy guy stationed in Adak, which is a very remote island in Alaska. I understand there’s not a lot up there and if you’re a Navy person you pretty much have to stick to what’s on the base.
So Chip had this friend who was also a Navy guy, who had this sister back home – that’d be Joanie – and Chip sees a picture of the guy’s sister one day and asks if he can write to her.
“Why not?” says the guy, being the really upstanding fellow that he is, so he phones home and asks his sister if she wouldn’t mind having a pen-pal named Chip. I realize “pen-pal” is a somewhat archaic term these days, but this happened in the eighties, so these people didn’t even have email!
So Chip writes to Joanie, and she writes back, and they swap pics, and they get all goo goo over each other and the next thing I know, they’ve set a wedding date and Joanie is going to fly there and marry him, then live on the base with him in ADAK, ALASKA.
I don’t know where she was flying from, but it must have been pretty awful.
You’d also think that such an arrangement wouldn’t be very successful. You’d think they should probably hang out with each other first and see what all their quirks were and try each other on to see if they fit.
But the problem was that Joanie couldn’t come up and stay on the base unless she was legally married to him. So even if they did just want to hang out for a while, he couldn’t get away because he was on a tour of duty and she couldn’t visit for any decent amount of time because she was a civilian.
So they just got hitched as soon as she unpacked her bags.
Now here’s the exciting part of the story.. it worked! I mean they didn’t get divorced a year later or whatever; they actually had FOUR KIDS when I last talked to Chip, which was in 1999 or something, and it seemed as though they were as happy as can be.
I’ve never met Joanie because Chip and I were roomies in San Diego before he got transferred to Adak, and we just kept in touch for a long time, so I never saw him in person after that or met the missus and the kids. But I saw pics of Joanie, and even though I don’t have any now (which would just be weird, if you really think about it) I can tell you she didn’t look a thing like Nastya.
I remember that Joanie was a pretty brunette, and probably still is.
The moral of the story, I think, is that you can hit the jackpot by taking a chance like the chance Chip took with Joanie, or more appropriately, Joanie took by flying out to marry his dumb butt before she’d even met him.
After all, he was a lonely sailor stationed in the middle of an island made entirely out of ice who was in love with a picture of a pretty girl. So yeah, I guess the chance was more on her part. But anyway, I’m saying that not everything is a rip-off waiting to happen and that if you just take the plunge, maybe it’ll work out rather nicely for you.
I’m not necessarily talking about anything in particular. Apply it to whatever you’re facing today; job, home stuff, relationship or whatever.. just take the plunge.
If you get Nastya, then at least you’ll have a clean bathroom, fresh clothes, and some yummy gurkins for supper tonight.