Letter to Jayni Mosher

BACK to Her Stories, Her Words

Thanks for your thoughtful response and for your empathy. I do appreciate that.

I too have lamented that we did not get to know one another earlier in time; however, this is the time that is here and I am happy that we have the internet to enable an interaction!

Clyde Griffith and Suzanne Grant on a date at OU.

I have always had a interest in science and medicine.  In fact I wanted to be a doctor specializing in pediatrics or psychiatry from girlhood. I was a Chemistry major at O.U. and took the other required science and math courses to get into med school. I also attended summer sessions and so was able to complete my BA requirements in two and a half years. Clyde and I began dating in 1962, his senior year and my second year at O.U. It was evident to me that I could not marry Clyde and also go to medical school, because his Navy obligations were going to override any decision making regarding living situations. Additionally, my parents were very opposed to our marriage, partially because of my age (19) and also because of the fact that I was the older child and they were not ready for to loose their children. We postponed any plans of a wedding immediately after Clyde’s graduation and Naval Commission. He reported to duty near San Francisco and I stayed at Norman. After the summer session, I visited him and at that time we realized that his ship’s schedule was to basically be our schedule whether we liked it or not.

Owen and Carrie Grant, Suzanne and Clyde Griffith, Sonoma and Carroll Griffith

We decided to marry on September 1. I returned home and took 2 weeks to pull off our little wedding. As you noted some folks were not too happy.

We were happy, however, and have never looked back!

We had four great months in California before Clyde went to the western Pacific with his shipmates on the USS Pyro (an ammunition ship). I returned to school in Norman and completed most of my degree and worked to pay for my keep.  (We did not take any parental financial help after marriage)  I also learned during the first weeks that I was pregnant! Clyde’s “westpac cruise” ended in July and we re-established a home for ourselves and baby Laurie who was born September 19. In early November, the Pyro again set out on a westpac cruise; however this time, the cruise became irregular because the US had begun bombing in Vietnam.

Ensign Clyde E. Griffith, standing in front of the U.S.S. Pyro.

The Pyro was the only ammunition ship available in the western pacific and the men worked extremely long hours to load bombs aboard carriers and then return to the Phillippines to resupply and back to the South China Sea. Their cruise was extended time and time again finally returning home the following November, 1965, after a full year of full time engagement. In December, Clyde had a month leave and orders to report to another ship located in Norfolk, VA. We were so happy to be leaving the west coast and Vietnam. In Norfolk, he was on a ship that was a carrier, but had heliocopters and marines. They primarily took a cruise in the Carribean and picked up astronauts.

Visiting Clyde on a Naval Leave in Puerto Rico.

Laurie and I got to visit in Puerto Rico for about 10 days where Clyde had leave, in mid cruise. It was also only a four month cruise to begin with. After this cruise, his ship was “in drydock” for upgrading and repairs for a year, Clyde had the equivalent of shore duty. During this time, we began making plans for Clyde to resign his commission at the close of his four year obligation. He wanted to attend Seminary at SFTS in San Anselmo, CA and I needed a vocation that could support us! So in September, 1966, I began graduate studies in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond VA.  I completed my first year there, and also verified that it was an occupation with which I could be happy.