Semper Fi

There are stories in our clothing. They are there for the taking, if you just ask. 

I received an email from Ed in Hope Valley, RI, who wanted to donate his late wife’s clothing to Second Serve. He sent me several pictures and I thought they would be perfect in our vintage section. Several formal gowns and a few separates. I told him I would swing by and check them out.

I asked Ed why his wife, Joyce, had so many gowns. He said she needed them because they went to the Marine Corp Ball every year when they lived in Cherry Point, North Carolina, where Ed worked for ten years.

To which I responded, “GET OUT- No way I was born in Cherry Point!” And then told him about my marine familial heritage- both brothers, my dad, three uncles and a ton of cousins. 

Ed was from a long line of marines as well, but he actually served in the Navy. He said his parents were pointing him that way at the height of the Vietnam war, thinking he would not be sent to Vietnam. In the navy Ed actually volunteered to go to Vietnam, but was never selected to serve in that campaign. After four years on active duty, he spent 36 years as a federal civilian employee working as a Housing Director serving military families. That’s what he was doing in Cherry Point. Forty years of service!

He told me about going to the Marine Corp Ball with his wife Joyce, and how she picked out a different dress each year for the event. He spoke about Joyce with such love and tenderness. He wanted her dresses to go to a good cause, and he thought that Joyce would love Second Serve Resale (he often spoke of her in the present tense.) He said, “Joyce is very happy and smiling from heaven”. 

Take a look at these donations:

Here are a few pictures of Joyce in these dresses with Ed at the Marine Corp Ball:

Ed was glad to be able to give Joyce’s clothes to someone who could use them, and for a good cause. I told Ed that I was going to tell this story of meeting him and his donation, because it will show that we have a wearable history, and that someone else can wear the next chapter of that history. There is meaning in clothing! I kind of went into my “Second Serve” mode of how these stories are important to lower consumption, that we are not going to throw away clothing when we know where it’s been, and where it can go. Ed listened patiently, bless him, and nodded.

We talked some more about places we have lived and how we both got to Rhode Island. I thanked Ed for his service and then he asked me to thank my family for theirs. 

As I was leaving I told him what a pleasure it was to meet him, and to talk with him. I thanked him for his meaningful donation. As I was getting in the car he said “Semper Fi!” and I yelled “SEMPER FI!” back. 

I wasn’t emotional or anything when I was talking to Ed, but writing this, I am. What a wonderful interaction to have. An in-person human interaction that radiates joy and love and kindness. These moments are more frequent as I meet people who want to donate to Second Serve Resale. What a blessing. I am grateful.

Ed sent me a follow up email and wrote, “Thank you for being so kind to Joyce and this ole sailor”.

Hey Ed- both you and Joyce are paying it forward. Thank you!! And this Second Serve Community thanks you. 

Well done sailor.


  • Janice Doyle

    Ed is my brother-in-law. My sister Joyce could not have asked for a more wonderful husband. I know how much they meant to each other and I know Joyce would be happy with what he has done.

  • Maggie Stewart

    I have had the pleasure of knowing Ed for a few years. He is an extremely nice gentleman. I live in RI also, not too far from him. We have kept in touch by phone or FB. 8 am handicapped and don’t get out much. We keep in touch at least weekly. It is the highlight of my week. He is always upbeat and lifts my spirit. Thanks Ed for your service and your friendship.

  • Kenneth J Carr

    Ed has been our neighbor for about 11 years. He is a terrific person, every bit as described in the above story. We first met Ed when we were knocking on doors in his neighborhood. We were considering buying the house next to him. Most folks we saw that day just brushed us off or did not answer. Ed spent two hours telling us all about the neighborhood! He helped us finalize our decision. We told Ed that we wanted to have an Ozie and Harriet neighbor relationship with him … just drop in any time. And that’s how it has been all these years!

  • Barbara Baize

    I worked with Ed for several of the years he was at Cherry Point and considered him and Joyce good friends. So glad to know her dresses went to a good cause. Wish we had something similar here.

  • Jackie Ford

    Ed’s my brother, and reading this, just exemplifies his soul…I hope you find good homes for Joyce’s things. Your mission is wonderful! Semper fi to you!

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