Updated date:

Espionage and Sleeping With The Enemy

Traveling and living in Spain for a couple of years, I experienced many things new and different to me. Some were funny and some weren't.

espionage-and-sleeping-with-the-enemy

My Story

It has been over 40 years now and since nothing was done at the time, I don’t feel badly about sharing the story now. When I first married George, I knew he was not an American citizen. He said he was in the process of applying for citizenship but these things take time. I was 19 and pretty naïve so I believed him. Also, he was an airman in the United States Air Force so I figured if he was okay with them he was okay with me. How little I knew.

I'm only 19

I'm only 19

Treason Talk

We hadn’t been married long before I heard the true George speaking. He would often come home angry and frustrated with his commander and superiors, saying how easily deceived we (Americans) were, that we were all a naïve race and he never wanted to be an American. At first, I chalked it up to work stress and tried to dismiss it. At one point he asked for a leave of absence so he could go full time to college and return to the force as an officer, but when he was denied he told me that if the Americans didn’t give him what he wanted then he’d just go to the Russians. He claimed he knew plenty that they would be willing to pay for.

espionage-and-sleeping-with-the-enemy

Suspicious Actions

He was secretive and suspicious of my every move. I learned later that he was projecting on me what he was guilty of. He accused me often of sleeping around, only to find out years later that he had been sleeping with many co-workers and acquaintances. He never showed me the bank balance or let me even see his paychecks. When he said there was not enough money to buy me cloth for me to make my own dress, I believed him. Yet he had enough money to take flying lessons and go on many solo flights each weekend while working toward his pilot’s license. I was never allowed to get groceries without him because he had the checkbook. Still, I assumed that was just his way and tried not to think he was hiding things. I should have been more suspicious.

Me in Germany

Me in Germany

"There is no place where espionage is not possible."

— Sun Tzu

Deployed Overseas

When George got his orders to go to Spain, he had a choice to go for 2 years by himself or to agree to 3 years and have the military pay my way as well as all our furniture. But George didn’t want to agree to 3 years in Spain and instead opted for 2 years and paid for my ticket out of his own pocket. I didn’t know that he had saved enough to pay for a plane ticket to Spain for me but apparently, he had. What is more, he decided he wanted to have our car with us and he paid out of his pocket to ship the VW Bug to Cadiz, Spain. I have no clue what that cost but I bet it cost more than my plane ticket. Yet, he didn’t have enough for a $4 hunk of fabric for me to have a new dress. And still, I didn’t question or suspect.

Vacation Through Europe

After we had been in Spain for about a year and our daughter was 3 months old, George took 3 weeks off to take a driving trip through Europe. He planned the route for weeks, pouring over his maps with a highlighter, saying if we stopped at US bases along the way, we could save money by staying at base temp housing. Sometimes this was good, and sometimes it was iffy as to whether we would have a nice place to stay or not. Anyway, it was a meandering zig-zag route through Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and back through France to Spain. That was the plan and I believed he was trying to save money.

We saw many cool sites along the way. But then some strange things happened. George took his briefcase with us, I assumed to keep the maps safe. He never let me look in so I don’t know what else was in it. He never let it out of his sight. He brought it into hotel rooms with us and even into restaurants. And again, I wasn’t suspicious at first.

Trains in Europe were fun to ride.

Trains in Europe were fun to ride.

Frankfurt, Germany

When we got to Germany we stayed with George’s sister and brother-in-law who worked for an international bank. They often sent him to many places, like Panama, New York City, and Germany. While we were there, George’s sister told him he should call her good friend when we got to Zurich. They spoke often but my Spanish was pretty basic and I often lost because they spoke so fast. Mostly I don’t know what all they talked about. But I didn’t suspect.

Me in Germany with my daughter on my back.

Me in Germany with my daughter on my back.

Munich, Germany

When we got to Munich we got up early one morning and went to a restaurant for breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised because he didn’t like to spend money on breakfast. Usually, I fended off hunger with bread for breakfast. There was one other man in the restaurant with us who sat across the room. While I was feeding the baby, he came up to us and dropped a baby rattle with plastic keys on a ring on the table, saying for the baby, and then he smiled and left. I thought, “how sweet these people are,” and was ready to naively name the whole country a sweet place. George got up and said he had to get something out of the car. I couldn’t imagine what, since he had his precious briefcase with him but I didn’t question. I let the baby play with the plastic keys as I finished up feeding her baby food. Still, George didn’t come back. He had been gone a long while and I was beginning to be worried when finally half an hour later he returned and said we needed to leave.

Fast food European style.

Fast food European style.

Zurich, Switzerland

It seemed like a hurried trip to Zurich from there and there were no more US bases to stop at. When we got there George called his sister’s friend and we stayed with them for 2 days. The lady Julta (pronounced Utah) was very welcoming but couldn’t speak any English. Her husband was from the same country as George and they stayed up late into the night talking in hushed whispers.

My oil painting of the Swiss kids.

My oil painting of the Swiss kids.

Rush to Get Back

After that, we were supposed to go to Pisa, Italy but George suddenly announced we needed to get back right away because we were out of money. He still had a week of vacation and I had no idea if he was right about the money or not. He had been taking his time before and spending like he had trunk loads of money. Later as I looked for the baby rattle, I couldn’t find it.

Should I be worried?

Should I be worried?

Final Thoughts

Where was it? What had been in it? Why did we have enough money to buy a brand new car when we got back despite his claim that we were out of money? He boasted that the military gave him a “bonus” of $10,000, but later I found out that the military never gave bonuses of that size. So where did it come from? Did he sell something to the Russians? The Germans? Was I sleeping with an espionage agent? What do you think?

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 11, 2021:

It was a difficult time for me but I think I grew stronger through it. I feel more self-assured and I know I will never let anyone get away with that kind of conduct in my presence again. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 31, 2020:

Devika Primić,

I am away from that situation and happy about it. Life is good for me with my second husband. He treats me like a queen. Thanks for commenting and have a happy new year.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 31, 2020:

Abby Slutsky emailed me,

Your story was riveting. You were very brave to leave him when you had two young ones. You are a strong lady. Sorry, I do not know how to comment on Maven. A happy, healthy year to you.

Abby,

I appreciate you think I'm brave, but I didn't feel very brave at the time. Thanks for commenting and have a happy new year as well.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 31, 2020:

Denise what an experience? You are now away from that place. Happy New Year to you for a healthier, happier and and prosperous year for all

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 30, 2020:

Mary Norton,

I did believe him but after it made me very cynical of anything anyone says to me. I wish I was a believing trusting girl again. It is such a nicer way to live. Thanks for commenting and a very happy new year to you.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 30, 2020:

Ann Carr,

Thanks. You talk like you have experience of your own with manipulative men. You have a good new year too. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 30, 2020:

Nithya Venkat,

I feel very silly and simple for not realizing sooner what kind of a man he was. My dad didn't like him when they first met and I never could understand why. I guess men can see when other men are being two-faced. I was too young to see it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 30, 2020:

What an experience that was, and thankfully, you got out. You were young and must have believed him.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 30, 2020:

Well, Denise, that must have been awful for you! Glad you finally managed to get away but what a nightmare. So often, someone you think loves you can be manipulative and controlling, and you still keep hoping things will change. You expect trust and love so it's hard when you realise what a mistake you've made. Makes you feel foolish doesn't it and your self-esteem goes. However, you bounced back and took charge of your life, so well done you. I hope he got his comeuppance.

I think there was some microfilm in the baby's rattle, or maybe plans of something, or possibly drugs. I think you got out of something before it escalated even more!

Happy New Year, Denise! Hope you and yours have a wonderful 2021.

Ann

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 29, 2020:

It must have been a harrowing experience, you are brave. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

RoadMonkey,

It is interesting that you used that term, "gaslighting". I love the movie because I experienced it myself and can tell you that it is easy for someone you love to convince you that you are crazy. He was a very violent, controlling, heartless man and I'm glad we escaped. Unfortunately, there is more to the story because he used that same manipulation on my girls and convinced them that I was a liar and convinced them to leave me to live with him. It was a terrible time. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

Thank you. I'm glad we got away. By the time we were headed back to the states, I was expecting again. The second daughter was only 6 months old when I left George for good. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

Chitrangada Sharan,

Yes, things have changed for the better for me. Is it any wonder why I love fairy tales so much? They speak of a happier simpler time of childhood. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

MG Singh emge,

Yes, it is true and there was a lot more that happened but I just shared the highlights. The military eventually discharged him but for another reason (conduct unbecoming an officer) because he was sleeping with an enlisted man's wife. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

John Hansen,

I could almost use it as a basis for a spy novel, couldn't I? I just don't know how to end a thing like that. What would you write for the ending? Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

BRENDA ARLEDGE,

Yes, it could very well have had some microchip or microfilm of something. I wouldn't have thought another thing about it but immediately after we rushed back, driving straight through for 2 days. I couldn't understand it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 29, 2020:

This is a very interesting and scary story. It definitely sounds like something strange was happening in your husband’s life. I’m glad that you and your daughter stayed safe.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

Rosina S Khan,

He was also very violent and controlling, beating me regularly for 4 years. I was glad to get away from him but I stayed single for 7 years thinking that no men were worth knowing until my present husband convinced me that not all men are like George. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

Peggy Woods,

Maybe I will share the rest, even though it is rather anticlimactic. He was very controlling and violent. He beat me for 4 years, 2 months, and 28 days till I finally ran away with the two babies. By the time we came back to the states from Spain, I was expecting again but it was the beginning of the end of my marriage. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

Cynthia Zirkwitz,

I would have to make up an ending I think since as far as I knew nothing came of my testimony given at the time I left him. They were hoping for more information, names, exact dates, but George never let me "meet" people to get names like that. I had dates we were in certain places but that didn't help them. So they dropped it as far as I knew. The report I got stated that poor George was being harassed by an ex-wife who wanted to destroy his career. Not a good ending for a story, is it? Still, I believe something was going on that no one could prove. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

RoadMonkey on December 29, 2020:

Wow, looking back on what happened, you can often see so much more than you could at the time. You could make that into a story. It wouldn't have to be about espionage because it includes control and gaslighting. I am sure you are glad to have got away from him.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 29, 2020:

Pamela Oglesby,

Well, after I left him I started to put the pieces together and it all seemed fishy to me too. He had top security clearance too. How can they give top security clearance to someone who is not a citizen? I wonder about that. The rest of the story only amounted to me writing to my senator and getting an investigation going which lead to lots of interviews with me but no results that I could see. I imagine they kept a closer watch on him though. Happy new year and thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 29, 2020:

This was good and engaging story Denise. I am sure you must be feeling lighter after sharing this with others.

Those were the times, when wives hardly questioned their husbands, and husbands didn't bother to tell everything to their wives. But your case sounds different. Thank God, it was your past. Things have changed now, and for the better.

Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with us.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 29, 2020:

This is a wonderful tale almost a thriller but I assume it is true. Thank you very much for sharing it with all of us.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 28, 2020:

Wow, this reads like an espionage spy novel. I am sure there was much more to George than he revealed to you. Thank you for sharing this, Denise.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 28, 2020:

This is an interesting article.

It seems as though you have been down alot of paths trusting in the man you love.

Sometimes there is no clear answer. We get deceived by the best of men.

Hopefully you are okay. They say whatever doesnt kill us makes us stronger.

I suppose we build up enough inner strength to make it through the next phase that will take our breath away.

As for the rattle...I believe it is missing because it had something of value.

In these days who knows...maybe a tiny microchip.

Rosina S Khan on December 28, 2020:

I have often wondered, Denise, why you didn't remain with your first husband. Now I understand. It does look like he was an espionage agent and you were only 19 to understand the depth of it. I am glad you finally got away from him and probably married a much better and loyal husband. Wish you a very happy new year.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 28, 2020:

Whether he was an espionage agent or not, he was very controlling of you. That alone would not bode well. I hope we get to hear more of this suspicious-sounding story if you feel free to share it.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on December 28, 2020:

Hi Denise,

This is an interesting story to have lived, but I am sure you are happy to be distanced from it now. I don't know enough about espionage-- or even the military, for that matter-- but I do know a fair amount about the wiles of controlling and abusing men, having worked with women and children who lived with them. I also do know people who have worked in "Intelligence" in other capacities, and given that they were just ordinary blokes I would not be too surprised if George did have some nefarious activities on the go during the time you were together in Europe. Also, the people he "consorted with" that you found out about later... who knows what their connections could have been to the powers that were in those "different times". I agree with Pamela that this post makes for a great mysterious start to a longer story that I hope you will share soon. (and Happy New Year).

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 28, 2020:

Denise, this tale sure sounds fishy. It is amazing how naive we can be at 19. He is the father of your baby and has you in Europe, so I can imagine your lack of questions to him. It was a different time, also.

I think it is very possible you were sleeping with an espionage agent, but I can't imagine what information he could obtain while serving in the military. I hope you write another saga to tell us the rest of the story

Related Articles