Mom Blog

Oh, the Places You’ve Been! Rewritten for Retirement

My husband Sean is retiring from the Army after 31 years. We’ve been together for 22 of those. It’s been quite an adventure as a Special Forces wife- many ups and downs, many deployments and I’ve probably been looking forward to this day much more than he has. We celebrated the occasion with a party, which of course had many speeches.

My husband was working on his speech for the longest time and originally planned to base it on the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! He ended up trashing that idea and going in a completely different direction, but his idea stuck in my head. The reason being, is that was the book he gave me when I graduated college. I still had the book on our bookshelf. So I pulled it out and read it through, and as I read, I reimagined the story to suit our lives as it is now. (The asterisks indicate a footnote to explain the inside joke or detail)

I made the story much shorter since I was doing it as a speech. You never quite realize how long and wordy Dr. Seuss gets until you’re a parent, halfway through Green Eggs and Ham and wondering if it’s ever going to end.

Oh, the Places You’ve Been!

Today is your day.
You’ve been to Great Places!
Now the Army says, Go away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You’ve done so many things.
Now let’s celebrate with booze!

Oh, the places you’ve been!
So much fun in your life!
Like those years at UF,
Where you met your future wife.

Then you graduated college,
With an unexpected twist.
Because you didn’t get far
On that post-breakup list.*

It was your next great adventure,
California for a term.
Just you and your girl,
and an orange cat named worm.

And you came to a place,
where the streets were not marked.
Some windows were lighted.
But mostly were darked.

It’s called San Francisco,
and it’s there where you’ll birth,
The union proposed,
on Post and Leavenworth.*


You traveled to foreign lands.
Some war torn and corrupt.
You shot a few guns.
Maybe blew some stuff up.

Never lagging behind,
because you had the speed.
To pass the whole gang,
and you soon took the lead.

And wherever you flew,
you were the best of the best.
Because everyone knows,
Green Berets top the rest.

You’re on your own now,
with your wife and your boy.
No army will tell you,
where to deploy.

You’ve looked up and down streets.
Look ’em over with care.
You saw Atlantic Beach and said,
“I want to go there.”

So with your head full of brains,
and your shoes full of feet,
You bought the worst looking house
on the best looking street.*

And then things started to happen,
mostly by your own hand.
And that money pit started looking,
like something quite grand.

And now a new chapter is starting.
A new environment.
And it’s time to enjoy,
A well earned, retirement.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent, guaranteed.)


So…be your name be Martin or Keane or McConaughey,
or Sean O’Cahan Cusack O’Shea,*
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

retirement speech
The only photo I took! Sean’s dad giving his speech.

Speech Footnotes:

*I was the the first girlfriend after Sean broke up with a previous long-term girlfriend. Apparently there was a “list” of planned conquests to celebrate his newfound freedom.

*Sean proposed to me on the corner of Post & Leavenworth in downtown San Francisco, which is where we were living at the time.

*Our house was a total fixer-upper, located on a prominent corner and a neighborhood eyesore. So much so that neighbors would often walk by and pause just to tell us thank you for buying it and fixing it up.

*I mixed some of Seuss’s names in this verse with family names that would mean something to Sean.

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