In a society that faces a skyrocketing divorce rate, Joseph Valentinetti’s I Am Diving provides a powerful message on marriage through the character of Teri, who stands by her husband through the most trying circumstances that a couple can endure and reminds readers that marriage is a sacrament. Through a dishonorable discharge, mental illness, and mysterious disappearances, Teri remains true to the commitment she made to her husband and God.
Teri’s husband, Jack, suffers from dissociative fugues, disappearing for days and weeks at a time; despite the warnings of her suspicious friends who believe that he is cheating; Teri maintains that Jack is innocent and is not playing her for a fool. Her belief in marriage is evident through her actions; however, her words offer an evocative statement for readers. When Jack questions why she is fiddling with her wedding ring, accusing her of toying with “married, not married,” Teri vehemently replies that, ““Our marriage is a sacrament, not as joke, not an example. It means something even beyond you and me and far beyond this ring.”
In a world where “irreconcilable differences” is the standard grounds for divorce, Teri is an example of someone who has endured the worst and still stands by her marriage and her husband. Even Jack’s therapist commends Teri’s faithfulness, telling her that most people who have dissociative fugues lose their entire families, who do not believe that they are truly ill and view it as a convenient lie. When Jack disappears on another dissociative fugue in which he attempts to shoot Governor Connally to avenge the deaths of the USS Thresher, a submarine for which he had approved faulty plans while Secretary of the Navy, and shoots Kennedy, instead, he returns to the supportive embrace of Teri, from which he draws strength.
Although Teri can only surmise where her husband has been to return in a maniacal state and carrying a gun, she accepts her husband for who and what he is—and his illness as a part of the man that she loves. While Teri may represent an extreme case of marital devotion and trust, she provides readers with an important message on the true nature of marriage that has been lost over time, reminding them that it is a sacrament, and not simply a legal agreement.
The story is a fiction based on fact. This letter is one of the facts the novel is based on.
Letter date: August 12, 1963. Notarized and mailed/receipted August 12, 1963
To: Hon. John Connally, Governor of Texas.
From: A Field Engineer on the Thresher project.
A plot is underway to assassinate you. As former Secretary of the Navy you are well aware of the Submarine Thresher disaster, and how Bendix used fraudulent pressure/depth curves on equipment designed and built by Bendix for submarines of the Thresher class.
An organization…Justice For The Crew Of The Thresher is being formed.
Sir, I beg you, if you do visit Dallas and ride in an open car, please do not allow your loved ones to ride in an open car with you. If a sniper’s bullet, meant for you, was fired from a high powered rifle by one of these disgruntled former service men…
The letter’s author was questioned in August 1963 by Naval Intelligence, The FBI and postal authorities. The FBI and the other investigative agencies, failed to file a report concerning this and later failed to inform the Warren Commission.
In November of 1963 Governor Connally was shot and the president of the United States was assassinated. They were riding in an open car. They were shot by a disgruntled ex-serviceman with a high powered rifle.