MOOERS — In 1975, Art and Norma Menard married three times.
Their love story is one riddled with tempestuous weather in her homeland, the Philippines Islands.
Art, a Mooers native, was the youngest of 13 children of Bernard and Adele Menard. He grew up in the house his father built and where he and Norma live today. He graduated from Mooers Central School in 1966 and majored in math education, grades seven through 12, at Manhattan College.
While there, he accompanied his roommate, Bob Murphy, to visit a Peace Corps recruiter.
“I had zero interest,” said Art, a retired educator. “After we listened to the recruiter, my roommate had zero interest, and I walked home with the application and sent it in the same night.”
He had his choice of three countries, and the Philippines Islands were seeking math teachers. He graduated from college in May 1970 and spent two weeks “staging,” a weeding-out process, in San Jose, Calif.
He flew to Honolulu and Guam before arriving in Manila, the capital of the Philippines and the second largest city.
Other than reading a couple of books on the archipelago comprised of 7,107 islands, Art only knew it was a tropical country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean.
After three months of training in Iloilo City, part of Norma’s home province, Art was assigned to Central Luzon State University.
“It was located in Muñoz, in the province of Nueva Ecija,” Art said. “I was actually trained to speak two Philippine languages, Ilocano and Tagalog.”
After a two-year stint, he returned to Mooers for a month’s home leave in October 1972. Upon his return to his assignment, he severely sprained his ankle in a pickup basketball game on Dec. 7 at Central Luzon State University.
He waited weeks to seek medical attention and scheduled a surgery in May 1973 after his classes were done.