Milspouse on a Mission: How One Quarantine-schooling Mama is Conquering Coronavirus, One Costume at a Time

As a military spouse and mother, Marciana “Marci” Gillispie has worn many hats. In fact, she’s worn more than fourteen (and counting) since the coronavirus pandemic started. But, we’ll talk more about that in a minute.

Marciana Gillispie is no stranger to the military. The former military brat is married to a United States Air Force (USAF) chaplain and lives in the Midwest – having temporarily traded the alligators and beaches of Florida for turkeys and cornfields. As soon as you meet the fiery powerhouse in person, though, you quickly realize she’s so much more than a “military spouse”. In fact, if you’re not immediately struck by her ready smile and outgoing personality, something’s wrong (with you, I mean, not with Marci). Even her sarcasm is good-natured. It’s easy, then, to see how she’s already garnered so many friends and adopted family over the course of her thirty-odd years.

I, for one, was immediately drawn to Marciana Gillispie. My husband, who’d PCS’d to the Midwest while I wrapped things up in Georgia, “warned” me over the phone shortly before I arrived. “There’s one chaplain’s wife here in particular you’re really going to like,” he said. My husband is a pretty good judge of character. He was absolutely right.

Challenged

Marciana doesn’t talk much about herself (she’s first to tell you that), but her good nature is a gift that has undoubtedly come in handy during various stages of her life – first, as a military child, then as a missionary braving the rainforests of Papa New Guinea with her husband, John, and yet again as she forayed into the jungles of motherhood.

Now, though, Marciana and her quick wit are tackling a challenge of a different kind – COVID-19. While the deadly pandemic continues its in discriminatory sweep of the world, she’s conquering the virus one costume, and one smile, at a time.

And speaking of costumes, let’s get back to those hats. In the past four weeks, Mrs. Gillispie has been a mermaid, Wonder Woman, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, a Mattel Barbie, Disney’s Moana, Mary Poppins, a Minion, Tinkerbell, Princess Jasmine and Scarlett from Clue. That’s just to name a few. It has definitely made for lively quarantine school sessions.

Heroes for Heroes, Inc. Omaha

It all started during the last year, when Marciana began donating time to fledgling non-profit Heroes for Heroes Inc., Omaha. HOH is an award-winning volunteer group, comprised of military and DOD members. It’s also the brain child of an airman, Andrew Byrne. Members enrich the lives of disadvantaged children, young and old, by dressing as princesses and superheroes during public appearances.

Heroes for Heroes has also proven its longevity by pivoting during the pandemic and continuing to serve the community, virtually. In fact, if you visit the group’s Facebook page, you’ll see Mrs. Gillispie dressed as Poison Ivy, reading a book aloud during a virtual story-time, and yet another volunteer dressed as Wonder Woman, attending a child’s socially distanced 7th birthday party.

My Many Faces

Like many parents, coronavirus found Marciana Gillispie at home for several weeks with several little ones (and a husband). After being quarantined for awhile, the days were starting to blur together. “We need something to break up the days,” she said to her husband, John. When she proposed the idea of cosplaying at home, he told her to go for it. The Amazon purchases started rolling in.

The Gillispies’ children, ages 61/2, 8 and 10, sometimes join in on the fun but, Marci says, “I imagine it’s a bit like being Walt Disney’s kids – sometimes you’re in it and sometimes you’re over it.

Eventually, Marci began posting her various costumes to her personal Facebook page and she quickly garnered attention. She does her best to comply with requests for specific costumes and now has a dedicated Facebook page. “I’m not a ‘convention’ person,” she says, “But it’s fun to do it for the kids.”

If you’d like to keep track of Marciana Gillispie’s many faces, follow her here: My Many Faces.

HEY! While you’re here, check out our new podcast – DiscardIt. “You may be scarred., you may have been bruised, but your story isn’t over yet.” Available now wherever you listen to podcasts.

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