This post is part of the series True Stories of Real Army Wives. To read last week’s post, click here.
Before they rode into Iraq, they camped in Kuwait….where Alan shaved his head. You can see the tent city they slept in behind Alan in the photo.
Alan was good about taking photos with a disposable camera and mailing me the cameras later on. I’m going to include a few of those pictures in today’s post.
Wed., July 23, 2003
Oh! Well, I went to choir practice tonight. I left in tears.
At the end of practice, Bruce announced that he saw on Fox News today that plans are made for year-long deployments and that 4ID is scheduled to come back in April.
Granted, I have heard this several times, but not on the news! This made it feel so much more official to me. Something about it just caused me to instantly turn on the water works. I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t.
So I got hugged many times on my way out of the room. It was just that feeling where your heart hits your feet. Alan, I just love you so much.
After choir I dried my tears, still feeling blue. But I know I have a life to get on with, so I drove on post and found Smith Middle, where I’m interviewing for a middle school science position tomorrow. That way I won’t get lost.
Then I came home. I drive up, and there’s Katherine, in her gym clothes, pouring ant killer all over the sidewalk. I started talking to her. Then Phan, their female houseguest, came outside too.
Then we all came inside our house and hung out. While we were talking, Bruce Berry called to apologize for what he said at choir about the 4ID. He was very humble sounding. I could tell he REALLY felt badly. He said something like, “I should’ve thought about you sitting back there. I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry.”
Of course, I told him I am okay and not to worry about it. Poor Bruce.
Katherine and Phan stayed over, and we ate and watched tv until 11. It was so nice. I really don’t know what I’d do without these girls.
I miss you, Alan. It hurts to think about missing you until April 2004. (That means we’re 1/3 the way through.) It hurts, but I know we’ll be okay. We’ve got a long road to hoe. It’s going to be so weird when I see you again. Perhaps it will be like falling in love all over again. Now that could be exciting!
Alan sent me this photo. When there are no showers, these are treasures. While Alan was overseas, I took photos he sent me and put them into a War scrapbook. He helped me with the captions later.
Friday, July 25, 2003
Hey! I’m really sorry, but yesterday was so crazy that I did not find time to write! I never even made it to sleep!
It’s 7:50 am. I’m on a plane in Dallas. It’s still boarding, and I have SO MUCH to catch you up on.
Well, Wednesday night I found out that y’all DEFINITELY have orders to remain in Iraq until next April. 13 month deployment!! Of course, the news struck me hard, but I feel so bad for you.
I mean you are spending a whole year in a horrible desert, where they speak a foreign language and many of them probably hate Americans. I am so sorry.
But I also got called Wednesday for an interview at Smith Middle School (on post). It’s a 6th grade science position. I was so excited.
The interview was yesterday.
It went okay, but I don’t expect to get the job. And worst of all, I was competing with Eric, a friend of mine from class, for the position. He just got out of the Army in April of this year. He and I are the only ones in the 4-8 class with a science concentration.
I’ve never competed against someone I know for a position before. I’m afraid he’s a better candidate for the job. My only advantage is that I have much better people skills than Eric, but I’m not sure if I really showed that in my interview because I was so nervous.
The interview only lasted 15 minutes. Well, anyway, it was only my first REAL (post-college) job interview, so at least that’s behind me!
The principal who interviewed me was pretty nice. She just kept commenting on how YOUNG I look. At the end of the interview, she actually asked me my age–which is ILLEGAL, and she knows it because she said, “I know I’m not supposed to ask this, but how old ARE you? You don’t even look old enough to be married!”
Yeah. I told her I’m 22. I really don’t think I’m going to get that job. I’ll find out Monday.
It’s weird. All this stuff is going on in my life, and my husband doesn’t even know about it. You don’t even know that I’ll be in Alabama all weekend! I’m so afraid I’ll miss one of your calls, but I doubt it because you called earlier this week already.
I was so excited that I finally had an interview that I told everybody, so when I got home from class– at like 9:30– I had exactly 7 messages to return from friends and family who all wanted to know how it went. (Your mom, my mom, Amy, Jennings, Chrisynda, Cloe, & Sarah)
I ended up talking to your sister for like an hour. Amy and I get along really well. I think we both find each other easy to talk to. I can honestly say that if I had known Amy in college, we would’ve been close friends.
So it was 11:30 when I got off the phone, and I still had to finish packing and cleaning, so it was 1:30 am when I crawled into bed.
I was so wound up, knowing I had a 6am flight and thinking about my interview and about you being gone until NEXT APRIL– I couldn’t sleep at all– not a wink.
My alarm was set for 3:45 am. At 3:30, I just turned it off and got up.
Elsie and I left for the airport at 5 am. It has been quite fun flying with Elsie. I can’t imagine this deployment without her. We’re talking about flying home together for Thanksgiving and Christmas too! That will help so much!
You will like her husband too. I know you will because he sounds so much like you. He even wrote their home church in Daleville a letter, just like how you wrote your home church. He’s a lieutenant too, but he’ll be promoted to captain in the not-too-distant future. Well, you’ve met him once. I’ve never even met him, but of course, I hear about him all the time.
Well, we’re taking off now. Remember our flight to Jamaica? I just can’t believe I have to live in memories for 9 more months. It’s not even half way over.
But I must say, time is speeding by, which is what I want, for now. By the time we move, I’m going to be so attached to our little neighborhood, I’m not going to want to leave Texas!
However, I think we should move someplace COLDER next time. Germany or Alaska, if we still need to get in an overseas tour. But if IRAQ doesn’t count as one, that’s ridiculous!
OH!!! Does it count? Oh, if it does, can I pick the next duty station?? I want to either move back home or move to Fort Lewis. I hear it’s beautiful, and I know you liked it when you were there!
Or could we just pick a duty station that our friends are at? I’d be good with that.
…….O.K. So I hate to tell you this because I know you don’t even want a house where a cat has ever been, so let me start by saying it’s only for 3 months. Eric, in my teacher class, has a girlfriend who is TDY in Qatar and needs someone to take care of her cat until she gets back. So, knowing that you won’t be back for 9 months–which will give the house 6 months between the cat and now– I jumped at the chance.
Please understand. It’s only for a little while, and I kind of NEED this. I hope you don’t mind. I thought this would be okay.
Me and Kitty, my foster cat
Tomorrow Granny Hyde turns 90, and I will be at her party. After such a rough week, it’ll be a good time for me to be with family.
Oh! I got your 2nd package Thursday with all my letters and other letters and the Army stuff. I got doubles of the Iraq pictures you sent me in the last package, and I split the doubles between Amy and our parents. Everyone was very pleased about that.
One last thing…
What should I do about Thanksgiving and Christmas? Do I still go to your grandparents’ house and Waynesboro? Yes. Yes, for Christmas I think it would be best. I’ll just go to my side of the family for Thanksgiving though.
Y’all still make the daily news. I don’t watch it much, but I get my daily CNN news breaks. The capture of Uday and Qusay (or whatever) has really lifted hopes around here. That was indeed exciting news. How has it been received by the people of Iraq?
There’s so much I want to know about your new position in Ad Dwar and who you are friends with and what interactions you’ve had with the people of Iraq. I am so proud of you. We all are.
One of the 4-42 Coffee Group wives– I WISH I could remember her name– called me yesterday. She said there’s a group of them who get together every week, and she just thought about me and invited me. I couldn’t go this week, but I’m hoping to go next week. I do REALLY want to get to know more 4-42 wives better. The lady who called me is actually a very pregnant, cute, curly red-headed woman. I only wish I could remember her name, but it meant a lot to me to be invited.
Well, I just wanted to write you a good long letter to catch you up on everything. Sure enough this makes 11 pages. Hang in there, Alan. You’re doing such a great job. It’ll be over before we know it. (I hope!)
I love you, and I’m praying for you.
Maybe you’re wondering if I got this job from the interview I mentioned.
Well, no. I didn’t, but that wasn’t too surprising. It was weeks before I got another interview, and only 3 days before the first day of school, before I solidified a job for myself. My precious Sunday school teacher advised me against it. She said I should hold out for a KISD position, as they had more resources.
Instead, I accepted a position teaching 3rd and 4th grade in one classroom, at a charter school, in one of the poorest areas of Killeen, Texas.
I knew it would be a challenge, but I was excited that someone was taking a chance on a young new teacher like me. The only thing that concerned me was the 2 grades in one classroom thing and the fact that I wasn’t trained at ALL to teach 3rd graders, especially ones who couldn’t read well.
Was I in over my head……Come back next week to see what happened!
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