For previous posts on our young military marriage, click here. This is part of the series I’m writing called The Real Army Wives.
As I mentioned before, Alan was away at training the first 4 months of our marriage, while I finished up my degree at the University of Alabama.
I lived in Tutwiler Hall. The funny thing about Tutwiler Hall, which is the freshman girls’ dormitory, is that there were actually 2 different buildings in the state of Alabama named Tutwiler. The other Tutwiler is the women’s prison.
As you can imagine, everyone had jokes about that, especially Alan. He prided himself, once we got married, on coming to town to stay with me for my “conjugal visit.” Ha!
Even though we lived apart, we took turns visiting one another.
I loved it when Alan would visit and handle all of my Excel homework. 15 years later, I wish I had taken the time to learn how to use Excel. It’s probably the only computer system that is still mostly the same, and I’m still clueless as to how to use it.
When Alan came to town, we slept on an air bed in the floor of my living room at Tutwiler. As the 6th floor Resident Assistant, I had my own living room, bedroom, and bathroom.
It wasn’t much better when I’d go to visit Alan in Oklahoma. I only visited for one extended weekend. It was Thanksgiving. Alan was training to be a field artillery officer. In layman’s terms, that’s the Army’s big guns (cannons), which Alan insists I call “howitzers.”
We had Thanksgiving dinner at Golden Corral that year because Alan called every place in town to see where we could get the most affordable steak.
I will never forget that Thanksgiving because of the crazy person who stole from me. I was staying at the Batchelor Officers’ Quarters with Alan, sharing a bed that could only be described as a 3/4 bed. It wasn’t even quite as big as a full size bed.
Down the hall from our room was the community laundry room. No big deal. I was used to that. We had community laundry at Tutwiler. I wasn’t the kind to sit with my clothes either. I left my clothes in the dryer and returned to my room. On the way out of the laundry room, Alan introduced me to a guy who seemed a little strange in a creepy way, but whatever. I didn’t think too much of it.
You can imagine my dismay when I took my clothes out of the dryer and discovered that all 5 pairs of my panties were missing from the load!!! The rest of my clothes were all there.
Only my underwear was missing!
I’d been stolen from before, but this was weird weird weird. Icky.
I looked at every man in the building with a healthy dose of skepticism after that.
Strange incidents aside, it was a semester of sacrifices. So much separation is hard on a marriage.
We worked hard. Alan was steadily training to lead soldiers to war, and I was squeezing my senior year of college into one semester.
That’s why we decided to do something way exciting and outside the box for fun that October. Remember how we had that free plane ticket left over from the mishap where we missed the military ball? We decided to cash in that ticket and have a 2nd honeymoon in a place neither of us had ever been before but where we’d always wanted to go.
We are both frugal people, but when it comes to relationships, we always fork over the money.
That’s why we fly in to visit our families every summer and Christmas, no matter how many tickets that costs us.
And that’s why we spared no expense going to see each other when we were living separately for a while.
People regret many things, but people never regret spending time with loved ones. No one on their death-bed ever said, “Man, I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with my family.” Nope. Doesn’t happen.
Relationships are always worth the money.
We decided to meet somewhere new and exciting. Alan would fly out from Oklahoma, and I’d fly up from Alabama.
So do you want to know where we went? Come back next Monday! I’ll tell ya all about it.
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