I wrote this for a writing club I joined. I decided to redo an old flash fiction piece I wrote quite a while ago. I filled it out some since I was no longer on a word limit. This really happened. Those were the days (late 70’s).
Non-fictional Piece Written by Teresa Smeigh 2019
After a very long drive we arrived late that night at the building in Cherry Point, North Carolina, where my husband, Andrew, a new Marine fresh out of boot camp, was supposed to report for training. He worked hard in boot camp and was promoted meritoriously to Private First Class and received the first choice of duty stations. Since we were already married when he joined it never crossed our mind that they would have a problem with him bringing me along after boot camp.
We chose Cherry Point, NC as it was the only duty station on the east coast. In fact, most of the new recruits were going over seas first thing.
We had driven from New Jersey with all our belongings. All the nice boxes I had packed did not fit in the car and finally in exasperation Andy ripped them open and just dumped all the contents into the trunk and back seat and we left what didn’t fit.
It was dark when we arrived and we were later than we should have been, but we had no idea where we were going. Exiting the car at the designated building, he went first and stood at attention. I slouched in behind him.
Looking at the faces of those Marines was not a pleasant experience. We were late and he arrived with someone they were not expecting.
“Who is that?” one of the Marines asked and it was obvious none of them were amused in the least.
“My wife sir!” I was wishing I could just disappear at this point.
“If the Marine Corps had wanted you to have a wife, we would have issued you one!” What?!? I don’t like new situations and confrontations, and this was both!
“What did you plan to do with her?”
“Sir, we have money saved since they never started the allotment to her during boot camp, so we were going to get a place to live in town.
Again, they talked among themselves. The recruiter knew we were married, and we had expected rejection since the Navy, his first choice, had already turned him down since we refused to stop the wedding and call back the invitations which had already all gone out. The recruiter said it was not a problem and Andy signed up and went to boot camp. These guys were uninformed of the fact that he was married and obviously had not been in this position before. They went back to the conversation about what to do.
I don’t know how Andy felt, but I wanted to cry. I was tired from the packing and repacking and the long trip and being in a place I didn’t know and the only person I knew was my husband. We waited with bated breath.
A verdict was finally settled on. There were specific rules since he wouldn’t be living in the barracks like the other recruits, but we could live with them. I had to drive him onto the base to the barracks very early every morning and then pick him up every night once they were done for the day.
We found a mobile home park just a short way off the base and every day I drove him to the barracks and back home.
Since he was available at lunch, every day I made a lunch and drove it to him on base. On the first day, I found the parking lot where he could find me and sat in my car with the door open and sat sideways in my seat with my legs out and on the ground. I was nervous. Then I could hear a group of Marines coming as they were marching to a Marine Corp Cadence. It was fascinating to watch them marching in unison and repeating the cadence their leader was shouting.
What I wasn’t ready for was as they came abreast of my car the leader shouted, “eyes left!”
Now I was 20 years old and weighed less than 100 pounds. I was a tiny little thing with a very big chest and all I was wearing was short shorts and a small halter top as it was quite warm. It was very disconcerting at first having all those eyes fastened on me.
I eventually got used to it happening and provided visual entertainment for the troops every day.
Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian