The 15th year of my life, 1970

Me and Ed (taken not long after he joined the army)

Me and Ed (taken not long after he joined the army)

After the blind date with Ed, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see him anymore.  It wasn’t a bad date, it just wasn’t a good date either.  It’s hard to get to know someone at a drive-inn movie with another couple in the backseat. 

Ed must’ve decided that he wanted to get to know me better because shortly after that date he called me for another, and so our courtship began.  Before long we were seeing a lot of each other, but this was short-lived–and not for the reason that you are thinking…

As fate would have it, Ed and his friend Tim had joined the army just before  mine and Ed’s first date.  They were scheduled to go to boot camp at the end of October, 1969.  Ed and I had  been dating  not quite 3 months by then, but we were already in love.  I promised him that I would wait for him while he served his time in the army.

Ed and Tim did report for basic training in October, but were sent back home due to lack of room.  They were rescheduled for November 24.  I was grateful for the extra time together, but this meant that Ed would be going through basic training during the wintertime–something he wasn’t looking forward to.

At the end of November Ed’s parents and I tearfully said goodbye to him at the bus station and he and Tim left for basic training.  It turns out that we got lucky. Since Christmas fell in the middle of basic training, they let the new recruits come home for Christmas!  We were thrilled!

I’ll never forget that Ed bought me a princess ring that Christmas.  I loved it so much!  It had 7 little diamond chips in it, and I still have it today.  I wore that little ring proudly for a long time.

The year of 1970 was both good and bad.  I was in the 10th grade and Ed was in basic training and radiology school for the first half of the year.  There were tons of long distance phone calls.  Ed did manage to spend a little time with me during the last half of basic training–even though he wasn’t supposed to…Ed and Tim could be very resourceful when they wanted to, and they figured out a way to “escape” for a few hours on the weekends.  This wasn’t an easy task–it was a 3 hour drive one way to get home.  They also had to manage to sneak off the base and back on without getting caught.  They did this several weekends believe it or not.  I wonder how many other people have successfully pulled that off…

Ed and Tim got transferred to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas after basic training.  They attended school there for 16 weeks.  After that, both were transferred back closer to home and Ed could “legally” come home on weekends. 

Soon it was summer again and Ed and I were celebrating our one year anniversary of being together.  He had gotten orders to go to Okinawa, Japan by then.  He was scheduled to be gone for 18 months.  I was so distraught.  I wanted  him to marry me and take me with him.  Ed wouldn’t agree to it.  He wanted me to stay home and finish high school.  I’ve looked back many times and been thankful that he insisted that I finish school…I was so immature at the time–I don’t think I could’ve handled being so far from home AND being in a strange country–And being married–even to Ed.

Ed bought  a beautiful engagement ring and gave it to me on August 15, 1970–making our engagement official.  The plan was for me to finish high school, for him to finish with the army, then we’d get married.  Shortly after our engagement, Ed left for Okinawa, Japan.

The last 4 months of 1970 were very sad and lonely for me.  I missed Ed terribly.  We wrote letters to each other daily.  Some days I wouldn’t get any letters, others I’d get several.  Soon Ed bought a cassette recorder and sent to me so we could record messages to each other.  It was great to hear his voice again.  I immersed myself into my school work, marked off the days on the calendar, and waited…

Looking back, would I change anything if I could?  No!  I am so glad that Ed wouldn’t marry me at age 15.  I also treasured the time spent with Ed because there wasn’t much of it–it made me appreciate him more.  Ed also learned a job skill through being in the army that has served him well for almost 37 years.

Published in: on April 21, 2009 at 2:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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