What was I thinking?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blast from the Past

How cool is it that the internet allows us to reclaim old friendships, long since lost?

In my previous life, when I was married and in the Army, my husband and I had two very dear friends, Rodger and Sharon, who seemed to end up everyplace we went. We first met them in Okinawa when we were first married. They had a little girl, Jennifer, and we were all very, very young -- in our early 20s. When we left Okinawa, we went to San Antonio and, a year later, Rodger and Sharon arrived there, too. After San Antonio, we were sent back to Okinawa and, a year later, Rodger and Sharon followed. From there we went to Ft. Devens, MA and, you guessed it, a year later, Rodger and Sharon followed. We re-enlisted on a "station-of-choice" option and went to Hawaii, but that was the last we saw of them. Rodger went to Korea, and we just sort of lost each other by then.

We knew Barb and Les from our first tour in Okinawa and they followed us to San Antonio where they had their first child, Kimberly, and they got out of the Army and moved back to Indianapolis. We stopped by to see them a few years later on our way through Indiana while heading toward the west coast to go back to Okinawa. Lost track of them after that.

Dave G. was someone else who always seemed to be where we were and, to add to it, Dave is originally from a town about 20 miles from where I grew up. Dave and Kathy were at each and every tour we had, without exception. We lost touch after Hawaii when we returned to the mainland and Dave and Kathy stayed behind for whatever reason -- length of tour, extended tour, who knows? The same year we returned from Hawaii, we divorced, and the next year I left the active Army.

"Del" was our "trick chief" in Okinawa our first tour over there. It seems to me that when we were in San Antonio he wasn't there but, when we went back to Okinawa, there he was again. My ex (LeRoy) had enormous respect for "Del" and I just adored the man. He was professional, yet still human, and had a delightful sense of humor. After we left Okinawa the second time and headed for Ft. Devens, "Del's" wife, Gracie, cared for our kids until we found suitable housing and day care.

The one common factor in this small military intelligence community is that people give freely of themselves to their fellow community members. Perhaps this is why it is such a close-knit group and, perhaps, why it happened that we all re-found each other in much the same manner.

Some time back, I was reminiscing about the old days in Okinawa. It was a pretty cool place, although at the time it was more fashionable to hate being "on the rock." We were assigned to Torii Station, which was so small you could run the area around it and not break 5 miles. But for as small as it was, it had everything we needed. A shopette, a snack bar, library, a bowling alley with FOUR lanes, a movie theater, an enlisted club, mail room, dispensary, mess hall, barracks, day care center, auto shop -- what more could a person really need? But, beyond that, there was comraderie and that whole competitive pride thing that went with being on different tricks. We worked together, and we often played together. We'd rent fishing trawlers and go deep sea fishing. Roll calls at the club. Beach parties. Trips to Charlies Tacos or China Pete's. It WAS a small community but, by it's very small nature, it promoted this wonderful comraderie.

So, I was reminiscing and decided to do a google search on Torii Station. I found a yahoo group that I'd signed up for but got tired of one guy always hawking stuff for sale on it, so I quit the group. Found a web site dedicated to Torii Station and, for giggles, signed the guest book.

This is where Barb found me -- she sent me an email, and now we IM each other a few times a month. It's great to see that she and Les have done so well for themselves and are enjoying their empty nest as well as each other. I think this is where Rodger and Sharon found me, as well. Rodger and I IM frequently, keeping up with each other, and I've talked with Sharon on the phone a couple of times.

Another Barb found me on that guest book, too, and emailed me. She provided the link to the web site (that I'd long since lost) and I went back there. I went through the guest book, and that's where I found Dave and Kathy. I emailed them, and am now in touch with them as well. Just yesterday, Dave sent me "Del's" email address and I fired an email off to him, as well, and heard back from him this morning.

Isn't it strange how life leads us down a certain path and, from that path, it branches out to others, and our friends from our past revisit us again? I really want to get together with these folks again, but we're all so spread out, it would be difficult. But, I'm starting to hatch a hairbrained scheme to put together a reunion of sorts next summer....

Let's see who's up for it.


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