July 1, 1982, began the long distance part of our relationship. We wrote each other at least daily and called frequently, but we had to be careful about calls because this was in the day of long-distance charges. Each minute ran up the phone bill.
We each kept our letters – mine in a fancy box with blue flowers, yours in a shoe box. We always laughed at how that represented our personalities. I was thrilled that you were romantic enough to keep yours. I would soon learn that you were much more romantic that I.
This first separation lasted two weeks (July 1 – July 15). You were on the ship during this time and wrote such romantic letters. I love to read them over and over. It’s as if I can hear your voice and recall your wonderful sense of humor directly from your mouth.
The ship went to New York over the July 4th holidays, and you got to see two Broadway shows. Because you were in uniform, you got to go backstage. Raquel Welch, the star of “Woman of the Year,” signed your program and kissed you. You loved that story and told it several times through the years.
The teen group from church went to King’s Island one weekend during this time. Mom chaperoned, so Jason went along as Dad worked Saturdays. We all wrote a postcard to you. I always thought it was so special how the family embraced you from the very beginning. Mom always said that you were easy to love, because you were so genuine and giving.
I spent a large part of my time already planning the wedding You always poked fun at our “over the top” wedding, but you actually loved how girly-girl I am.