Scott and I started out in high school as good friends. We didn't date one another, but we did sit together at lunch (while I gave change for the vending machines). I had a steady boyfriend and he had a steady girlfriend. He and I were just good friends. We talked about anything and everything. Then, we graduated and he left for the Navy. We started writing to each other and after I went to WVU, my boyfriend and I broke up. Scott decided to come to visit me at school.
That visit turned into a relationship that has lasted over 25 years now. Our first 'date' was October 12, 1985. We got engaged in December of that year and then we got married the following December. I think we actually saw each other face-to-face about 30ish days in that year. It was brutal because we didn't have the social media, email, Skype, cell phones, etc. that exist these days. I still have all of the letters and cards that he send to me throughout that year.
We were able to call one another on occasion, but phone calls were expensive. He was going to A School at Great Lakes in IL and lived in a barracks. I lived in a dorm and had a phone in my room. His phone was in a hallway, and was shared by all of the guys on that floor. When I called, I would have to tell the person who answered who I wanted to talk to and they would go to see if he was in his room or in someone else's room on the floor. The minutes added up!
After we got married, we spent the next 4 years in a long-distance marriage. We lived in an apartment in Virginia Beach, then moved closer to the base in a townhouse in Norfolk. His battle group would be gone for weeks or even months at a time. He was a boiler tech, so he was the first one on the ship before deployment and the last one off the ship. There were many deployments that I would go to welcome the ship back to port with the other wives, only to find out he had duty that night, so after spending an hour or so together, I would have to go back home alone.
Luckily, I was busy with work and school, so I didn't have a lot of time to sit and be sad about him being gone. And we had a dog. That dog loved Scott, but beside knowing where his food came from, he had little respect for me. Needless to say, that dog was like having an ill behaved child. He was spoiled. BUT, he was very smart. I would tell him, "Rex! I'm going to get Daddy because he's coming home!" His ears would perk up and he would wag his short, little tail. One many occasions, I would return home alone from the ship. I would then take Rex out for a walk and he would pull me over to the car and look in the window as if he was looking for his true Master. little ungrateful jerk. (I jest...maybe)
Long distance relationships these days seem like they would be a whole lot easier than 'back in the day.' There are so many ways to stay connected with a loved-one. It's not for the weak at heart, though. I think that if a relationship is truly worth fighting for, then it can work. Patience and good communication are important. And both parties have to be willing to make it work.
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