Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Yup, I'm going to do this. I often write posts of "memories" from that dreaded year of Matt's deployment. You may be sick of them. But, I just have to make sure I remember.

I was just on "that social networking site" and came across a friend's picture album. She's in San Diego right now. One of her pictures was of Point Loma Nazarene University. A gush of memories and emotion flooded back. Matt had been recalled to the Marines. We found this out 3 months into our marriage. Thankfully (but also unfortunately), we were given about 6 months to prepare. We thought that we would move together whereever he'd be stationed, just as happens when in active duty. We had 3 possibilities (Hawaii, North Carolina?, and California). He ended up getting the one I preferred the least...we knew people in Hawaii because that's where he was stationed before, and North Carolina was so much closer to home. California... was just not what we wanted. (In the end, I think we both "enjoyed" it being there.) Well, because being recalled is "temporary," we found out at the last minute that his orders only included him. In a nut shell, I wasn't really allowed to be with him... even though he'd be put on a regular base with regular active duty who lived with their families. We had to scramble to come up with any way we could spend some time together before he shipped out on deployment. Like I said, we were newlyweds, and we were not rolling in dough. Because of his orders, we had to pay for ...everything. I couldn't even stay on base with him (to save money on hotel) because he was put in the barracks with all the single guys. (We cut that corner on my first weekend visit. I did stay in his room with him. We could not afford beyond the plane ticket...and just prayed. But, you didn't hear that rule breaking from me.)

Anyway, we had to pay for flights, food, hotel, rental car (they didn't move his car out...once again because this was considered "temporary"), etc. Matt wasn't to deploy for over 2 months after he got to San Diego, and I wanted to be with him while possible. I called all the military service numbers I had any idea to call (as prepared as I was by the military...cough, cough) to try to figure something out. I called asking for names and locations of any hotels that provide military discounts and was told to look them up online...individually, myself. I spent more time investigating, but even military discounts (which seemed to be rare and not in the right locations) were not going to cut it. I was stumped. There was no way I could visit my husband after that weekend in November due to financial limitations. I was devastated.

When I was about at the lowest during this time, the blessings began to pour in. A dear family we've known for years went through a similar time when they were young newlyweds, and they called thinking about me. They ended up providing us with the blessing of some funds. We were also able to connect with a couple living out there who my parents and landlord knew. They were able to hook us up with a wonderful church. Grappling for reasonable accomodations, I decided, why not call the campus where the church is and see if there is any way we can stay there? It would still be a little drive for Matt to get back to base each day, but we needed a rental car anyway, and it was worth it to us just to be together.

So, I called Point Loma. I believe I ended up talking with a student, possibly alumni (but she was young). I explained our situation and hoped for the best. I don't remember exactly what she said except that they had an alumni house with rooms, but it was only reserved for alumni. She asked if I could hold while she talked with someone about making an exception. I'm telling you, this girl was an angel. And, I don't usually use that word to describe a person. She just kept saying, "I want to help. Let me see what I can do." By the end of the call, I had found out they would make the exception for us and we could be provided a room for 5 nights. They were really sorry, but that's all they could give us because it was booked full after that time with alumni vacationers. We then spent the remainder of our time together at the on base hotel. The amount we were able to "save" staying at the house was nothing short of a miracle. If I remember right, the charge for staying there was like $30 a night. This is in San Diego...and I was looking at the high hotel costs. I cried over the phone. After a billion phone calls looking for some kind of help...any kind of help, this dear girl went above and beyond for us. I wish I remembered her name to send her a note. This is the girl you want representing your Christian college! Anyway, this $30/night wasn't for some sleasy motel. It was like a little inn. It was homey and simple but had air conditioning, cable tv, and internet...which was just what I needed to occupy some time while Matt was working. We had one bathroom to share between all of the rooms, but there was only 1 other couple there one night. No biggie at all. The campus was really pretty, but for some reason, we never took a full tour. I think we were busy going to beaches and out on dates around the area when Matt came home from work. Even the church had big windows with a beautiful view. And, the people there were so kind. Most importantly, I was able to spend those days and nights leading up to my husband's deployment with him. It was truly a gift I am forever grateful for. Point Loma Nazarene University will always hold a special place in my heart! If one of my children go "far away" to college, I wouldn't mind if that one was chosen. It would be really special to visit there again.

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