So, a long time ago, I was in the US Army. I was only in for 4 years and I never left the country. In fact, I was practically a civilian most of the time because I was a pharmacy technician (91Q hoo-ah!). I worked in a hospital.
There was a time when I thought I would go to college and become a high school English teacher. If you've read anything I've written, it is clear to you that I either became the worst English teacher ever or the truth reveals to you that dream was never realized.
I'm not bitter about not having been able to live my childhood dream. That's probably because so many other very cool things have happened to me. I did eventually get to college and I did get a degree. I just have issues with following society's prescribed sequence of events and that's not on purpose. It's just how things shake out for me. At any rate, not to spoil the ending or anything, just keep in mind, that given all of the things that might have gone another way, I'm happy with how things have turned out so far.
My path to the Army presented itself during the summer before my freshman year of high school. I went roller skating nearly every Saturday that summer. I couldn't do any tricky moves but I rarely fell down. It was a grand summer, I recall but the details are very fuzzy. Had I known that the events taking place that summer would have such a huge impact on my life, I'd have paid much closer attention!
There was this boy at the skating rink. He was just stinkin' adorable and he could skate really well. He really preferred to play video games though. Oddly, I don't think anything happened between us that summer. I don't remember us skating together or kissing or even learning each other's names. Maybe I just stalked him. I just can't remember.
In the fall, I was anxious about going back to school. I was pretty smart and I got good grades. I thought maybe I was a big fish in a small pond and I was about to become a small fish in a big pond, if you know what I mean. So, I was worried about all that and the idea that maybe I wasn't really all that smart at all. I was also worried about being not very pretty, being incredibly shy, and now I was certain that I might not be very bright to boot. I was pretty insecure walking in those doors.
But there was this boy, from the skating rink. I was running into him all the time. He was everywhere, it seemed. And he was funny; he made me laugh. Next thing you know, I have a boyfriend! I'm dating! Well, sort of dating...we didn't actually GO anywhere but we were "going together". Maybe that was my first clue. About not going anywhere. But who could know? I was 15 and I was IN LOVE!!!
There was a lot of stuff in between that would make this story way too long (like it isn't already!). He graduated a year before me and by fall, he had joined the Army. I had a year left in school. He'd be gone. It was unbearable to consider. I thought I'd lose him to the world and I think he thought he'd lose me too...to what, I can't imagine. Good sense?
So we did what any pair of 18 year olds would do in this situation in the mid 80's, in Eastern Kentucky. We got married. On Christmas Day. He went off into the world (aka Ft. Bragg, NC) and I stayed with my mom and finished high school. Graduation night, I stuffed the car he'd sent money for with all our worldly possessions. The next morning, I was on the road to North Carolina. A new adult life, a husband, a little mobile home waiting to be filled with towels and sheets and groceries. I was escaping and I could barely wait to get started with the rest of my life.