Friday, October 31, 2008

Living On Parris Island

I love living here. I am so very grateful we were able to get base housing instead of housing "out in town". When we first married, I used to grin every time I heard the words "out in town" because it seemed so funny to me, like the people who lived on base lived in an entirely different world.

Well, it turns out they do in many ways. At this particular base, I hear more jets than cars. I hear more birds than cars. I hear more boats than cars. And I hear more kids playing soccer than cars. Heck, I hear more kids in general than I hear cars. It's partially because of where we're located - close to the water and away from the main thoroughfare of the base. Partially because it's a much smaller base with a much smaller (but no less important) main mission.

I see stars, and lots of them. I saw a few more before all the houses on this street were finished and the old streetlights were turned back on, but thankfully it's the soft yellow lighting. I love the old street lamps they salvaged, lining the streets. I love the beautiful old historic homes still here. I love the particular language of Marine bases - "Quarters One" refers to the CG's house, always, no matter who the CG of the base is. Which, by the way, used to be two old barns they pushed together and have made into a house, according to one of the current occupants at a recent tour.

I love that I can walk to my friend's houses for dinner, to talk, to get support, to get emergency help, to have a play date... all of which I have done at one time or another. Of course, I didn't walk much when it was super hot out but that's besides the point :).

I love it that when Rafe wasn't here, I had emergency surgery and the sirens alerted the entire neighborhood to the situation - which caused a neighbor who didn't know us that well to turn back around and check to make sure Amelia was taken care of when he was on his way to work at 5 in the morning, and caused the CG (Commanding General) to send representatives to find out what happened and to stay posted on how I was doing and if I needed any help whatsoever. I love it that the CO's (Commanding Officer) and FRO's (Family Readiness Officer)at two units worked together to make sure that I had help, that my family could use the commissary, that Amelia was taken care of. I love it that the CDC (Child Development Center) is 3 blocks away. I love it that the soccer games are playing in my back yard (a huge field) and Mia and I can watch them out the window when we are eating dinner. I love the sounds of 3 year olds playing soccer.

I love that I can see the water from my front windows. I love that the porches are so wide and shady that it creates a whole outdoor playroom - with enough room for a home made sand table (out of tubs), an easel (from a garage sale), chairs and other miscellaneous toys for kids to come over and play with. There's an outlet there, so I moved a fan to the porch also and it's quite fun.

I love seeing the new recruits, running into each other like puppies when they try to line up the first few days, arms outstretched once they stop and try to get in the right order. I like to listen to them sing cadence as they run, and to see the incredible tenacity of the drill instructors. It's quite funny a lot of the time. As one of my neighbors said, the drill instructors scare her. If they say hello, she feels like saluting and saying, "Yes SIR!" automatically. The Drill Instructors are definitely a breed within a breed of the Marine Corps. The first few months I lived here, I couldn't drive past the recruits on graduation day without tearing up. They looked so proud in their uniforms and so young. Their families were proudly walking along beside of them, and when you saw their families you could see how much they had changed in the months they had been earing the title of MARINE. I love going to the graduations.

I love the ceremonies, listening to Taps play, to the trumpet/bugle wake up calls in the morning and the last notes at night. I love that when a hurricane threatened, they had a mandatory town hall meeting (I'm such a geek) to give us the update, along with insurance information from Tri-Command. With Rafe being gone, it felt much safer to be here than to be anywhere else in this area. I love that my house is basically on stilts and situated so there is a lot of light streaming in the windows.

There's a lot in life to be grateful for.

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