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Romance at a Distance
Dedicated to Kris D. Smith
Submitted by Gregg
Walking along Waikiki, Hawaii in my Navy uniform I studied the people making their way along the beach. I thought of Kris whose face I knew, but whose heart I didn't. My commitment to her had begun many months earlier through a romance conducted over great distances, something that would be a common thread in our lives. She lived in Los Angeles. I did once too but we'll start in Chicago.
The soft handwriting in her letters reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. During the next six months we grew to know each other through the mail. But reflecting back on the events, how much was known. We met just before I left for boot camp. We wrote each other letter upon letter introducing ourselves and inviting further correspondence. Each letter was a seed falling on fertile hearts. A romance was budding.
After a brief visit I left her for Seattle, awaiting further training. Again we had a separated romance relying on letters to explore each other's hearts. I soon moved on to other training in San Francisco. Phase I of a two-phase school. More letters. Weekend visits became easier but they were all to short. I realized that Phase II would place me farther from a life I was coming to desire. Following Phase II would mean shipping overseas for service off Vietnam. We married between Phase I and Phase II. Romance at a distance was diminished, or so we thought.
We put every thing we owned into a car and trailer and set out for my next duty station. We moved into a small, second floor apartment above a small house on a back street in Idaho Falls. Catching a bus at 5:00 AM started my day. After training and study hours I returned to Kris at 10:00 PM each evening. Kris took a job in a local department store to mask the separation. Romance at a distance was part of our new life together. Little did we know more was coming. I finished Phase II.
Transferred back to San Francisco we again moved everything in a car and trailer. We couldn't find an apartment so we continued traveling on. We moved Kris into an apartment near her parent's home in Los Angeles. Little did we know that this was a very faithful decision. I headed back to San Francisco and my new ship.
Within two months I shipped out for Vietnam. The ship's first stop was Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There I knew I had to make the decision. The decision born out of a romance conducted over so many separations. Separations that would not end for a very long time.
Back on the sands of Waikiki the decision was made. A few months later our son was born in Los Angeles. I was in Vietnam. Three years later a daughter. I got back from Vietnam one week before she was born.
"Romance-at-a-distance" conducted over twenty years of the thirty we celebrate this year.