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Love Stories of Hawaii

Timeless Love

Love Endures Through War
Dedicated to Stephen Naysnerski

Submitted by Susan

September 10, 1969 was the loneliest day of my life. I stood at Logan Airport watching the plane disappear in the distant sky. I thought about our 6 months in Fort Sill, OK. and the 5 months at Fort Jackson, S.C. We enjoyed South Carolina made friends and loved the weather! Our young daughter, Wendy, was thriving and we had convinced ourselves that Fort Jackson would be our final duty station. However, one Friday Stephen came home with the dreaded orders for Viet Nam. After one month of leave and many tears, the day of departure arrived. We kissed good-bye, and Stephen walked to his plane. He turned and took one last look, knowing that he might never see me again. The months went by quickly, with a letter daily. Phone calls came monthly, usually during the night with two CB operators in between. Wendy grew and kissed her daddy's picture each night. We exchanged tapes, so he could even be part of the potty-training. Before we knew it, we were planning our R & R in Hawaii. One night on TV, Ed Sullivan had a special show about wives meeting their husbands. It showed the wives lined up in a column and the husbands getting off the buses from the airport. They walked down the gauntlet until finding their wife. Sullivan made a point to say that there were about seven buses. He kiddingly said that the most eager husbands were on the first bus. In my next letter, I mentioned the show to Stephen, unaware of the anxiety it created. On April 15th I left my child in my mother's care and traveled 12 hours to Hawaii. I spent the first night alone in Room 4404 of the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel, sleeping little. Buses took all the visiting wives to Fort DeRusey Welcome Center. We piled out and took our places in the line. There was some joking but mostly nervous chit-chat. Unbeknownst to me, Stephen was having his own thoughts. Having taken my story more seriously than I intended, he spent his flight worrying about his place in line. Being seated in the middle of the plane was going to make his attempt to be on the first bus difficult. Upon arrival, a customs gate opened as those in front of him ran to other lines. He sped through customs at the open gate and exited the airport. I waited nervously for what seemed an eternity. With an announcement of the approaching buses, shrieks went up from the women. We could see the first men unloading they all looked the same in their jungle fatigues. Suddenly I was lifted off the ground. Stephen had me in his arms and he was the first man off the first bus!! The week in Hawaii really was the trip of a lifetime. Five months later Wendy and I met Stephen for his real homecoming. We have always been thankful for his safe return. For the last 30 years we have talked about returning to Hawaii, but there always was the mortgage, the family, education costs, weddings, and now grandchildren that always gave us an excuse to not return. But the memories of that week are with us always, causing us to remember the companionship and love that we have for one another. A return trip is always in our minds.

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