Linda and I met in the 3rd grade. Our fathers were stationed at Barkesdale Air Force Base. It's a pretty big base, but we ended up living at opposite ends of the same street. I like to remember that the friendship was immediate and strong. Honestly, I don't remember that part mainly because I don't really have many memories of a time before I met Linda at BAFB.
Linda and I were mostly inseparable for over 3 years. Running up and down the street was normal. We played in groups, we played together. I remember games of "red rover" and "red light, green light" and "Mother may I" in her front year. She had a tree that was great for base. I remember playing at gymnastics in the back yard. And of course, playing at the playground.
Linda was the one who told me about sex. She has an older sister, so we got bare bones details! I still remember sitting on the swings talking about how that couldn't be possible!
And I remember my 6th grade heart breaking when we got transferred to Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. It didn't matter that she'd soon be moving to Carswell AFB in Texas.
This song still makes me think of her and cry.
Those were the days of counting the minutes in long distance phone calls. We made good use of our time!
Skip ahead to high school, when she flew up for my high school graduation. We hadn't seen each other in 6 years, not that anyone could tell.
After the children starting coming (my 1 and her 4), we visited when ever possible
Skip ahead to now. Linda raised 4 wonderful children mostly by herself until she remarried in 2011. Raised 4 amazing kids! She is my hero. I don't know if I've ever told her that. No matter what got thrown at her, she moved forward with an infectiously positive attitude.
These are her 4 kiddos, all adults.
The boys are Joe and Dalton. The girls are Allison and Emily.
And here is her retired Air Force father, the Colonel, with his army officer grandchildren, the Ranger and the pilot.
Through it all, for over 40 years, she's been there for me. No matter how long we go between phone calls.
A true heroine. My hero.
I'll love her always.