First Letter Home

Some days are burned into the public’s collective mind — JFK’s assassination, John Lennon’s murder, the space shuttle Challenger blowing up, and 9/11.

Other days are just your own family’s memory patterns — when you knew you found the one, your wedding day, the births of your children. My family had one of those days yesterday. Our son’s first letter home from boot camp.

Tim has never been away from home so these first weeks of boot camp have been hard for our family. We had a family birthday and the littliest ones in our family still seem unsure why Uncle Tim and Cousin Tim wasn’t there. It has been especially hard on my husband. He seems to look around our house, wondering why his son isn’t there.

Yesterday I took a shower and was in my pajamas when the mail arrived. Our mailbox is down the street so my husband hobbled down there on his crutches (broken foot). Without his broken foot I think he would have run back to the house to show me the letter. He came through the door shouting, “We have a letter.” The biggest smile I’ve ever seen graced his face. I want to take a mental snapshot of that face and press it into the book of my memories.

We opened it carefully to save the return addresss, this is our only clue to how to write him back. LOL I was shocked. It was a whole page long. I don’t think my kid has written that much in his whole life. He sounds tired but so excited about this adventure he is on. He wrote about new things like fire guard, which I had to wikipedia to learn what it was, and about ordinary things like being excited about finding his lost watch.

Then he added a line I’m sure was in every letter sent from that barracks — Please tell everyone to write me.

Jill James – proud Army mom


12 thoughts on “First Letter Home

  1. Gwen, thanks for stopping by. I’m hoping for lots of letters too, but realistically I’ll probably just get a couple. But I will treasure each line he writes.

  2. Virna, thank you so much. We received a letter from his commander today that had me in tears about choosing to serve at a time that our country is at war. I am a proud Army mom.

  3. Your first letter. How exciting! I remember fire guard all too well, not much fun, but it gives you time to bond with your battle buddy. Mine was from Boston and loved Jimmy Buffet. She would sing (in a low voice), every JB song when we had FG together. Now, I can’t stand Jimmy Buffet because it makes me think about boot camp.

  4. Isis, thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Your story made me laugh and imagine my son and his experience a little closer and clearer.

  5. First letter is heart stopping with missing your child and heart thumping with pride for the child you raised who wants to protect his family and country. I am proud of your son and all of our troops. Bless your son and all our military and bless the parents who stand behind those who serve. Give him a hug for me and my two former Marines sat OOhRah and reminded me there are no ex-Marines,just active and non-active.

  6. Pam, thanks for stopping by. We got another letter today to let us know the ‘shark attack’ was nothing. I love these letters where I have to Google what it is exactly. LOL

  7. Jill,

    Tim will learn how lucky he is to have a family like yours. During the Viet Nam war, I wrote to many young military boys and many of them didn’t get any letter but the ones I sent.

    Lucky Tim.


  8. Sandy, thank you for your kind words. I am saving every letter home Tim writes. I’m sure mail call is an exciting time at boot camp, wondering if you will get anything today. How sad it must be for those young men and women who know nothing is coming.

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