One of the first of many bright spots of my experience in on base in Cali was meeting one of my #firstfriends my neighbor, Stacie! When we first moved into our house we BBQ’d a lot with charcoal which I’ve learned is not what most people use in this state.
We’d been here maybe a month or so through the billowing smoke of my BBQ pit in our patio I saw my neighbor just one door down who was also partaking in the Sunday BBQ tradition. She politely said hi and asked where we were from. (That question is one of the first things most Marine Corps spouses ask one another…and most are from the South and tend to stick together throughout changes in units, duty stations, states, and even change of countries!) I quickly responded being probably the first person not related to me by almost shouting “TEXAS!!”
She laughed and said that her husband was from there and from a town very close to my home town! Needless to say, we hit it off; she took me under her wing and helped teach me how it is on base, the cool things around the city and all the juicy gossip on our block. Stacie is a native Californian; she was one of the first to prove my initial theory wrong about Californians. She completely blew my prior misconception out of the water that not all or even most people who live here are mean, rude, standoffish and not cordial it’s just some that just so happened to give off an awkward first impression on me.
Stacie was a proud Marine Wife, a spunky young lady and at the time mother of two cutie pie boys. She’s an energetic cleaning machine, with all the latest and greatest tips on almost everything! She taught me how I have to use Lemi-Shine in my dishwasher since the water on base is full of calcium. She also taught me the best places to find deals on everything from groceries to retail stores here in Oceanside. Her husband is a great guy and one of the first encounters of a Marine besides my own husband! We spent many a afternoon watching her husband and our kids slide down a hill on cardboard boxes that is cushioned right behind our houses that leads up to another street with more base houses.
Stacie introduced me to my next partner in crime, Maggie who was the my neighbor in front of my house on the block. Life was perfect for a while. Stacie & I & Maggie either at each others house or out on the culd-a-sac with the kids, having coffee or texting each other from inside our houses.
Things never stay perfect in the military. Stacie’s husband eventually got out of the Marine Corps & cross decked to the Army. They’re now in on the East Coas. We still keep in touch and when she’s in town we try to get together for fish tacos and good conversation every time! She was my very first friend on base, she loved me for me & supported me when I needed it most whether she knew it or not.
Maggie was a Navy wife, mother of a handsome son and beautiful little girl. I know what you’re thinking Navy wife, what are THEY doing on a Marine Corps base & on my block. LOL! It was a new concept to me too but at the time I didn’t know that Navy, Marine Corps, Army, ect all comingled on the same Marine Corps base. LOL! Silly I know! I was severely uneducated on the issue but learned everyday! Maggie is another one instrumental to my initial progress and blossoming here. She’s another good example of a great person whom I couldn’t have gotten where I am now without her influence. She’s a ball of energy I could barely keep up with at times. We found out not too long after we met that our husbands were both in the same unit and that they would be deploying together. This cemented our friendship even more since we’d be going through very similar emotions and situations at pretty much the same time. Maggie’s a lighthearted nature girl from the Northwest with German roots very much like myself.
Since both of these ladies lived across the street or next to me if I needed anything I’d just go get it from their house. I loved being able to walk 20 steps from my house to see a friend who was a lot like a family member. Like Stacie; Maggie expanded my knowledge of my surroundings. We were inseparable pretty much from the start. Since I didn’t have much to do and before I got heavily involved in Anthony’s unit I babysat her kids while she went to work. It all was a lot of fun!
Once again the perfectness changes. Maggie eventually moved from across the street to a brand new house on base only about 10 minutes away from us. She’s gotten reacquainted with her passion of painting and also into photography. She has a very good eye for the best shot. I don’t know if Stacie and Maggie realize how much they helped me get out of my funk, feel comfortable in this place and get me out of my shell. They are some of the most funny, energetic and outstanding ladies I know and we will be friends for many years to come.
Once I got to know more about my surroundings, the FRO (Family Readiness Officer) for Anthony’s unit, people at the girls’ school, and baseball practices I got to know so many other unique and interesting ladies like Angela, Gaby and Jackie to name just a few.
Remember that as Marine Wives our lives may be different but we share a common bond and all our stories are so very far from over…
The family I’d grown to love in Texas is there and always will be but Stacie, Maggie & the people in this photo are just as much family to our family. Everyone in the picture below was active duty Marine Corps in 12-2010 & since then each couple’s lives have changed in one way or another. Keep reading to see how my fellow marine wife friends cope with the ever changing Marine Corps lifestyle.