In the fall of 1965, Howdy was getting ready to leave for Japan. He was with a squadron as their admin officer stationed at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, N.C. We had just had a new home built in the town outside of the base, Havelock, N.C. It was in early October that we drove Howdy to the small airport in New Bern, N.C. to watch him climb onto a plane. He was heading to Washington, D.C. then onto Travis Air Force Base in California to then go onto Japan. He would be gone awhile.
Back home I had the responsibility of a new house, three sons, a car, two Siamese cats and all of the finances and more. I was volunteering at the Naval hospital as a Red Cross worker. I was teaching Sunday school at a local Presbyterian church. Then I joined the Cherry Point Players, a group that put on stage plays. We were going to do South Pacific and I was one of the navy gals that sang with “Nellie Forbush.” After a couple months of practicing we had to call it off due to the leading man and lady being transferred.
The boys and I took trips to Florida to visit my parents in Bartow. We loved the trips as we could stop by and see the alligators and more. Our visits with PopPop and Grandma were fun trips. We visited Sea World, went to Busch Gardens and did all sorts of fun things. Best of all was going to Clear Water beach, get a motel with a pool. The boys could swim in the Gulf of Mexico or in the motel pool.
Proverbs 16:9 says , “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” We think that we are in total control of everything, our time, our lives, our planning. When we look back we can see the hand of God in our lives keeping us from harm.
Howdy had been gone nine months and was not due to be home for several more months. We spent the first Christmas in Florida, the first Easter in Florida, birthdays for the boys and many holidays. It was nearing December, 1966. So much had happened while Howdy was away, but we were nearing the time he was to come home.
When Howdy left I was the meek and mild wife who loved her hubby. Now for the past year I was in charge of everything. I had to answer to no one and I was liking it. I was not sure I wanted him to come back. Yes, dear friends, I was afraid to have him back and have to step in the background again. To give the reigns over to him and become the “barefoot and pregnant little woman.”
It had been 13 months, 2 weeks and 5 days since the love of my life had left. Now as I stood at the bus station in Washington, D.C. I had such mixed emotions. Howdy said later that when he got off the bus and saw me, I looked like a “deer caught in headlights.” We spent a few days in D.C. but Howdy wanted to get home to see our sons.
The Christmas of 1966 was a great one. Ahead of us was another duty station, we were going to Virginia Beach, Va. Howdy would be on a ship out of Norfolk. but that is another story.
Howdy is home, we are a family again, the merging of two to become one again was a tough transition. We make it.
Next time I’ll share how God kept Howdy while he was in Japan and Viet Nam.