I wrote a post in July about dropping our oldest daughter, Amanda, off at the Army recruiting station to then ship off to Army Boot Camp at “Relaxin’ Jackson” ~ Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Your outpouring of support of Amanda’s decision to join the Army, and support of me as her weepy mother, warmed my soul.
I thought you might like an update on what is happening with Amanda. Because I like to write short-ish posts, I’ll give you the updates since her departure in serial form. I’d hate to lose you because I blathered on.
Boot Camp is an experience most of us will not, well . . . experience. Her insider’s view is interesting.
We learned from her letters that Boot Camp isn’t far from what you see in the movies. Richard Gere from An Officer and a Gentleman and Goldie Hawn from Private Benjamin looked over Amanda’s shoulder while she wrote her letters.
After we dropped Amanda off, she and a hundred or so other recruits from all over Northern California were put up a local hotel. The next morning, the Army bused them to a Processing Center (makes them sound like salami, right?), where they “hurried up and waited.” She spent the day in a back-spasm-inducing plastic chair and waited her turn at the Processing Center.
Being the considerate and caring mom that I am, I gave Amanda a printed and spiral bound copy of my novel as a going away gift. To give you an idea of the length of her waiting-around-time at the Center, she read half of the manuscript.
The next day, the recruits were up at 0-dark-thirty to catch planes to various Army bases across the U.S.
Do you remember the horrific heat, humidity, thunderstorms, and flash floods the South endured in early July? Record-breaking bad weather greeted Amanda in a hot and sweaty embrace when she walked off the plane.
Her first week at Fort Jackson was what the Army calls “Reception.” Sounds like a lovely royal wedding party, but it was physicals, fitness testing, and more paperwork. Her phone wasn’t taken away . . . yet . . . and she called us several times.
The next thing we received was a full-page form-letter.
I have arrived safely at my Basic Combat Training unit, and I am in good health. My Drill Sergeants has given me some important information I need to pass on to you…………….
You get the idea. Amanda would never say “I am in good health.” But, she filled in the Dear _____________: with “Madre and Padre.” We are not Spanish, but all three girls call us that. Don’t ask. I don’t know why.
(My note here . . . I’m dying to edit the form-letter and send it back to the Army with a link to the Strong vs Weak Word series . . . but I digress.)
The letter goes on to say she isn’t allowed to receive contraband such as alcohol, food, candy, or porn. Now I ask you. What God- and Army-fearing mom sends their kid porn? Octo-Mom? Isn’t she a stripper now?
We knew from materials Amanda received before leaving, a comment on my post made by the wife of a Drill Sergeant, and from a friend of Omawarisan, we wouldn’t hear from Amanda again for weeks.
Stay tuned. I’ll fill you in on what she wrote in her first letters.