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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.

Cover of "Private Benjamin (Full Screen E...

I hope our daughter’s face doesn’t look like this. Cover of Private Benjamin (Full Screen Edition)

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.

Then, silence.

The next thing we received was a full-page form-letter.

 Dear ___________________:

            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.

We didn’t.

Stay tuned. I’ll fill you in on what she wrote in her first letters.


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