January 1968 was a month of confusion and adjustment. After a very difficult and emotional goodbye on the night of January 4, at Camp Pendleton, I drove back to Laguna in tears. I stayed up most of the night, watching for Steve’s plane to fly over the house but never saw it.
The following week I moved back to my folks’ home in Glendale where they helped me sell our Ford Falcon which we had acquired the previous summer – I wouldn’t need two cars while Steve was in Vietnam for the next year.
Gus (our Siamese cat) and I also spent a couple weeks with family and friends, transitioning to this new situation. I think everyone tried to keep me as busy as possible so I wouldn’t have much time to think (and worry) about the reality of the Vietnam War.
Later in the month I rented an apartment in Fresno where I had already planned to continue my college education at Fresno State. Actually I needed exactly one year to complete my BA degree so I chose to take advantage of this time and work toward that goal.
Steve and I had been married less than a year (8 months), when he left for Vietnam. Although we corresponded almost every day, it was a challenge to manage such a long separation. We were still adjusting to married life, and we really had no idea how this abrupt change in our circumstances would affect our relationship in the future.