Sunday, March 14, 2010

Navy Days

A story of Gregg and Denise from the early navy days.
Well here we are right in the very beginning. Gregg and I were invited out for the afternoon by a friend whose cousin had a small boat. We spent a lovely afternoon on the Potomac. You can see the Kennedy Center to the right and a sliver of the Watergate Building to the left. I don't remember what Gregg had just said to me but right after this photo I burst out laughing and it's been like that all during our married life. Gregg has the most wonderful corny sense of humor that has kept me laughing for 34 years. Sometimes it's so corny I don't even get it, I'll look at him with a quizzical "huh" kind of look and just burst out laughing anyhow.

A couple of years later we moved to California (San Diego). Gregg joined his ship - USS Sterett - and set sail shortly after our move. It was then that I found that I was pregnant. I stayed with a friend whose husband was on the same ship as Gregg. This was in the days of Polaroids and much waited for mail that would sometimes take a couple of months to arrive, depending on where the ship was at the time.

This is one Gregg sent to me....

and I sent to him.....
and he sent to me.
Well, you get the idea. Receiving one of those photos was better than any gift we could have given each other, each one a celebration as it popped into the mailbox.

I was so happy in these photos but not long after and only a short while before the ship was due home, we found that its return date had been delayed for another two months. The tears didn't stop for a very long time. My friend and I went into separate rooms with a box of tissues and cried buckets and buckets, and by the time we came out we looked a couple of sights and started crying all over again.

But at long last we were at the pier and patiently waited to see that ship on the horizon. Have you ever seen a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy jumping up and down, waving her arms like a loon? Well, that was me when I first spotted Gregg walking along the deck looking for me. He is the sailor second from the right. "Hello Sailor!"

We were overjoyed, tired but overjoyed. I look at this photo and I smile because we both looked like we hadn't had a wink of sleep the night before, which was the truth, for several nights probably.

Yes we were overjoyed at being together again.

Gregg often had the duty but wives were allowed to go on board to spend a little of that time with our husbands and have an occasional meal with them in the wardroom. I'm on the Bridge here .....

steering the not really, but it was fun pretending for the photo op.

It was about a month after Gregg's return that Brad arrived. In the meantime the ship had gone into overhaul in Long Beach, and we found a home for a short spell in Los Alamitos.

This is a family portrait we had taken when Brad was about four months' old.....

and this last one was taken when we moved back to Virginia Beach (Virginia). Brad who was about four by this time was left with Nana and Papa while his Mum and Dad went to a Navy Ball. I remember not liking this dress after I bought it but now all these years later I think it's quite nice, and if it was still in my wardrobe I would be wishing I could get into it!!!!

As I was at the end of this post Gregg's phone rang. An amazing coincidence, as here I am writing about our navy days and the message was from an old friend off Gregg's Royal Navy ship, HMS Ariadne, who is now living in Arizona. This is the first time we have had any contact since he left that ship 34 years ago. Ariadne is the British ship that Gregg did a two-year exchange tour on with the Royal Navy, and we actually met on that ship which you can read about here and here.


  1. Wow!! it is a wonderful coincidence! I knew I'd get teary eyed reading this right when I saw those photos- they are just priceless Denise! Beautiful. I'm so glad..the feelings you've expressed..especially in regard to his sense of humor! Well, I enjoyed this read and hope you have a wonderful week-
    My best, Regina-

  2. Oh, I love the old photos of you, Gregg and Brad, and the stories that go with the photos. That must have been so hard to go through most of your pregnancy apart from each other, but it's great that Gregg got to be home for Brad's birth. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories and photos!

  3. LOVED it, Denise... You both looked so happy... I can understand how devastated you were having to wait for 2 more months... Gads!!!!

    Love all of the pictures... Such a neat couple---and Brad is adorable. You probably have said, but where is Brad now????


  4. Your is a true love story!
    I enjoy learning about the history of blogging friends.

  5. Lovely story and photos! Gregg should tell his friend about your blog. David always does!

  6. Wonderful photos and story!
    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Lovely memories Denise.
    (Oh its that beautiful English Rose again.)

  8. What a lovely love story - so glad that you were together when the baby arrived.

    Came to see your flowers but got distracted. The flowers are stunning - looking forward to seeing some of those colours here (Staffordshire) in the next few weeks. xo

  9. Wonderful and very romantic! Have a great week :)

  10. wow this is one of the greatest love story I have ever read..thanks for sharing Denise.

  11. you are truly blessed! have a great week ahead!

  12. I think it's so nice that you shared some of your personal life and pictures with us. Thanks!

  13. What a great story and pictures to go with. My dad's cousin was a Supply Officer and based in San Diego for a time, not sure what years. Loved the story and your spring flowers from before too.

  14. What a wonderful post Denise - I really enjoyed reading it and seeing the photos of you and Greg and then Brad. You certainly do look a handsome couple, such lovely pictures of you. Lovely too to see the younger you. Such memories - thank you so much for the chance to share. A x

  15. Dear Denise,
    Thanks so much for sharing those adorable pictures, your memories and feelings, it's really precious!
    I loved all pictures, you and Gregg keep the same positive energy and sweet smile, sincere eyes...Beautiful indeed!
    *** that kiss was so romantic, adorable shot!
    Have a great and blessed week

  16. What a great post--so nice to see such happy photos of your love story! I always tell my daughter, the most important thing is to find someone who makes you laugh, sounds like you did!

  17. I completely enjoyed this lovely story and these beautiful and precious photos that you posted. Thanks for sharing this romantic and beautiful memories with us.

  18. great story and super photos Denise, it's fun to reminisce,

    Gill in Canada

  19. Wonderful stuff! It's really such a very small world - I hope you see your old friend soon.

  20. Loved this post Denise !
    You and Greg looked so perfect together, and always smiling ;)
    Being an Army wife, I know how hard it must have been especially those early years, and more so for you, since Greg left for months at a time.
    You must have been a very strong girl.
    It's nice to know Greg has a sense of humor, I'm sure it kept you going through some of the times when you wondered 'what the heck am I doing here', it brings back the meories when the First Sergeant was always being sent off somewhere, and I was left alone, in a new world.
    Thanks for sharing, it brightened my day.

  21. What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

  22. I enjoyed your trip down memory lane. Funny, how we can look at something many years later and realize it wasn't so bad after all!

  23. Wow, that's really lovely story. You're such a cute couple!

  24. Wonderful photos. You two look so gorgeous and and very much in love.
    Thank you for sharing your memorable happy moments.

    Have a lovely day dear Denise.

    xo Regina

  25. God bless you. This was a heart-warming read. Now let me get this right... you laugh at your husband's jokes? Can you teach my wife to do the same? We're still newlyweds (twenty years). She just grins like she's heard it all before. Ah, that's okay I love her anyway. :-)

  26. Denise, this is such a wonderful story and enjoyed all the pictures. My husband was a navy man but we met after he was out.

  27. I just smiled through this entire post. I felt a little like I was living those days with you, Denise. It's terrific to know that the love and sweetness you held then, you still hold firmly now.