Timmy Graduates Boot Camp

video isn't working for me; I'll leave it in case it recovers

So Timmy graduated from Marines Boot Camp at Parris Island in a two-day event. I never saw so many delighted young men in my life once they broke for the five-hour base leave on Thursday. They simply radiated joy.
Interestingly, the young women who were also graduating, who follow the same routine as the guys, were much more calm and poised about the fact that they had gotten through boot camp.

Timothy said earnestly about five times that day, "Mom, I am so glad to see you."

He had asked me to send world news in his first letter (oh, he wrote his letters during the night in the bathroom, the only time and light available), so I sent him several sets of printouts of political and war news over the weeks that he was there. He said everybody looked forward to reading them since they had nothing to read and had no idea what was going on in the world.

You may know that some Marines enjoy battle. Their drill instructor came in one day terribly excited and said the United States was at war with some country or other, with whom there had been some contretemps. The drill instructor was so pumped and kept talking about it. The boot campees thought for several days we really were at war.

Some of the stories certainly made them sound like POWs. They had no idea what time it was. Using a survival manual furnished them by the Marine Corps (Timmy ended up with several because he scavenged things that got left behind by previous graduates -- they had current groups clean out the barracks of graduated groups), they built a rudimentary (Galaxy Quest, anybody?) sundial with pebbles and sticks outside their Bay, hoping that it would go unnoticed. They then signaled the time to one another while standing in formation.

As part of the treatment for the flesh-eating bacteria in his foot, Timmy went with other injured POWs on a bus to the hospital off-base. He sat there in complete happiness before the bus moved, anticipating looking out the window on the ride. But the drill instructor made them ride with their heads between their knees the whole way.

The drill instructor tormented Timothy several times with the fact that he is color-blind by holding up two sheets of colored paper and demanding to know which one was green. Timmy would pick one, the instructor would scream "that's wrong!" and Timmy would be off to do push-ups. Finally, the other recruits mentioned to Timmy that both sheets were green. When he told me this, I also reminded him that he does not have red-green blindness, so you see how rattled they get.

The inmates discovered a few bits of negotiation room with the drill instructors, however. Sometimes the instructor would burst into the barracks asking for computer help, for instance, how to attach a form to an email. Since a recruit would help them with the computer, the instructors would show the recruits how to address and stamp an envelope, because, to a man, none of them had ever sent a letter through the mail :-).

Ten of Timothy's friends showed up Friday for the final ceremony. One friend flew down from New York City.

T. said, oh, I just want to read. I want to fix my own food. I want to look at the internet. I want to talk to my friends. Once he and I were driving back to Atlanta, I said, "open your Christmas gift". He got it out and said, "what is it?" I knew then he was in an altered state, because he has always been able to glance at a wrapped gift and identify it. I even gave him a clue ("It's many books in one") and he still didn't know. It was a Kindle, of course, and he loves it.

While we were driving along, he bought a book he had tried to find in the base store and poof it downloaded instantly. How cool is that?

We stopped at Longhorn east of Macon for a delayed lunch. The manager came out and gave us Timmy's meal for free because he was in uniform. Need I say Mom was thrilled. When that happens, always remember to tip for the free meal as well; can you tell Mom spent years as a waitress.

We have been cooking. I started off with:
Potato Babka
red cabbage and apples
snickerdoodle cake

We teamed up for the next meal, together cooking:
Bavarian Beef
mashed potato/cauliflower
pumpkin pie

After having a party today and tonight with about 30 of his fellow Atlanta area boot camp graduates in Marietta (just giving you Mariettans a heads-up), we are going to cook dinner on Wednesday:
Ethiopian Chicken
Chocolate Cookies

If we get a chance at another dinner, I have the fixings for Swedish Meatballs.


antique quilter said...

I am so happy for you and for Timmy
glad he made it thru, not that I had any doubt
and that he is home right now with you where is he going next?
a Kindle!
what a wonderful gift

KC Quilter said...

Gosh darn it, I'm sitting here all teary-eyed. What a wonderful post. What a wonderful kid. What a wonderful mom. America is in good hands.

Libby said...

Oh I'm just thrilled for you both - such an experience for each of you and a testament to the fine young Marine you've raised that so many of his friends came for his graduation. Have a great time together,

p.s. The Marine Hymn still just brings a tear to my eye *s*

Julie-Ann said...

Glad to see Tim is home safe and sound. What an experience he had!

Hey - when is dinner? It all sounds yummy. I want the potato babka recipe!

Lori said...

I can read the excitement in your post!! Congratulations to Timmy and mom for being so supportive.

Nancy said...

What a wonderful post about your son. I know you are a proud Mother. This country is in good hands with young men like your son standing guard. Wishing him all the best.

Heckety said...

Oh you are so proud! And justifyably (sp?) so too by the sounds of it! Congrats to Timmy too for sticking it out...and not being totally ground down either by it- LOVE the sundial! Funny how they come home and eat...and eat...and eat...my girls are exactly the same! I'm so glad for you both!

Melanie said...

Welcome home Tim--- I know he's tougher because of it....but that stuff is hard on Moms too. But he made it....thanks to good parenting and prayer....What's the next step.....

Gypsy Quilter said...

I am so glad for you that Tim is home for a bit, safe and happy. I believe I can safely infer that we quilters are all very proud of him.

Darlene said...

Congratulations,Tim! WooHoo - it's all behind you and you can start the next chapter. Karen, he looks so grown up - incredible transformation when they finish boot camp.

Now what?

Kathleen said...

Congratulations to the graduate!! Sounds like boot camp is alot about mind games as well as training. Glad you have some time to spend with your son. Enjoy him!!

andsewon said...

WayTaGo Timmy and Mama too!
I know it was tough but he stuck with it and now look at that, if I may say so, handsome young Marine!!!Happy his buddies could support him in this endeavor as well.
Enjoy this time together..sounds like you all will be eating good!!
Big Hugs!!

The Calico Cat said...

1. Congrats.
2. Potato Babka - I'm gonna need the recipe. (My grandmother's babka is so different from my MIL's babka - they probably should not share the name.)
Snickerdoodle cake sounded interesting too.

Loris said...

what a wonderful time for you! He makes us all proud!

AdyQuilts said...

Congratulations! How wonderful for both the young Marine and you.

Miri said...


Sounds like Mom knows what her Marine likes!

Jane said...

Congratulations to Timothy! God bless him for wanting to serve for our country. I know you are proud of him.

MARCIE said...

Congrats to Timmy! He did good! We are all proud of him. He's a Marine! Plus he is adorable! And let's pray that Parris Island is the worst thing he ever encounters. Enjoy him while you can! He will be off again before you know it!

Stasia said...

YAY Timmy! You all must be so proud. I have enjoyed reading about his experiences and I wish him ALL the best. Please express my gratitude to him for his choice to serve! Hope you are enjoying your time together!!

Betty said...

It worked for me! Very nice.

You have every right to be very proud. Enjoy your time with Timmy before he heads off for his next assignment.

(I hope he goes to Virginia Beach too!)

Thimbleanna said...

Awww, Congratulations to Timmy! What a wonderful post. Good luck to him in his next assignment!

sewnut said...

Congratulations. My Dad graduated from Parris Island,oh so many years ago.

All the best to him.

Melzie said...

I loved reading his letters, even let my dh read them( former army) :) congrats to him, tell him to write more wherever he ends up blogland loves him! xoxo melzie

Tazzie said...

I have read and reread this post, and just love it. I'm proud for you, proud of you, and proud of him too. Really there just aren't words. I imagine I'll go back and read this post and enjoy it some more.
*biggest hugs*

buttonsagain said...

congratulations to you and to timmy (really i think he needs to be called "mr. timothy" heretofore)...
what a huge accomplishment...
and ohmydawg...he even looks different...did he grow taller?...did his face become more angular?...
enjoy all of your cooking and the time together...
sending a hug...barbara

Vivian said...

I've been looking forward to reading this post, knowing the day would come. Congrat's to both Mr. Tim and his proud Mother!

As one gal wrote above, I can read between the lines and feel your pride as you wrote this post.

Glad you left the video. It worked for me.

Taryn said...

How great to get him back. Changed I am sure, but in one piece. It's nice to see them so happy to see Momma.

Kathi said...

I was reading the Humble Quilts blog when the heading "Timmy Graduates Boot Camp" caught my eye. I didn't hesitate- I clicked over immediately. We may love to see and talk about quilts, but we need the latest on our Timmy, too! Thanks for sharing. I hope he doesn't get his Kindle confiscated as 'contraband.'

Melisa @ Sweet Home said...

You must be very proud, Karen. He is a fine-looking Marine!

Jeanne said...

Congratulations to Timmy!

Pat / Silver Thimble Quilt Co. said...

Congratulations to Timmy and Mom. Please thanks him for me for his service to our country.


Jeanne said...

Congratulations!!! Karen, you must be so proud!!

Lynn Dykstra said...

My father still gets together with his drill camp buddies every summer--58 years later!
Your son looks happy, proud.
(You must be also!)