In 2002, I started a website for families of recruits going to boot camp at Parris Island. We were getting ready to move to Beaufort, and be stationed there. My brother was also in boot camp at the time. I figured it would last 6 months – tops.
The PI “ezboard” grew from 1 website to 2, one for PI and one for all the “after boot camp stuff”. Simply, they were the PI ezboard, and the USMC ezboard. Despite ezboard becoming yuku, and yuku becoming tapatalk – we still call them “the boards”. It was a simple set up really, a message board system to allow parents, family members, girlfriends, wives, friends to talk with each other and share their experiences. The “internet” we know today was young and wild back then. There was no facebook, and myspace was just a blip really. The boards were set to fill a void, and it worked for so long for so many. Deployments came, and the boards grew….and grew. There were times we struggled. It cost a lot to keep them up, but I knew that they were sorely needed. The friendships I made there – those are my girls, my people – my go-tos for everything from recipes, and travel to divorce, weddings and fertility. There is nothing too TMI or crazy for the “board girls” group of wives.
I made the decision earlier this year to explore how to shut both websites down. There is no action on either, and recently there was a rash of people joining the PI board, and it hurt my heart a little to know there would be no updates or support for them. It wasn’t fair to those folks, it seemed like false hope to me. Yesterday, I finally decided to pull the trigger on it. My heart hasn’t been in it for almost 8 years – it’s hard when you are no longer actively involved in the Marine Corps life as a wife. Things change, the Corps changed – life moved on.
Here is the email that I sent to all the members (almost 50K strong):
As of 7/9/18 – I have decided to shut down the Parris Island & Marine Corps Yuku boards (originally called the “ezboard”). When I started “the boards” in January 2002, I never imagined that it would last longer than 6 months, tops. But the friends we would make and the places we would go have blown my mind. We never imagined that we would guide hundreds (and in reality, thousands) of parents, family and friends through this amazing Marine Corps world, and in turn – have you help us through some rough points in our lives.
Alas, I felt that it was just time to shut things down. After almost 16 years, the internet has changed – access to information is more readily available (even the official PI page takes pics now!). We created “the boards” in a pre-facebook world (who remembers myspace?), where information wasn’t easily available to families. Most everyone who was involved with administering this website have long moved on from the Marine Corps, mostly through retirements, some through divorce, or others through medical or honorable discharge.
We love the community that this was, and we love seeing how friends have been made, tribes formed (ask me about my tribe!), and community groups have thrived. I am proud of this. I looked up some statistics, and we have over 33000 members on the PI board, and 13000 on the USMC board. That is nearly 50000 people. Y’all – that blows my mind.
On a personal note, you all saw me through 2 deployments, 2 pregnancies, 2 moves and a host of other things. Despite the fact that I am no longer married to a Marine, I am still proud of all those years I spent as a Marine wife. I am still involved with the Marine Corps, as my brother is approaching 16 years in the Marine Corps. The board was created shortly after he went to boot camp!
Please feel free to find me on facebook (Lori Carey) or shoot me an email!
The responses I am getting back from parents have me balling. The most recent two – “I didn’t know at that time that PI was going to be a piece of cake compared to deployment. When he was at PI, I was so stressed and worried and I don’t know what I would have done without those boards.” and “Your dedication, sharing of information, and engagement with all of us families has been a great source of comfort to so many.”
I always told the story that I created the boards for my mama…but in reality, I think I did it for me more than anything. In 16 years some of you have become more than friends, you have become my family – and I am proud of you all.
All my love and thanks – for 16 wonderful years.