June Joplin of Comma Coffee thinks her son is in the "thick of it" in Iraq, but she doesn't know for sure.
'I'm just holding on waiting for a call," she said from her Carson Street coffee shop Friday.
Clinton Darquea, 21, stationed at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, was deployed to the Persian Gulf with his unit Jan. 11. He arrived after a six-week journey by ship Feb. 22.
"I just got a letter from him yesterday -- but it was written a month ago," Joplin, a mother of five, said.
Friday morning, as Joplin worked, a Sparks couple came in to meet her.
Peter and Lori Skerritt saw Joplin profiled on a news program that morning and felt compelled to visit her.
They too have a son deployed to the Persian Gulf with the Marine Corps.
Tristan Skerritt, 19, arrived in Kuwait on March 5.
The Skerritt's have yet to hear from him.
"We saw (June) on television and since there are only a thousand or so Marines from Nevada, and even fewer from this area, we knew we had to come meet her," Peter Skerritt said.
Skerritt said he's proud of his son and has little patience for protesters.
"I feel that every protester exercises what our kids are protecting," he said. "They wouldn't be able to protest if our kids weren't doing what they're doing now or what other kids before them did."
Now, Tristan Skerritt's picture hangs alongside Darquea's in Joplin's coffee shop.
"It's good to talk to Lori, she's the first mom with a son over there that I've met," Joplin said. "Everybody loves Clinton and worries about him, but they don't know what it feels like to be his mom. She understands."
Those feelings Joplin talks about are mostly anxiety and the persistent worry about a son who has wanted to be a Marine since he was 5 years old, she said.
"When he first signed up I didn't think anything about it. It seemed like the most natural thing for him to do,"she said.
That was a year before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Now, I'm just kind of reacting at each stage. I don't think too much about worse-case scenario. If I do, I push it out of my mind," she said. "These are very surreal emotions."
Her emotions are compounded, she said, by the fact that at any moment, her eldest boy could also be deployed.
Nicholas Darquea, 23, an Army soldier stationed in Southern California, moved his wife and two sons in with his in-laws in preparation deployment to the Middle East.
"Its a really hard time when you don't know what's happening," she said.