HOUSTON — “Frontlines. Frontlines.”
With too many painful memories, those words were all Robert Martin cared to share about his time in the U.S. Army in World War II.
Trying to stay alive through battle should be all a man has to overcome in one lifetime but not for this veteran.
Robert and his wife of 46 years, Anecita, can somehow laugh even after everything they've been through. In 2008, their house flooded in Hurricane Ike.
Nine years later, it flooded again in Hurricane Harvey. And again, they rebuilt.
“Oh it's hard. It's very hard.”
Then, four years later, the unthinkable. Their house burned to the ground after a failed pipe fix during this year's historic winter storm.
They lost everything, again.
“Then we stayed in the hotel for six months.”
During that time, they were forced to separate from their beloved dogs, Penny and Harvey, all while Anecita was battling liver cancer for the second time.
“I was on chemo. I was in the hotel,” she said. “For a whole month, I could hardly eat, I kept throwing up.”
Simply put, Robert tells us, what he loves about "Cita" as he calls her, who is now in remission.
“Everything. Everything. I can't talk. It's her,” Robert said.
It’s a love that started like an old-fashioned fairytale.
“I write to him for five years,” she said.
They met while Robert was working in the Philippines. The letters, written back and forth, for years kept in a suitcase, were later ruined by flooding.
“That's the only picture I have left.”
Photos you can count on one hand is all this couple has to show for a lifetime of memories.
But finally, they have a new place to make new memories.
“My favorite part is the kitchen, so I can eat!”
Resettled in a new house in Humble, and reunited with their dogs, the Martins have relocated just in time for the holidays.
“All we need is a boarded fence and two dogs. Them dogs mean so much.”
There's a lot to learn from these two.
Anecita at 82 and Robert at 97, proving it's never too late for a fresh start and that life should be full of laughter, and the simple things, like having a roof over your head and family, by your side.
You can help them rebuild by donating to their GoFundMe here.