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March 27, 1968.  Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia

Dear R.,

I got your package today, and boy were those brownies good!  I made sure I got plenty then passed them around to the platoon.  They didn’t last five minutes.  I’m finishing the last couple I saved right now.  They are delicious!!  Thanks loads.

You’ve got a tape on the way.  In fact it should beat this letter.  I couldn’t mail it from the company mail room (won’t mail packages) so I was about ready to go AWOL for an hour or two to get it mailed when I was sent on an errand for our drill sergeant.  I stuck it in my pocket and took about half an hour longer than I should have, but I got it mailed.  Hope I’m as lucky all the time.  Sorry I didn’t get it out sooner — it’s been done for days.

Sorry to hear about that fight among you and your friends.  The best of friends fight once in a while though, so don’t let it hurt you too deeply or become anything permanent between you, okay?

Now it’s Thursday night.  I got two letters from you dated the 26th and 27th of February.  That’s what I call real quick service.  Glad to get them though, and the picture of you and Tony.  I showed it to everyone who comes around.  I really like it of you.

You said in one of your letter something about being horny.  Girl, if I said I was horny it would be the understatement of the year.  I want to be near you so bad I can’t believe it.  When I look at one of your pictures I almost go nuts.  A want to marry you so bad I can taste it, but it seems so far away sometimes.  The day we can be together forever will be the happiest day of my life.  I love you, R., and I guess I’m getting a little impatient.  I’ll try to cool it a bit.  When I start thinking about it and you it’s hard though.

I’ve got to get to work, honey.  I’ll try to write more often when I get a chance.

I love you honey.



These are the moments when it hits me square in the face that my parents were once young like me (like I was?).  Not only young, but young, horny, and horribly in love, which is something I vividly remember being at that age.  It makes me like them more.

My mom raised me and my two siblings through our teenage years by herself, including through my first time falling in love.  She was always supportive of my relationship (though I wouldn’t be surprised if she saw flaws in it that I never could) and never made me feel like it wasn’t “real” love, dismissing it like so many adults do.  Adults seem to, over time, forget how intense this particular phase of adolescence is; but my mother never trivialized my relationship even though I was barely 15 years old.  The more I read these letters the more I understand how she understood what I was going through.

When my relationship ended in a fantastic fireball, I don’t remember her giving me lame platitudes telling me everything was going to be all right or that there are more fish in the sea or any crap like that.  She just agreed with me that it sucked, gave me a long hug and stayed nearby in case I needed her.

Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday


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October 2008