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July 1, 1968.  Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia.


Hi Beautiful!

Boy, you wouldn’t believe this weekend!  Our class set all records for getting in trouble.  I’ll give you a quick rundown of what happened.

First of all, we had details Saturday because the company was unhappy with us.  Friday night what started out as a playful joke almost ended up a riot.  A guy named Brooks got tossed in the shower and then rolled around in the dirt outside.  This was fine, but his only good pair of boots got filled with water from one of the butt cans.  So he took a big pot of water and dumped all over the bunks of the guys that did it, and poured a bottle of vinegar in their boots and on the bunks.  Needless to say they got pissed and were about ready to kill Brooks when the battalion CQ came in and started taking names.  It was after 4:30 when things finally quieted down.

Saturday we had to get up at eight for detail.  Right away Clay (I think I mentioned him before) missed his, so got marked AWOL.  Finally at 3:00 we got released, and several guys went down and bought some beer and brought it back (I took off for the show).  Then a second looey walked in and caught them with over four cases.  So our captain and the first sergeant were called, and all the beer was taken and the guys restricted.

Then, two guys who went to Buckroe beach got drunk and were hauled in.  They were turned over to the MPs and the first sergeant had to go get them out of the brig.  That same night another guy was in the process of getting arrested but he decked the cop and walked off.  Never did get caught.

Another guy went AWOL right after class Friday night and got caught, then this morning three guys who went to DC this weekend never showed up.  They’re back now, but four hours late.  The first sergeant congratulated us this morning for setting a record for trouble in one weekend.

Now for my weekend — not much.  I hung around here Saturday night.  Couldn’t see much sense in going into town so late.  I got restless as all get out.  I was going to borrow a guy’s car and go to town, but it wasn’t running.  So couple of us spent the latter part of the afternoon jerking the starter and solenoid with only a pair of pliers and a screwdriver to work with.  Finally got it running about 8:30, using a big battery a guy stole out of a crane.  So we cleaned up and went to a drive-in in Newport News.  We sat outside the car like everyone else and really enjoyed ourselves just watching the show.

When we came back to the fort, we passed a chapel on the way to our barracks.  It was all lit up inside and really looked nice.  So when we stopped I left the others and walked back there.  It was a catholic chapel and the front was just beautiful.  I didn’t figure it would be open at two in the morning, but it was so I went in.  I sat in there for nearly an hour just praying and thinking.  It was really great.  I felt wonderful afterwards.

Then I went back and polished boots and shined brass until 4:00 this morning, and got up at 8:30 for a change of command ceremony.  Sounds like a great weekend, doesn’t it?

Today I got a letter from you — correction, two letters.  But the one I really liked was the one with the poem.  It is really beautiful honey.  I skipped over it at first to read your letter, but when I went back to it I read it through several times, and got more out of it each time.  Thanks honey.

Rita, I’m afraid I can’t send much money at all this month.  Three bucks is all.  That leaves me a big $35 to last the rest of the month, and I’ve got to get into DC to see Bob this weekend.  If you can put in a couple bucks for a gift for Jim and Vicki I’ll pay you back when I get home.  Since you have to do the buying I’ll do the paying.  Wish I could send more but I’m afraid that’s impossible.  It’s ridiculous to be broke right after payday, but I am.

This is Tuesday now, and only 23 days until we’re done.  Three weeks.  With any luck we’ll be together again within a month.  I’m just hoping and praying I’ll get a 30 day leave — 2 weeks just go too fast.  Thirty days would go too fast for that matter.  I keep thinking of all the things to do there in the summer.  And we’re going to do them all.  Rita, I love you and I want to be with you so bad!  And I want to see my ring on your finger, and hold you in my arms.  I love you!

I’m going to have to close now, got lots to do.  I’m sorry my letters haven’t been coming as often, but I write whenever I can.  The folks haven’t gotten a letter in two weeks I’ll bet.  Oh well, one of these days —

So long honey.  I love you and always will, forever.  Take it easy, hon.

Love,

Jeff

When I saw the phrase “butt cans” I was sure he was talking about the latrine.  Turns out butt cans were red-painted 1 gallon cans with an inch of water in the bottom for cigarette butts.  Still pretty nasty.

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Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday

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