November 13, 1968.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Dearest Rita,

I love it!  You with long hair I mean.  I love you, too!  That picture is the coolest one I’ve ever seen if you.  Now you’re going to have to let your hair grow.  I won’t give you any peace until it’s as long as in the picture.  You must have taken more than one though, didn’t you?  If you did, why don’t you send them to me too?  The more the merrier.  But keep one to remember what you look like in long hair, so as to give you a little bit of encouragement.  I really hope it’ll look like that when we get married.

Unless of course we get married this February.  I really don’t know what to tell you about that.  There’s nothing I’d like better Rita.  But there are so many pros and cons to consider.  What I want and what would be smart are two different things.

Pros ->  First of all, I love you, honey.  There’s no two ways about it, and no way to change.  The only thing I really want is you.  Second, I’m sure we wouldn’t have all that much “adjusting” to do when I got back.  I think that’s been done already.  Third, from a practical point of view, we could save more money.  You would get an allotment each month of $130 — $40 of mine and the government would kick in $90.  Living at home and working part time like you are, you could use $30 and save the hundred.  That would give us $1200 right there when I get back, and I should be able to save more than that.  It would give us a nice bundle when I got back.

But… there are several reasons why we shouldn’t, too.  First of all, although I don’t think our parents will give us any friction, they’ll feel we should wait until I get back.  But they can’t really do anything since I’ll be 21 before we leave anyway.  Second, I’ll be away from you a year if were married or not, and a marriage is supposed to start out with the man and wife living together, right?  It would make our separation harder, don’t you think?  Third, there is always the chance that I’d get killed over there.  I don’t like the idea any better than you do, but it’s a fact.  When you told me about Bill, Tom, John, and Danny, it really struck me that any one of them could have been me.  And I don’t want to leave a widow.  But then, I don’t want to leave a fiancée either.

This is Thursday night now.  Last night I talked to Sergeant Reyes about us.  He said, “If you love that girl, really love her, then get married.  You’ll never regret it.”  And that’s the way I feel about it.  This is all I’ve thought about for three days now.  But I guess there’s no way I can convince you we should wait when I can’t convince myself.  So – if you really want to get married before I go over, let’s do it.  But before we decide for sure, why don’t you talk to your folks about it.  I’ll either write or call my folks too.  Probably be best if I called and talked to them.

If we do get married now, will you have enough time to get everything ready like you wanted?  You realize that’s only three months away don’t you?  Maybe less, since it’ll probably be the end or middle of January when I get home.  Best plan on a date in the first part of February (wish I had a ’69 calendar).  I’ll try to find out more on it this week and let you know.

Enough of that for now, except to say I love you, and I’ll be proud as can be the day you’re my wife.  I love you Rita!

I still got a lot of things from your letter to answer, but I’m going to have to let them go this time.  I’ll write again real soon though – I promise.  So long for now.  I love you.



Mom wearing a wig