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January 4, 1969.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


Dearest Rita,

Would you believe I’ve got three of your letters to answer?  Three in three days is pretty darn good, four this week.  Keep them coming girl, I never get enough.

Do you realize that just three weeks from tomorrow we’re going to be married!  And two weeks from today I’ll be home with you!  It seems like forever, but not bad at all when you think of how long it’s been.  And that first night… Say, where you want to spend that night?  We could go to Sioux Falls or Sioux City, but everybody does that.  If we’re headed out to the hills we could stay at Huron or Pierre.  Only I don’t know what hotels are good there to get reservations at.  Or we could play it by ear.  Let me know what you think.

I’m damn glad you’re on the pills, but what’s this bit with the sore breasts?  Do the doctors say anything about that happening?  If they don’t stop I want you to go see him again.  We don’t want them hurting when I get at them, right?

I’ve already told you how I feel about you’re coming out here.  I’m all for it if we can figure out a way to get you back.  So start figuring gal!

But, if you don’t, I wouldn’t mind a bit living at your place or my place or anywhere else as long as it’s with you.  I had thought about our basement – it has a lot of advantages.  It’s more private, it’s big enough that we could divide it into a couple of rooms.  But it’s also cold!  A couple of electric heaters might solve that problem, but I’m not sure.  But my double bed could be moved down their real easy.  I would rather be away from both our families and have a place of our own, but… We’ll worry about that when I get there, okay?

Say, did you get that loan for your dress?  You never said any more about it.  And about those bills of yours – how many is “not as many” as before?  Rather, how much?  No, I won’t kill you over them.  I figure we’ll have a lot bigger bills during our life together.  But let’s not get carried away on new clothes, okay?  You know I’ll just take them off anyway.

Yes, you have my approval on the songs, as long as “He” is one of them. That’s probably the only one I’ll hear through my stage fright.

Honey, you know damn good and well I’m not angry about you calling me.  I love you, and any chance I have to talk to you is welcome, even at four in the morning.  I sure hope I didn’t sound mad.  Sorry if I did.

Say, I don’t know if I like the idea of another guy spending the night at your place.  You’re sure he slept downstairs on the couch now?  He’d better have!   You realize I could very easily get jealous, don’t you?

It’s chow time so I guess I’d better close now.  But I’ll be thinking of you and loving you all the same.  I love you, hon.  And in a short two weeks I’ll be telling you that myself.

I love you!

Forever,

Jeff

PS.  Recognize this paper?  It won’t last long at this rate!


So 1968 is over.  Just a  little reminder of all the stuff that happened in 1968:

Green Bay wins Super Bowl II (that’s Super Bowl TWO).

Tet offensive begins

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not seek re-election.

The film version of 2001: A Space Odyssey premieres

Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot dead at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

The musical Hair officially opens on Broadway.

U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Mattel’s Hot Wheels toy cars are introduced.

The United States Department of Defense announces that the United States Army and United States Marines will send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours.

U.S. presidential election, 1968: Republican challenger Richard M. Nixon defeats Vice President Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party candidate George C. Wallace.

Yale University announces it is going to admit women.

The Beatles release their White Album.

Now that’s a lot of big stuff there, and yet none of it is mentioned in his letters.  For a while I wondered why, and then I remembered what I was like when I was young and in love.  It’s not that none of this was important, it’s that it just wasn’t on his mind when he was writing to his sweetheart.  Fair enough.


Ethan

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Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday

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