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First, I think it’s pretty cool that my dad got to see The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the theater in Vietnam.  There’s something so unusual about that combination.

Second, “Eustis” is the base where he received his basic training.

Third, “Poinsett” is a lake in South Dakota my family (various members from both sides) spent more than a little time at over the many years.  It’s about a 30 minute drive from Brookings and rather popular in the summer.

In fact, when I was in my mid-teens (late-teens?), I foolishly went out alone in a canoe from my uncle’s cabin at the south end of the lake.  The wind was blowing from the south that day and seemed calm until about 100 feet out where it took off with me.  No matter how hard I paddled I was going to end up at the north end of the lake whether I liked it or not.  Luckily, my uncle Steven saw my plight and casually got in his fishing boat and came out to rescue me.

He tossed me a rope and I endured a canoe ride of shame all the way back to shore.

I bet dad never had a canoe ride of shame.


July 18, 1969.  Ving Tau, Vietnam.

Hi Beautiful!

I’m sorry for not writing the last couple of days.  I really don’t have any excuse.  I started a letter Wednesday, but it got so old I finally threw it away.  This one’s going to get finished tho.

Classes are out for the weekend.  Tomorrow morning we pull some details around here and then are free.  I’m hoping on getting to town and look around, and maybe to the beach.  But first I have to figure out how to get there.

I’m glad I’m not stationed here permanently.  I have too much spare time!  I think that’s why I couldn’t get a letter written to you – I’ve had so much time on my hands I didn’t put it to good use.  It really makes time go slow.

I’ve been going over to the club just about every night for a couple of beers.  It’s really nice, and there’s a band there nearly every night.  Usually the drunks get so noisy that I leave about nine.  It’s getting so I can’t stand that kind of stuff.

You know, there really isn’t a lot to tell you about, and with not letters from you to answer it’s doubly hard.  And with all the time I have to think about you, man, it’s hard to take.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly is going to be here this weekend, so I’m definitely going to see it.  I’ve missed it so many times already, for one reason or another.  I refuse to miss it this time.

How is school coming?  You hadn’t said much about it in the last few letters I got before I left.  Hey, you don’t have too much longer, left, do you?  I’ll bet you’ll enjoy a little vacation, won’t you?

Remember a year ago at this time?  I was getting ready to come home from Eustis; to see my diamond on your hand for the first time.  And remember that night at Poinsett?    That had to be a great leave, altho not as great as the last one when you became my wife.  Nothing could beat that.  I love you Rita, with all my heart!

Your Love Is My Life,


P.S. 246 days!  I’ll send the card when I’m back at Evans.

Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday


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August 2016