Sunday, October 12, 1969.  Camp Eagle, Vietnam.


Dearest Reet,

I finally found someone who had a tape tonite, so I borrowed and raced back here to listen to it.  Then I found out that it only had one speed and you had used the other ones, so you sounded like Mickey Mouse.  After looking around for a while I finally located another one with two speeds, so I finally listened to your tape.  I wanted to tape back to you, but his mike was broken and the other guy’s didn’t fit.  So it doesn’t look like you’ll be getting one in return.

At any rate, now I’ll try answering it, if I can remember what all you said.  I didn’t write any notes this time, which may have been a mistake.

First of all, I thought last month you said we had only twenty dollars worth of bills left.  So I was surprised when you said you paid out ninety this month.  At any rate it’s good to know we’re free and clear now.

Yes, we could save another thousand dollars between now and my Deros, if you could put a hundred a month from your check into the bank.  I kind of doubt you make enough on your job to do that, do you?  If I make five it will be easier, but I’m not counting on that until it happens.

Don’t count on me coming home with much money either.  I’ve got less than three hundred bucks riding the books now, and most of what is riding before my Deros I’ll spend on such things as China, a stereo recorder, Christmas gifts, and other things we need.  True, we don’t really need the recorder, and whether I get it or not we’ll depend on how much I have here and how much we have in the bank.  We could live without it if necessary.

I know you don’t like me to go on and on about money, but I have one more thing to say – I’m proud of the way you’ve handled our money.  You’ve done a great job, and I’ve got no complaints.  I’m sorry if at times I’ve sounded a little grouchy about the subject.  I guess that it’s just that I want us to be free of money worries when I come back, at least for a while.  Being debt free is the first step.  Now were on the way up, thanks to you.

Now on to other things.

It sounds like Les really showed you and Kathy a good time.  That was real nice of him, and I sure appreciate it too.  I’m glad there are people like him (and Brian) to look after my wife for me while I’m gone.

What you said about Les changing was interesting, and made me think too.  I guess I’ve changed a lot too since I’ve been here.  My ideas on most things haven’t changed (remember when Dale W. said they would?), but I appreciate things more.  No, that’s not what I mean, that’s just part of it.  My values have increased.  I’m proud to be here, even tho I want to be with you.  And I hate the indifferent attitudes of people back there.  I hate seeing the U. S. change from a winner to a loser.  For the first time in my life I’ve learned to hate.

But I’ve learned to love too.  I don’t mean the way I love you.  That just grows every day.  I mean I’ve learned to love the people of Vietnam.  The country.  Their way of life.  I’ve learned to love a bunch of guys thrown together by the Army.  I’ve learned to love life and all its experience like never before.  That’s how I’ve changed.

I hope Les hasn’t become bitter or anything like that.  Mom said Tom B. had.  I think Les is too smart for that.  I can understand his reluctance to come back tho. It’s so damn lonely at times!

I wouldn’t worry about Les spending a few bucks on you and Kathy that night.  He’s making some pretty big dust while he’s over here.  His base pay is almost as much as my base pay, combat pay, and your allotment combined!  I think he could afford it.

No, Kim won’t be going home when I do.  He’s planning on taking his thirty days over Xmas and New Year’s.  If he goes to see his sister in Nebraska he promised to drive up to see you and Nancy.  I kind of think he’ll stay around Seattle tho.

I’ve been thinking about having some clothes made over here, but you know how I am.  I can’t go in and pick a material and color and style and know I’ll like it.  I have to see it and put it on before I know whether I like it or not.  So I kind of doubt if I’ll get any made.

Okay, I won’t get any melmac.  And I’ll look for those sauce pans, but I haven’t seen anything on that order yet.  Of course I haven’t been looking that close either.  I will now tho.

I must get to bed or I’ll never get up in the morning.  And tomorrow I’ll be one day closer to seeing you.  That’s the best part of everyday.

I love you Rita.  I’ll show you how much in 160 days.  And I’ll show you how much tonite in my dreams.  Good nite my love.

All My Love,