Thursday, October 16, 1969.  Camp Eagle, Vietnam. 


Dearest Rita,

I got two letters from you two days ago, just as I was going out to guard duty.  I was planning on answering them last nite, then decided I’d best write the folks a quick note first.  I finished it tonite – two whole pages.  Don’t ask me why I was so slow, cause I couldn’t tell you.

No, I haven’t decided anything about extending yet.  Actually, I kind of doubt if I will – I don’t want to be away from you any longer.  But we’ll see.  No, that wouldn’t get me an early out.  I’d have to extend for the full six to get that.  I’ve even thought about that a little, but not too darn seriously.

I got a picture of you and Tresa, and now I’ve got a gripe.  How come you never send pictures where I can see you?  If you’re not looking at Duchess you’re looking at something else, half turned away from the camera.  Try looking towards the camera sometime, so I can see you too, okay?  After all, that’s who I really want to see in the first place.

Now that I’ve griped for a while I’m going to say something nice for a change.  I really liked your hair pulled back like in that picture.  (At least from the side).  Whoops, I was going to cut that out.  Really tho, I think it looks very good that way.  Besides, I’ll have fun untying it – like when I unfasten other things.  Can’t wait!

You know Reet, it would probably be a good idea to start looking for another job now, instead of waiting for Xmas vacation.  If the D.Q. starts cutting down on hours, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you found another job – it wouldn’t be leaving them short of help on anything.  Besides, by Xmas you’ll have so little time before I come home that that will work against you.  So at least it would be a good idea to ask around and keep your ears open.

I don’t know if you misunderstood me when I talked about going to Denver, or if I’m misunderstanding you now.  Here you say “Steve and Gail really want us to go along with them.”  Well, that’s what I meant, only we wouldn’t go back with them – we’d go on to our next post.  But you’d better tell them that it’s pretty hard for us to plan anything definite right now.  And there’s a lot of things I want to do and people to see right in Brookings.  After a year and some it’s going to take some getting used to the place again.

Well, Rita, I wanted to make this a real long letter, and I’ve got plenty more to write about, but I’m dead tired.  I’ll do that tomorrow nite.  Just keep counting, and every day you count off I love you that much more.

Good night, Love.



157 days!



Why should I laugh?

When the world crys out,

When the times cry out,

When my heart crys out.

How can I sing?

While my world simply shouts,

While our nation struggles,

And a young man strives.

Yet –

Why should I cry?

For the flowers are beautiful,

And the stars light the sky.

Though the miles they part us,

Our love never dies.


I’m not sure where that last poem came from – it was written on the back of the letter.  I haven’t had any luck in my searches for its author and it not written in dad’s handwriting, so perhaps it was penned by one of his fellow soldiers?  Copied from a latrine door?  Who can say… but with the misspelling of “cries” as “crys,” I’m guessing it wasn’t a published poet at any rate.