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May 8, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.


Dearest Rita,

I guess it’s been a couple of days since I’ve written, and then it was a tape anyway.  Sorry about that, Reet, but I wasn’t feeling too good last night and went to bed early.

I didn’t think I’d get a chance to write tonight either.  We had to work tonight, and in the rain to boot.  And I mean to say it was really coming down.  We couldn’t get the ship up a slight hill to the hangar because of the mud, so we had to work out on the flight line.  Then, as soon as we finished, it stopped raining.  Tick me off!

I got another tape from you yesterday.  It was great to hear your voice, but I just about dropped my drawers when you said you got rid of $110 in an hour.  And you still have bills left?  Well, once you’re paid-up, please, please don’t charge anymore for a while, okay?  I don’t think I could afford it!  Just kidding, hon.  Seriously though, charging too much isn’t a good habit to get into.

Oh, say, this is the first — I’ll have to tell you about it.  I actually got a day off yesterday.  Well, a half day.  And I got to go to the beach!  Wasn’t bad at all.  It’s a real nice beach — Eagle Beach — with a beer hall, PX, and the works.  The water was warm and the clearest I’ve ever seen.  Not any surf to speak of, but what the heck.  And I got sunburned.  On my legs and feet.  Wearing boots and pants was pure hell for me today.  I hope I can get down there often enough that my legs catch up to the rest of my tan.

Oh, another thing — if you haven’t found The Fountainhead yet, don’t bother.  Kim’s sister sent it to him.  But if you have found it or do see it, you’d probably like it.  And I’ll send you Atlas Shrugged real soon because Kim got a copy of that too.

About that bit about Dale you spoke of — I’ve had some mixed emotions about that.  I think I’ll not say anything about that for now and try to get a tape off to you tomorrow.  I think it would be easier to explain how I feel on tape than in writing.  I’m glad you told me about it though, and I can’t help but hope that he doesn’t come around anymore while he’s home.

Rita, I love you.  More than anything in the world.  Remember that always.

Your Love is My Life!

Your Hubby,

Jeff

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April 19, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.


Dearest Rita,

Guess what?  I finally got your package today, as well as a letter.  I figured by now the packaged stuff would be old and stale, but not so.  The cookies were real fresh yet and real good!  They’re half gone already and I haven’t passed them around yet — and I may not!  Thanks a lot Reet, and they’re my favorite kind too.  And now I can look forward to another one too.  Keep them coming gal.

Sorry about that last tape.  I can’t remember what it was all about either so I guess you’ll never know.  I’ll try not to make the same mistake again.  Sure am looking forward to one of yours.  I was planning on making another one tonight, but I’d have to borrow one from Kim.  Since he’s out at the hangar (he’s on the night shift) and I’m sitting here in my underwear too lazy to get dressed and go out there, you’ll just have to settle for a letter.  Maybe tomorrow night.

Hey girl, I don’t want a picture of Kathy, I want some of you.  I want some of our first home.  The letter you said you were sending them in was empty.  This is the second time I mentioned this, but I want to be sure I’ll get them.

When I sent you a card in my last letter I sent a three.  Did I send you all four deuces before that or just three of them?  If I sent four of them I’ve sent one too many cards for the time I’ve been gone.  If I just sent three, then I lost one somewhere.  Let me know either way okay?

Yes, I was surprised to hear you were sorry I didn’t get crew chief.  Thanks honey.  It wouldn’t have made much difference though.  The guys who are going to be chiefs were sent back to maintenance the next day anyway.  Don’t ask me what the deal was there.

So you think I’m only going to be in the Army for three years, huh?  What if I told you I was going to go for 20?  That I decided to become a lifer?  Well, I’m not saying that, and if I ever do, get me to a hospital quick.  It’ll mean I’m delirious.

Speaking of lifers — where’s [your brother] going now?  Will he be stateside for a while or will he be going overseas again?  Bet he’s hoping on staying in the US for a while.  I know I would be (I wonder why?).

I still haven’t written Curt or Les yet.  Seems whenever I get a chance to do any writing it’s to you.  Must be because you’re the most important thing in my life.

I finished Atlas Shrugged the other day — finally.  It is one of the most outstanding books I’ve ever read.  It taught me something — it taught me to hate.  To hate incompetence, to hate people in positions of power they don’t deserve, to hate people who don’t produce to the best of their ability.  It also made a point I’ve believed in all my life — that the aim of a person’s life should be to be happy.  It made several other points along the same lines which I won’t go into.  I really thought it was great.

Honey, do you suppose I could talk you into sending me another book by the same author?  The one I want is The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand.  I don’t know if you can find it in the bookstore in Brookings or not.  Or you might find it up at the college.  I would certainly appreciate it.  Decent reading material is nearly impossible to find around here.

Right now I’m listening to some tapes, and they really bring back the memories.  But it’s a lot different now than it was before we were married.  Before, I used to always think about what things might be like if we were married.  Now I know what it is like and what it will be like when I get back.  It makes me more eager for that day, but I also know that will more than make up for the time we are separated.  I love you, Rita.  And I will spend the rest of my life telling you that and proving it to you.  I love you.

All My Love,

Jeff

Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday

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