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December 27, 1968.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Dearest Rita,

Less than one month to go now before we’re husband and wife, hon.  I really can’t believe it.  I can’t believe that something I wanted so bad for so long is finally going to come true.  I love you so much Reet!

I got a letter from you today that was five pages long!  One of the longest I’ve had lately.  So I’ve got a bit of answering left to do.  Last things first.  Please, please, please don’t cut your hair.  Not now or while I’m in Nam either.  I’d love to see you with hair as long as when you were wearing Georgia’s fall.  I love that.

I’m glad you’ve got some pills now, so we won’t have to worry about you getting pregnant.  I wish we could forget about them and start having our children right away, but I’d probably go out of my mind worrying about you if you had a baby while I was gone.  I guess that will have to wait, but the way we’ve been doing things we won’t wait as long as we think now.

Honey, I wouldn’t say I’m worried about money.  I’m just trying to figure out how to get enough so we don’t have to worry about it while I’m home.  And if borrowing is the only way, that’s what I’ll do.  So don’t you worry about me worrying, okay?  And we will have a better honeymoon than one night in Sioux Falls.  We’ll spend two.  (Ha!)

As far as a partial pay goes, I found out I definitely can’t get it.  But, I may be able to get an advance pay.  I guess there’s a difference.  I don’t care what they call it as long as I get it though.

Say, exactly when does the semester end and the second one begin?  I know you told me but I don’t recall and I can’t find the letter (out of so many how could I?)

You know something?  I really miss snow.  It sure doesn’t seem like Christmas without it.  I hope it snows while I’m home.  I’d kinda like to take a walk in the snow with my wife!

This is Saturday evening now.  We had the day off, but early this morning a sergeant came running in saying there was a storm warning out and we had to get all the helicopters in the hangers.  So we ran around in the rain all morning getting soaked to the skin.  It did get pretty windy, but all the hail we were supposed to get never showed up – yet.  The warnings are in effect until 10:00 tonight.

Okay, I give up – who’s Patty T. getting married to?  I don’t know anything about her getting married.

Yes, 5 ½ months is a long time, but it has gone pretty fast for me.  I miss you something terrible, but it makes it easier when I know you will be waiting for me no matter how long it may be.  But the waiting is just about over – 21 days!

Must write Brenda tonight so I’ll close now.  I love you Rita, with all my heart!  I’ll tell you that myself before long!

I love you!

Jeff

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December 24, 1968.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina


Hi Beautiful!

Merry Christmas, honey!  Sure wish I was there with you.  It doesn’t seem like Christmas without you.  But at least I’ll talk to you tonight.  I figure on calling about seven or so, and hope I can get through.  One guy had trouble a little earlier this afternoon because of heavy Christmas calling.

I got your present today.  It’s under the tree right now.  I’ll open it later tonight.

I’ve got guard duty today too.  Ain’t that a heck of a way to spend Christmas Eve?  I won’t get off until noon tomorrow, so I’ll be sleeping all afternoon.  I have to go on my first shift in a few minutes, so I’ll have to close now and finish later.  Merry Christmas, Reet! I love you!

Back again Rita, and it’s Christmas day now.  I never did get through to you last night.  I tried about seven o’clock your time, but all four payphones in our area are out of order. They never get around to fixing them.  So I had to wait until after eight your time before I could use the phone in the orderly room (we’re not supposed to use it at all), but then all lines were tied up.  So I figured I’d call at midnight (11:00 your time) when I got off my guard shift.  But my relief was nearly an hour and a half late, so it would have been after 12:30 before you got the call.  So I decided to wait until tonight.  I’m going to the show and call after that.

I opened your present last night.  If I hadn’t already started this letter I sure would have made use of it.  Thanks, hon.  I can really make use of it.  Did there happen to be any hint involved there?  I notice there was a very broad hint in the card!

By the way, you never did say if Paul & Strat were going to do our singing.  And has everyone we wanted been asked?  You’ve never said anything about that, so I am curious.

Well, I tried calling three times and I couldn’t get through.  I’ll try again tomorrow.  But right now I’ve got to get to bed.  Alone.  But it won’t be that way one month from tomorrow.  I love you Rita!

All my love,

Jeff


Good news, the new system is working and I have about 7 letters in the can.  You are now assured of posts for a while without interruptions.  Thanks for your patience.

I’ve noticed in this letter, and in many others, that he makes small repeats in his writing.  Like saying he “would have made use of it,” then one sentence later “I can really make use of it.”  I notice that I do the same thing sometimes when I’m trying to communicate in a noisy place or when I’m writing a long post in sporadic 30-second bursts.  Conjunctions sometimes just drop out and tenses shift, so occasionally you’ll see me make a correction to his letters in brackets [like these] so that the passage makes sense and is readable (and also so you don’t think I’m the one making the errors).

I’m a product of technology and can’t imagine a time before spell check, so I’m certainly not going to pass judgment on his writing, just wanted you to know what you were seeing.

EDIT: I have no idea what the present was.  A pen? Stationary?  Not sure…

Ethan


Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday

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