Love Letters

Love Begins, Chapter One

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Love Begins, Chapter One

    My family, The Blakleys, moved to Van Vleck, Texas in the Summer of 1966. My parents, Jim and Mary Blakley, were teachers. I was one of five children and the only girl.   I guess if you were going according to the pecking order, I was number two. I would be a Junior in High School in the Fall of 1966. Frank had lived in Van Vleck, Texas and in Sugar Valley, a little community about three miles outside of Van Vleck, for all but a couple of years of his life. Frank was the son of Loren and Peggy Henderson. Frank was the oldest of three children and he had one brother and one sister....

Read More

The Hayride, Chapter Two

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

The Hayride, Chapter Two

The Hayride and more…   As President of the MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship), Frank decided to plan some fun events for us all. Since Frank’s Dad owned hay trucks, Frank decided it would be fun to have a hayride. He borrowed his Dad’s hay truck and loaded it with bales of hay placed around all sides, so everyone could sit on top of the bales and then lean back on the sides of the truck. Frank got in the truck and then headed to my house to pick me up then we drove to the church to pick up all of the other MYF members. When we arrived at the church everyone climbed on board...

Read More

New Year’s Eve, Chapter Three

Posted by in Love Letters | 4 comments

New Year’s Eve, Chapter Three

 New Year’s Eve Party About a month or so after our first date and during our Christmas’ break, Jimmy, Frank and I had been invited to a New Years’ Eve 1967 party in Houston, Texas which was at my cousin and her husband’s house. We left Van Vleck and all went there together in my brother’s car. When we arrived at the party everyone there was already drinking, munching on snacks that my cousin had provided for everyone and the room was full of music and laughter. My cousin and her husband already knew Frank because they had met him at my Grandfather’s...

Read More

The Long Way Home, Chapter Four

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

The Long Way Home, Chapter Four

The Long Way Home One night as Frank and I left Cains after we had sat and visited with our friends, he asked me if I wanted to take a different road on our way back to Van Vleck to take me home. Frank told me it was a shell road and it was a nice scenic drive which would take us a back way into Van Vleck. Something told me told me that maybe Frank had something more on his mind than looking at the scenery, especially since it had been raining and there was a creepy fog hugging the ground which made it hard to see anything. I told Frank that I did not think we would be able to see anything...

Read More

February 7, 1968, Chapter Five

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

February 7, 1968, Chapter Five

And I Said Yes The middle of January 1968, Jimmy and Frank were supposed to register to go back to school at Wharton County Junior College but after talking with the registrar and my Dad, they decided to enlist in the Army. It seems that they had been spending more time drinking Tall Boy beer and playing pool at a place nearby the college than going to classes. Their grades had also suffered badly. Since going to college and making good grades was their only deferment from the draft, it was in their best interest to just join the Army. Frank and Jimmy went to a recruiter to talk to him about...

Read More

Rabbit Hunting, Chapter Six

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Rabbit Hunting, Chapter Six

Rabbit Hunting Time was moving very fast for us now and we had so much to do before Frank would leave for Army Basic Training.  We only had eleven more days to spend together before Frank would leave. I knew some of Frank’s family from the church but others who lived in close nearby towns wanted to meet me and were inviting us to their homes for supper. Frank and I had a great time at his Uncle and Aunt’s home in Sweeny, Texas and after it got dark we left their home then headed back to Van Vleck.  Frank turned left off of highway 35 onto the Pledger highway and then turned right...

Read More

First Letters from Basic, 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

First Letters from Basic, 1968

  Leaving on a Jet Plane   Frank had boarded an airplane at Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, in the afternoon of February 25, 1968, and my brother, Jimmy, was with him. The airplane was headed for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where they would do their Army Basic Training. He wrote his first letter to me aboard that airplane. He was worried, nervous and a little scared of what was to come at Fort Leonard Wood.   February 25, 1968 Dear Nancy, This letter is coming to you from 33,000 feet in the air. I’m writing this at 6:15 P.M. from this sickening thing they call a jet. Let me tell you,...

Read More

More Letters from Basic, 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 4 comments

More Letters from Basic, 1968

 Lonely within a Crowd I was so excited when the next two letters arrived.                                                           March 3, 1968 Dear Nancy, Last night had to be the loneliest night of my life. It was Saturday night and everyone was sad because they were all thinking about how it was last Saturday night and they were all wishing they were home. Darling, I missed you so much I almost died. I met some nice guys who have become some real buddies. This one who sleeps next to mine and Jimmy’s bunk has been going with his girl for three years and we spent all night walking...

Read More

Letters 5 & 6 from Basic, 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Letters 5 & 6 from Basic, 1968

Please, Mr. Postman The next letter from Frank shows just how upset and isolated he was feeling.  He had not received my letters but they were at least on the way.      March 7, 1968, Dear Nancy, I finally got a pen (19 cents).  I wanted to write you this letter in ink for a change.  As you know, I’m lonely after a week and I’m tired both physically and mentally and Nancy, like I warned you before I left, I’m liable to say anything when I get in my depressed moods so don’t think anything about it because you know I love you and trust you. I guess you are getting tired...

Read More

Letters 7 & 8 from Basic, 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

Letters 7 & 8 from Basic, 1968

  Marching In the Snow Frank had been gone for over two weeks when I got the next letter from him.  Just when he was beginning to adjust to being away from home Mother Nature gave him a new form of adjustment.     March 13, 1968  Dear Nancy,  Last night (Monday), it started snowing, well it started snowing while we were in the theater listening to some men talk, and it snowed all night and all day today until about 5:00 this afternoon and it was so damn cold.   We had to march about 1 mile to the theater and 1 mile back two times today and the snow was about 6 to 8 inches deep and then the...

Read More

Letters 9 & 10 from Basic, 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

Letters 9 & 10 from Basic, 1968

Basic Training “Fun” I sent Frank my Senior picture in a letter right before receiving the following two letters from him.  I still had my braces on but that did not keep me from smiling for the picture, just for him.     March 16, 1968  Dear Nancy,  This letter is going to be dedicated to answering your questions in the latest letters today, Saturday, March 16, 1968, but first I have to tell I love you very much and that’s 3 small words to cover a very strong undefinable feeling I have for you.    You asked about the exercises.  Yes, they are hard but I’m getting in...

Read More

Letters 11 & 12 from Basic, 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

Letters 11 & 12 from Basic, 1968

The next letter you will read really upset me. Frank was so far from home and so sick. As soon as Frank could, he would call home to his folk’s house collect from a phone booth, so I could talk to him       March 25, 1968  Dear Nancy,  This a very depressing letter, so if you want to throw it away do it now.  Thursday night I got two shots and then at 6:00-8: 30 p.m., I had to clean the Mess Hall and then at 3:30 a.m. Friday morning until 9:00p.m. Friday night (18 and 1/2 hrs.) I had K.P.  Saturday, we had an inspection and our platoon won the best of the week (yea).  Then we had a...

Read More

Letters 13 & 14 from Basic 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Letters 13 & 14 from Basic 1968

Why Does A Man Cuss? I wrote a letter to Frank about the increase in cuss words in his letters to me.  The following letter is his explanation for why a man cusses.     April 9, 1968  Dear Nancy,  Girl, I am severely disappointed in you.  I got three letters from you today and the 3rd one, (April 6), made me feel very bad.  You know I love you very much and for me to love someone commands a great deal of respect for that person.  I respect you more than I have respected anyone in my entire life.  I asked you to marry me and be my wife.  Nancy marriage to me is one of the most important and...

Read More

Letters 15 & 16 from Basic 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 8 comments

Letters 15 & 16 from Basic 1968

A Unique and Special Letter The next letter is unique and special, Frank decided to write to me on something he thought would be different, but I will let him tell you about it.        April 20, 1968  Dear Lou,  Isn’t this a novelty?  I bet you never expected to get a letter that was written on a bedsheet.  Well, I’m not out of paper, I’m not nuts, and I don’t mean anything by it.  I just thought that it would be unusual.   It is Friday of my 6th week and my nerves are shot. We don’t get our orders until Wednesday and rumor is the RA’s don’t get a...

Read More

Letter from My Brother, Jimmy Basic 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 6 comments

Letter from My Brother, Jimmy Basic 1968

Love Between Best Friends My brother, Jimmy Blakley, who is mentioned throughout these chapters as “Jimmy” by me or called “Jim” by Frank in his letters, was also awaiting orders.    Frank and Jimmy were best friends who had a deep love and respect for each other before Frank and I started dating.  Frank and Jimmy had even joined the Army on the Buddy System which meant they were to be stationed together throughout their service time in the Army and included them doing Basic Training together.  When Frank had gotten sick in Basic Training, Jimmy was the one who took...

Read More

Stuck On You, Chapter 16

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

Stuck On You, Chapter 16

The Four Days Leading Up to Our Wedding Day Were Full of Excitement Wow!  I had Frank in my arms and it seemed that God had used super glue on our hands and we could not let go. Things were really busy in Van Vleck, Texas.  It seemed like everyone in this town were in some way involved in our wedding.  Since the wedding was planned for the evening of May 8, 1968, at the First Methodist Church in Van Vleck, Texas there was so much to do but it was hard for Frank and me to concentrate on all of the  “pomp and circumstance” when all we wanted to do was be alone with each other. It...

Read More

Going to the Chapel

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Going to the Chapel

And We’re Gonna Get Married! I tossed and turned all night trying to go to sleep but my restless mind would not stop thinking. The excitement and the anticipation that the next evening of becoming Frank’s wife forever, just would not let my mind rest. Of course, that was interlaced with worrisome thoughts about if Frank was okay.  Knowing those guys all to well who had taken Frank to the beach for a Bachelor Party had me asking myself many questions. Did they let him drown?  Was he tied up to a tree on the courthouse lawn in Bay City? Or worse yet, tied up to that tree in the...

Read More

Our Wedding Reception

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

Our Wedding Reception

Rice, Ice, Spark Plugs, Water and Cannonballs? As Jimmy our chauffeur and the Bestman drove Frank and I up to the Wedding Reception at the Oasis Hotel, we noticed that the Oasis had put our names on their lighted marque in front of the hotel saying, “Frank and Nancy Wedding Reception”.  It was so special! It would be the first and last time we ever had our names in lights but that made it even more special. Jimmy pulled the car up to the front door entrance then Frank and Jimmy helped me to get out of the car without the “hoop thangy”  exposing me to all of the guests...

Read More

Honeymoon and HemisFair 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Honeymoon and HemisFair 1968

  Waking up that first morning as Frank’s wife was surreal.  Wondering was it all a dream or reality, then I heard Frank say, “Good Morning Mrs. L. F. Henderson, Jr.” and I knew it was real. Frank and I did what we needed to do to get dressed then repacked our suitcases so we could get a start on our first day as Husband and Wife. I should stop right here and say “thank you” with very deep appreciation to my Mom and her good friend, Peggy Goodloe Fisher.  Evidently, they were feeling very mischievous while I was in the shower the day of my Wedding, so they...

Read More

First Separation Hurts Deeply

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

First Separation Hurts Deeply

Frank and I arrived back to Van Vleck from our Honeymoon on May 13, 1968, which meant we needed to decide where we were going to stay.  We decided to split the time he had left of his leave staying together at our folk’s homes.  Frank would fly out for Fort Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts on May 18, 1968, but I would not be able to follow him there until June 1, 1968, the day after I graduated from High School. We spent every minute of those few days together but it seemed like the minutes flew by too quickly then suddenly it was time to take Frank to the airport for him to fly away by...

Read More

Our First Home in Ayer, Mass.

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Our First Home in Ayer, Mass.

Getting on an airplane in Houston at Hobby Airport then being nervous because of never having flown before,  I so was excited to finally be on my way to be with Frank again. Of course, flying Student Standby meant that I could be held up at any point of my trip if the plane I was scheduled to fly on was full with others who had paid the full amount for a ticket. My flight would take me from Houston to Chicago then after changing planes in Chicago, I would fly on to Boston where Frank would be waiting at the airport for me. After arriving at the airport in Chicago and finally finding the gate...

Read More

Mosquitoes and Fan – 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Mosquitoes and Fan – 1968

After arriving at our apartment house and  not really sure who was most excited, Frank or me,  we opened the screen door then ran up the stairs to a front door to enter into our new home. We had arms full of bags of groceries and were followed closely behind by our friends who had their arms full of groceries, too. As Frank opened our door, he looked at me smiling saying, “Welcome home, Nancy Lou.” I went past Frank smiling, laughing, then looking into the first open doorway to our right as we all walked down a long hallway to another door which we entered then I saw a kitchen...

Read More

Clothes, Oreos, Candy Lipsticks

Posted by in Love Letters | 8 comments

Clothes, Oreos, Candy Lipsticks

Frank and I solved the fan problem with our “Beater Fan”, or at least for awhile.   Now we began to settle into our daily routine. On the weekdays we got up before dawn because Frank needed to be at Fort Devens early in the morning for his classes.  Since we did not have a car and it was a three-mile walk to the base for him, he started out early on his walk to the base. After Frank left for school, I had things to do which kept me busy and fueled my special inventiveness.  I loved figuring out a better way of doing things while making do with what we had. Next story makes me...

Read More

Smoking Laundry and Big Fins 1968

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

Smoking Laundry and Big Fins 1968

After having survived the two weeks of not enough food, Frank and I realized that we would have to manage our money very carefully.  Frank was in constant search for another apartment for us because of the high rent we were paying.  Also, he wanted to get closer to town and Fort Devens but for now we were enjoying our apartment in the country. We were only blocks away from a small lake which was called Sandy Pond which was beautiful with a beach and a floating platform that we could swim to.  Swimming in the pond was free, so Frank and I went there on the weekends sometimes to enjoy the...

Read More

Apartment, Snoopy, Corncob Pipe

Posted by in Love Letters | 2 comments

Apartment, Snoopy, Corncob Pipe

Frank had been searching for a new place for us to live in town but I was still surprised when he came home one afternoon saying he had found us a new home. The new apartment was located on the third story of a brick building on Main Street in downtown Ayer, Massachusetts.  The large building had offices on the second floor and a bank on the first floor. After entering the building through a big door in the middle of the building, a wide stairway led to the second-floor lobby which we walked through to get to another wide stairway that led to the third-floor landing where there were four...

Read More

Why Didn’t You Turn Off The Water?

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Why Didn’t You Turn Off The Water?

Since we had moved to town, life had become less stressful for Frank and me. Our apartment rent was $25.00 cheaper which gave us more money to spend on food.  We still didn’t have a car, a phone, air-conditioning, washer, dryer, or a television but we thanked God every day for the extra food on our table and each other. When Frank got home in the evenings we had supper then we would take long walks on the sidewalks of downtown Ayer, looking in the windows of all the stores, or we would just sit on our fire escape balcony watching the stars come out at night. My days were full of...

Read More

Texas & The Plastic Fab. Co.

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Texas & The Plastic Fab. Co.

Frank and I were trying to save as much money as we could. Knowing in a couple of months when Frank’s school ended that it would be time for us to leave Ayer, Massachusetts meant that we would need extra money to ship our things home. Frank could fly Military Standby free but the extra money would be needed to buy my Student Standby airline ticket.  We were really hoping to get to fly together when we left for home. One Friday afternoon, my best friend came over to our house and told us that there was a job opening at the Union Products Inc. which was a Plastic Fabrication Company in...

Read More

Rope Knot and Bivouac

Posted by in Love Letters | 0 comments

Rope Knot and Bivouac

Frank and I were really having an awesome time just being together.  Our love was growing deeper and deeper with each passing day. God had wrapped us in His loving arms protecting us.  His love for us was so evident and we felt it surround us every day. He had given us His greatest gift, true love. Looking back, I really believe that God had planned our love from our births and  He was delighted by the way we loved each other and loved watching us grow up together. We had made many new close friends and we were finally more secure financially.  Now, we had money for food with a little extra...

Read More