Last Days Are Scary

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Frank was experiencing lots of things in his final days in Vietnam.  He was experiencing recurring dreams of us together again nearly every night.

My every thought was about Frank.  He was constantly on my mind and I could not wait to see him, hold him, and tell him how much I loved him.  My dreams were all about him.

Of course, the Army was wanting him to re-up, but they did not have a chance of talking him into re-enlisting because four years in the Army had been quite enough for Frank and me.  We wanted no more separations from each other.

Frank sent me brochures that were normally given to wives trying to get them to talk their husbands into re-enlisting.  He had circled things on the brochures that he knew would make me laugh.

Fear of surviving the last few days in Vietnam had Frank taking every precaution to not let anything happen to him.  I felt that fear to0.  We had been through so much in the last year being separated and we would not breathe easy until we were in each other’s arms again.  I prayed every night that the last few days would pass quickly and bring Frank home.

November 8, 1971

Dear Nancy,

Hi there.  How are you today?  I hope you are getting along fine and are looking forward to my coming home.  I got three letters from you today.

Honey, I’m worried about getting a job and I hope we have enough money to cover us if I can’t find one for a while.  I just worry about things like that.  It’s my job as your husband to do this.  It’s part of the function of being a husband.  Just as it’s your job to take care of me and our house, it’s my job to take care of the finances.  You understand?  Ok.

You asked if I was sure that there is no mistake about the drop.  I’m sure and as you know I have the orders.  It’s too late for them now.  Decent, huh?

God, I’m crazy tonight, huh?  Maybe I’m just trying so hard to be everything to you.  I want everything to be right.  I want to give you a good life and a good living.  I want you to have everything.  I want you to be proud of me and respect me.  I don’t ever want to fail you in any way.  So try and understand me, please.  Ok?  Ok!  

These last few days are just dragging, aren’t they?  Ten months went by like fast but thirty days seems like an eternity.  So close yet…!  Well, in 19 days I’ll be grabbing you at the airport and I’ll be so very happy.  After 276 days already we only have 19 left.  I’ll be there before you know it.  By the time you get this, we’ll only have 14 days left then when I get a reply we’ll only have about 8 days left.  Descent, huh!

Honey, I ask for you to bear with me for 19 more days.  I’m a little worn down and worried.  I promise you, I’ll be my old happy self when I step off that plane.  I’m confused because I don’t know what to expect the next 19 days and I’m excited and don’t want anything to go wrong. I’m not taking any chances. 

I sleep with my war gear next to me and with my pants on at night.  Things like this are making me a nervous wreck.  I’ve spent too long from you already and now I’m not taking any chances.  I just need to get out of here and get back to you and your love.

So, if I seem eccentric my last few days, I ask you to please stick by me and don’t get down on me until you’ve seen me again and judge for yourself.  I’m still me but I’m under different circumstances that you’ve ever seen before and when I get back to you, I’ll be the same way that you’re used to seeing me as.

I have to close, Darling.  Just keep faith in me and my never dying love for you.  I love you so much! God bless you and please keep you safe for me.  I love you, Nancy, so very much.

All my Love is Yours,


That was a hard letter to read.  I was just as worried as Frank was about those last days he was in Vietnam.  Frank wanted out of there so badly and I wanted him out of there badly.  We were both saying prayers to God that the time would pass quickly and we would be in each other’s arms again.

We both knew they were pulling more and more soldiers out of Vietnam which meant those that were still there were in more danger.

In Frank’s next letter he has calmed down some.  The next letter was written one day after the one above and it really shows how up and down Frank’s emotions could be from day to day.  Stress and loneliness can reap havoc on our emotions.  Frank and I were both feeling these same emotions.   Every day our emotions seemed different.

November 9, 1971

Dear Nancy,

Hello, my Darling.  Like the red ink?  Well,k its to signify that I have nothing else but a red pen.  HA! I love you, you shorty you. 

As you can probably tell, I’m in a perfectly foolish mood tonight.  I’ve been that way since I woke this morning.  I didn’t sleep very well last night and I kept having a dream.  I’d wake up smile then go right back to sleep and take up where I left off.  It was one long continuous dream. 

I’m starting to get the same dream or one similar to it every night. There are always only two people in it.  Guess who these two are?  You’re right.  It’s only you and I, of course.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  No, I’m not always making love to you.  Sometimes you’re making love to me.  HA! HA!

No seriously, I dream about us walking and talking things over between us.  It’ll be so good to be able to sit down with you and talk over everything together.  Like we used to.  Just being together again will mean so much to both of us, I think.  

You’re everything to me, Nancy, and I won’t be me again till you’re by my side once again.  You see, when I left, I left the best part of me behind.  I’ll not be the same until I once again have my other part.  That other part is you, my love.  I know I may say foolish things at times and get out of sorts but I can’t truly help it over here.  Still, you have stuck by me and continued to give me the one thing I need the most, Love.  

Another thing you have always shown and just showing this makes me feel the strength you have given me.  That is understanding.  Without understanding and accepting me when I’m out of sorts, you would have given up on me long ago.  You can understand when I act like an ass and try and protect me from myself by reassuring me of your love and devotion.

None of these things I have said or done is a reflection on you.  It’s my fault and I know this.  You have not failed me in any way at all.  It’s me, being away from you and being so lonely so long and numerous other things combined.  I could go on making excuses for my behavior but I know my mistakes and all I can hope for is that with you and I working together, we can overcome my faults and shortcomings.  OK?  OK!

I’m getting really excited Honey.  In 18 days, I’ll be gathering you up in my freckled arms and telling you, I love you.  I’ll leave Phu Bai in 14 days.  Jesus, Honey, we’re almost there.  It seems like a miracle come true.  I’m so happy.  I hope you are as happy as I am.  I love you so much, Nancy.

I’m gonna hafta close and try to get some sleep.  I pray for you and I ask Him to keep you safe and protected for me Darling because I love you so much.  Take care of yourself because you are mine and you’re all I live for.  I love you, Nancy, so very much.  

All My Love,


P.S. “short”

Somethings are so special that they make you smile ear to ear and make you feel like the most loved person in the world as you read them, even if the words were written to you forty-seven years ago.  The letter above definitely fits in that special category.

I never considered that Frank made any mistakes.  In my eyes he was perfect.  He was in a war zone surrounded by things that were unfathomable to me.  I loved him with all of my heart and I would not let him be down.  I did everything in my power to let him know that he was not alone, that I loved him,  that I was being faithful to him, and that I was waiting for him.  Frank was my heart and soul.

Frank is still in a great mood in his next letter.

November 10, 1971

Dear Short Wife,

Nice word isn’t it.  I guess by now you’re sick of me feeling so good, huh?  I guess all I talk about anymore is getting short.  Well, I tell you what.  Getting short has only one purpose and that’s to get myself home to you.  If you get tired of hearing about that then tough!  I’m gonna tell you anyway.  So there.  I love you, Nancy.

I imagine you are also getting tired of having to go to the post office and pick up these dumb letters from your idiot husband.  Well, once again, tough!  I’m getting closer to you day by day and you’re going to hear how it feels.  So there!

Well, there are about five of my neighbors sitting around in here and we’re listening to the old radio and drinking beer and  They keep telling me I’m going to re-up.  Well, I just smile and say nothing.  

It feels good to have good friends who share your feelings and are happy for you.  I can’t even go into the bar and buy a drink.  Everyone buys me a drink.  Oh well.

Well, this is a weird letter, I guess but I’m out of things to say, so I’ll say what’s utmost in my mind.  I love you. Please take care of yourself and pray for me, Darling.  I’ll be home to you soon.  I promise.  Then everything will be ok once and for all.  God bless you and I’ll see you soon my love.

All My Love,


P.S.  Check out these Zip envelopes.  See how they spell Cambodia and Thailand.  Stupid Zips


I think that Mr. Henderson might just have been a tad bit inebriated in the letter above but he was happy and being funny so when I read it I smiled.  Frank always made good friends with everyone he met and people loved my “dimple-faced” husband.  Everyone trusted him and knew that he would never let them down, ever.

Frank was right about the envelopes and the misspelled countries.  Thailand is spelled Thailande and Cambodia is spelled Cambodge.  I have several of the envelopes with the misspellings.

When I received the above letter Frank and I would only have twelve days left until he came home.  It all seemed like such a dream.

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