Last Letters From Okinawa

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Last Letters From Okinawa

Frank was trying to deal with his loneliness in Okinawa while I was dealing with that same loneliness in Van Vleck.  Handwritten letters were our way of communicating our feelings to each other.

After Frank returned to the island for a short time before being sent to Vietnam, I could see in my mind where he was living and working which gave me so much comfort.  We had lived across the road from Torii Station and had been on the base many times, so I knew it very well.

Since we had rented the little white house in Van Vleck once arriving home from Okinawa, Frank could envision me in our little home which would prove to be a very stabling factor for his emotions.  He needed to be able to close his eyes and see me in our home.

We thought Frank would be in Okinawa for two weeks before his transfer to Vietnam but that proved not to be true.  He would end up leaving for Vietnam only eight days after he returned to Okinawa.  Neither one of us was prepared for that to happen so soon.

These are the last letters I received from Frank before he left for Vietnam and a letter  I sent to him that was returned to me because it did not arrive before he left Okinawa.

January 14, 1971                                         10:00 p.m.

Dear Nancy,

Hello Darling.  How’s everything with you?  I’m almost through clearing post.  I’ll finish up in the morning.  I’ll be gone by the time you get this letter.

Our friends had a 9lb. 6oz. baby boy.  They seem really happy about it. There’s not too much to say about this place.

It’s the same old place.  Except for one thing.  There’s an ugly freckled faced man living in the barracks.  I don’t think he belongs there because he doesn’t fit in. He just lays around reads and mopes.  He looks like he’s very lonely and misses someone very much. He keeps mumbling about the Army and how bad he hates it and how in 366 days he’s going to meet someone in California and have a wonderful time.

No.  Seriously.  Honey, I’m looking forward to that day so much. Don’t worry about me.  Sure I’m lonely and miss you but I’ll make it.  And the reason I’ll make it is because I have your love to fall back on and that love is so strong it’ll carry me through anything.

You don’t have to worry about me, Honey.  I’ll be faithful to you, I swear.  What do I need another woman for?  Your love is too strongly impressed on my memory and my heart to even think about it.  So don’t waste your time worrying about that.  If you must worry, worry about how you’re going to take care of all those kids we’re going to have.  Would you be disappointed if we only had 16?

Darling, I love you.  You know that?  Well, you’d better.  Say hello to everyone and tell them I’m doing fine and tell them and the whole world how much I Love You.

Well, time to get some crash time in.  Do you still love me?  Give me a kiss good-night and say a prayer for me and tell me you love me and I’ll see you soon.

Your faithful loving husband,

Frank

P.S. Our friends say to write.

P.S.P.S.  I love you very much

The loneliness and uncertainty of things to come were beginning to play on Frank’s mind.  He knew how much I trusted him and loved him but he needed to reassure me of his faithfulness and love for me.  I never once doubted Frank’s faithfulness to me in our entire married life.

After arriving in Okinawa to live with Frank, a single GI was visiting in our home and helping me in the kitchen while I was washing dishes.  He told me that my Frank was one of the only married men, that he knew who would not go to bars and had not participated in extracurricular activities with pay for women.   Of course, he did not have to tell me that but he said he wanted me to know how much Frank loved me.  I can still see this young man’s face as he told me this even now and it is a priceless memory.

Frank’s thoughts and emotions continued to confuse him as he writes this next letter.  He was so worried about me but my only thought was how much I loved him and my only concerns were about his safety and survival.

In this letter, Frank’s handwriting changes from his previous letter and you can see him try to talk to me while he tried to fight the emotions he was feeling.

January 15, 1971                                                    11:40 a.m.

Dear Nancy,

Well, I’m through clearing.  I’m just waiting to leave.  You know how much I hated this place and couldn’t wait to leave, well now it’s no big deal.  I miss you here just like I will in Nam.

That 45 days we had meant so much to me.  So much, that now I can see how great it’s going to be when we get out.  All the worries we’ll have will seem so petty after having been through all the things we’ve had to face together.  And we pulled through all of them.  And we’ll keep right on pulling through them.

We’re a team.  At times it felt like it was you and me against the whole world.  We may have faltered but we never fell.  We need to lean on each other when things get bad.  Here I am spouting off about “we” and it’s me doing all the talking.  I hope you feel the same about me and the things I think about as I do about you.

How’s everything at home?  I worry a lot about you.  Please keep me informed about your emotions,  your loneliness, and all your feelings.  I know this is silly and stupid of me and you’ll probably get mad at me for this but I worry about you being lonely and needing comforting in your loneliness and seek someone else.

Now I don’t mean you’d intentionally do this but unintentionally. It happens.  God knows I trust you but that doesn’t keep me from worrying.  Women need someone to lean on and I’m not there for you to lean on.  I’m not accusing you or believing that you’d do it.

Oh hell.  I don’t know what I’m even thinking.  All I know is that I couldn’t stand being without you.  I love you and need you to be my wife.  I’m sorry if anything I said offended you or made you mad.  Please realize I didn’t mean anything by it or anything else.  Sometimes something bothers me and it obsesses my mind.

I have no doubts about you.  I trust you, respect you, and love you. Why I get this way I don’t know.  It’s just one of my many faults I guess.  Do you sometimes worry about me?  If you do, please tell me.  I’m just asking you to forgive me for my stupidness.  I’m sorry.

Nancy, I don’t know what to say to you.  I can’t express or explain the knot in my stomach when I hear a song we both liked or think of you.  I’m not good at expressing myself on paper.  All I can say is I love you and hope that you get the message out of this.

Your loving husband,

Frank

P.S. Tell the animals hi.

Reading this letter now versus reading it so many years ago, I see so much pain going through Frank’s heart.  His fear of losing me was deeper than his fear of going to Vietnam.  He knew how much I loved him but his emotions were not letting him think clearly.

Hndwritten Letter with emotions

Frank’s Handwritten Letter Displaying Deep Emotions

The next thing that he would have to face was not being able to get mail from me.  The last letter I wrote to Frank while he was in Okinawa was written on January 11, 1971.  He did not receive this letter because by the time it arrived he had already departed for Vietnam.

I included pictures of this letter from me because my typing was so bad that I couldn’t duplicate it again.

January 11, 1971

Dear Frank,

Well hello.  How’s my favorite guy?  I hope fine.  If you haven’t guessed by now, I am practicing typing. I am afraid I am not doing to good. I am pretty sure, I am going to be working at the Credit Bureau as a clerk typist.  Ha! Ha!  That is why I am practicing typing.  I think my future is pretty dim.  In a minute, I am going to try to type a sentence without any errors.  (That will be the day)

Typed Letter

My First Typed Letter to Frank

Well, how is it with you.  I hope fine.  I am fine, except for missing you.  I am already planning for our second honeymoon.  I can hardly wait until we are together again.  You just wait, I am going to Love You to death!  I love you too much for your own good.  I love you, Frank!

I thought I would get a letter from you today, but I guess you have been busy.  Have you started to process out yet?  I hope you are eating right because I would die if you got sick.  I love you, Frank!

Have you seen our friends since you have been back?  Has their baby boy grown much?  I bet he has really grown and is really cute.

Frank as soon as you get your W2 form please send it to me.  If you will, I can go ahead and send off our Income Tax form and get that money back so I can send you some money.  I know you are broke and need money.  I wish I had the money to send it to you now but I can’t spare a red cent because of the car payments.

My First Typed Letter to Frank

I had the car checked last Friday at the Volkswagen place in Freeport and they said it was alright.  Your Dad went with me.  I wanted to get it checked before I started to work, so I did.

Frank, I want you to know I love you and need you very much.  I pray the time will pass by quickly and bring you home to me very soon. Please take care of yourself and be careful because you have a wife so very much in love with you and who needs you very much. 

I’ll close for now but I’ll write you again tomorrow.  I LOVE YOU!!!!!

ALL MY LOVE TO YOU MY DARLING,

I Love You,

Nancy

In the letter above, you will notice that I had not gotten letters from Frank yet.  It would be at least January 13 of 14, 1971 before I would get his first letters but I kept writing.

Once Frank got to Vietnam, he would not have an address for me to write to him for a while but he would keep writing to me and  I continued to write to him every day saving the letters to mail when I got his address.

I pray you have gotten to know Frank and me because there are many beautiful letters to come. We shared a true soulmate love for each other.  We were one heart and soul which could not be separated by the separation of war.

This will finish the first book but it will not end our love story.

To be continued…

<<<<< Beginning | Book Two: The Vietnam Letters >>>>>

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Unchained melody…that certainly fits….Funny how time has erased the memories of the delays involved with written mail and changing duty stations…that must have been rough on you.

    • It was rough on me but it was really rough on Frank as you will see in the first letters from Vietnam. Even after He mailed me his address it would take it five days to get to me then my letter would take five days to get back to him.
      The most Beautiful miracles happen because we were so of one heart and soul. When I would mail him a letter then check my mailbox and the answers would be in a letter on the same day.
      Thank you for reading and commenting Kim. I really appreciate it so much.
      God Bless You,
      Nancy

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