Leaving the Army Behind Us

Posted in Letters After R&R | 6 comments

Frank processed out of Fort Lewis in Washington state then called me on the telephone.  After we talked, he got on an airplane which flew him to Houston Intercontinental Airport.

After talking with Frank then hanging up the telephone, I could not quit smiling.  We were actually out of the Army.  I was no longer a soldier’s wife and there would be no more war and separation.  I was now Frank’s wife for the first time without the Army hovering over us.

It is a strange feeling to go from the emotions of terrible fear and worry to those of excitement and happiness.  I was so thankful and kept thanking God over and over for bringing Frank home safely to me.

Our suitcases were packed, except for a few last minute things.  When Frank let me know approximately his arrival home day, I had started packing our suitcases for our Second Honeymoon.

It was so unbelievable to know that we were now free to just go where ever we wanted to go without the burden of worry in the back of our minds about us being separated and Frank having to leave again.

We would never have to stand in an Airport and feel like ours heart would break into pieces as we held each other tightly and kissed goodbye before Frank would have to turn then quickly walk away from me to leave on an airplane.

There would be no more crying myself to sleep at night while holding Frank’s pillow tightly after writing him a letter telling him how much I loved him.  I could now hold him tightly every night while telling him how much I loved him.

The telephone could now ring and there would be no fear when answering it.  A knock at the door would not cause me to lose my breath and a pounding heart as I went to answer it.  Fear and anxiety would not rule our lives anymore and we thanked God for that.

Frank and I knew without God’s loving arms around us, His amazing grace, and His answer to our prayers, we would not have made it through one moment of being apart from each other.  We would never forget God’s love and mercy for us.

So many thoughts went through my mind as I got dressed, finished packing our suitcases, and loaded them into our Volkswagon then drove to the airport.  I really do not remember the drive to the airport but I do remember parking the car and running into the building which held the terminal where Frank’s plane would unload.

There wasn’t a lot of sitting in the chairs in the terminal lobby for me while waiting for Frank’s plane to land.  I spent most of that time looking out the windows in anticipation of getting the first glimpse of his plane coming out of the skies to land.

Finally, I saw his plane come into sight and land.  As the plane taxied to the terminal, I thought my heart would pound out of my chest as I quickly walked to the terminal ramp where the passengers would walk into the terminal from then I saw him behind others coming down the ramp.

Frank saw me then his face instantly broke into the biggest grin.  It took all the restraint in me to stand there waiting for him to make his way through the crowd coming down the ramp.  Then, Frank dropped his bag, ran to me, and I jumped into his arms then we embraced tightly and kissed while he lifted me off my feet as we twirled round and round.  We just could not stop kissing each other as tears ran down our cheeks, but they were tears of total happiness.

Once we decided to quit kissing and hugging each other, Frank gently placed my feet back on the ground then we noticed a crowd standing around us with big smiles on their faces.  Frank took my hand into his and we walked hand in hand to the baggage claim area to retrieve his duffle bag.

After retrieving the duffle bag, Frank and I left the building and walked to our car.  Once we got in the car, we decided that we were really hungry.  It was about 6:00 AM in the morning when we stopped at a pancake house to eat breakfast.

I do not think two people could sit closer than we did in the booth that our waitress had led us to.  The waitress asked us if we were newlyweds then we told her all about what that day meant for us.  She was so happy for us then told everyone in the room.  When we got through eating and got up to go pay, the waitress told us that the manager said our meal was free.  We thanked her and the manager for their kindness then we left.

When we got into the car again, Frank asked, “Where are we headed to Nancy?”

I answered, “Van Vleck.”

Frank looked at me smiling then asked, “Van Vleck?  Why are we going to Van Vleck?”

Looking deeply into his eyes, I answered, “We need to go see your folks because they need to see you are okay and hug you too.  It has been a long year for them too, full of worry and fear.  Once we have visited with them a while then we can go wherever you want, Dimples.”

Frank laughed and shook his head as he replied, “Nancy, I love you so much.  That was not the plan but you are so right.  Get over here closer and kiss me.”

Of course, I kissed him but there was no way that we could get any closer because I was practically sitting in his lap as we drove out of Houston on our way to Van Vleck.

Soon we arrived at Frank’s folk’s home then stood on their porch and rang the doorbell.  Frank’s Mom answered the door and she was so surprised.  She opened the screen door then hugged Frank tightly.  Frank’s Mom was a very strong woman who I had never seen cry but her eyes welled up with tears as she hugged her oldest child and first-born son in her arms.

Frank’s Dad was at work, so we decided to stay until he got home and eat supper with them.  I cannot recall where Frank’s little sister was but I think she might have been down for a nap when we arrived at Frank’s folk’s home.

When we got into the house, Frank asked his Mom if he could take a shower.  Frank said told her he wanted to take a hot shower and get Vietnam off of his skin and it had been forever since he felt really clean.  Of course, she told him it was okay and she would make some coffee while he showered, so Frank headed to the back shower in their home while I went to get him some clean clothes out of his suitcase in our car.

After retrieving Frank some clothes from our car, I took them into the bathroom where Frank was taking a shower.  When I opened the door to the bathroom, Frank was standing there in his birthday suit then looked at me smiling with those incredible “Dimples”.  I closed the bathroom door behind me, laid his clean clothes on the counter, and smiled back at him. Timeout…

Frank and I walked into the kitchen together hand in hand, got two cups of coffee, and joined his Mom in the den. We visited and had coffee then visited more when Frank’s Dad came home from work.   Frank’s Mom and I fixed supper together then we all ate, cleaned up, and visited some more.

After Frank and I left his folk’s home, we decided to go to our little white house in Van Vleck to spend the night.  I remember every beautiful loving moment of that night, but it’s a memory reserved for only me.

Frank and I had all the time in the world together for the rest of our lives, and we knew that we could leave the next morning at whatever time we wanted. There would be no one telling us to hurry because we had little time to be together.

We had left the Army behind us, forever and we would never think of or speak of Vietnam again.

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  1. Many of us are looking forward to the continued story of two people committed to each other and family

    • Thank you so much Chuck. There are so many fun stories to come and our love continued to grow deeper and deeper.
      God Bless You,

  2. How lovely, Nancy. Your writing is like a warm embrace. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting MaryRae. That day held so many different emotions for us.
      God Bless you.

  3. I’m really behind in reading your blog. I’m still not getting notifications. I love your story here. I can feel the excitement in your words. God bless.

    • Thank you so much Diane. We were so happy to finally be out of the service and start our lives together with new freedom and no more separations.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      God Bless you,

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