Padlock and Key

Posted in Letters After R&R | 12 comments

Letters between Frank and I were finally arriving but at a much slower pace.  Some of our letters were taking over ten days to reach us and out of order.  This made it hard for us to communicate but we were both trying to remain calm until we figure it all out.

The greatest thing for me was knowing that Frank was alright, even if he was a little upset with me for writing every day and asking him why he was not writing.  Actually, he affirmed to me that his friends would write to me if he was hurt.  Frank’s buddies all knew how much we loved each other.

Frank was thinking deeply in his next letter.

August 28, 1971

Dear Nancy,

I love you so very very much my Darling.  I miss you so much.  I feel like a part of me is missing.  Really it is.  The most important part of me was left behind. The part of me that gives my whole life meaning and purpose.  Without this vital piece of me, the rest of my life is meaningless and not even worth living. 

This piece or part of me that is so instrumental in my existence is my dear wife’s love.  With this small four letter word rest the key to me.  This key opens me.  It opens me up and lets loose everything that governs the way I am and the things I accomplish or in all, it makes me, me.

Without this key, I’m like a padlock whose key is lost, I’m completely worthless.  Just like a padlock is no good without that key, I’m worthless without your love.  Now that I’ve had this love I can’t do without it.  I’d rather die than to ever be without it.  You mean just that much to me, Darling.

What I’m trying to say is that I can’t live without you.  I love you too much to be without your love.  I just love you so much, Nancy.  I thank you so very much for loving me.  For choosing me to give the greatest gift to.

Nancy, I have to close for now and get some rest.  I’ve got to be at work at 2:30 am and it’s almost 10:00 pm.  Please keep your wonderful love strong and whenever you get down in the dumps just remember, I love you and I always will.  No matter what happens, my love will always be strong and unwavering.

God bless you and take care of you for me.  I love you so.

All my Love for only You,


P.S.  I love you X 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 = how much I love you.

The letter above is such a special letter.  Frank had a beautiful way of thinking about his love for me and putting that love into words that became engraved on my heart for eternity.  He always thought that he could not express his love for me with a pen on paper but there is no doubt that he definitely could and did.

The next letter is really a short letter but Frank knew how much I worried about him and with the letters being so slow and erratic, he wrote to let me know that he was okay.

August 30, 1971

Dear Nancy,

Hello Honey.  I love you.  I’m sorry that this letter has to be short but I’m so tired.  I’m fighting off sleep now.  These 12×12’s are killing me. 

Lee is leaving tomorrow.  I really feel great for him.  We’re getting short, you know?  Well, we are and I can hardly wait.  Honey, I long to see you and hold you so much.  Our time is coming if we can just be patient.

Honey, I’m sorry, I really am but I have to close.  I know this isn’t much but it’ll let you know that everything’s okay and I’m alright.  I’ll write you a long letter tomorrow afternoon, I promise.

Please be careful and keep loving me as you always have.  God bless you, my Darling.

All My Love,


Frank mentioned to me in the above letter that Lee was leaving the next day.  Lee was Frank’s roommate and best friend.  I detected from Frank’s mention in his letter that he was very happy for Lee to get to go home but a little depressed at losing him to talk to.  They were like brothers.

The mail was not all getting through.  I am not sure how many letters are still out there in Lala land.  There is absolutely no way to know if Frank and I received all of each other’s letters.

Frank had written to me early about letters being taken then used to send spouse’s fake reports of their soldiers deaths or capture.   In the next letter, he is very worried about the letters that are missing from his footlocker, which he had received from me.

August 31, 1971

Dear Nancy,

Well, Hi there Honey.  How’s this day find my wonderful, beautiful, and loving wife?  Wow!  How was that?  I hope it was alright because those three adjectives are among the many, many that fit my feelings toward you to a tee.  I think the one term that sums all these up is the one word, love.  That small word means so much and says so much.  In our case, it means everything

Last night, I promised to write more tonight.  So, here I am writing.  I’d like to apologize for last night’s letter again.  I was just dead and I hope you’ll understand.  I wrote because I hadn’t written the day before and I know you worry, so that’s why I wrote.

Lee left today and I sure hated seeing him go.  I loved that guy like a brother.  He was one of the best friends I ever had.  I’m going to miss having him around but I’m very happy to see him able to get out early.  He hated this Army as much as I do and I’m glad to see him getting out.

Hey, you keep asking about that form from the airlines.  Didn’t you get my letter of about three weeks ago telling you that someone threw that away?  I wrote you and told you about it.  The form was lying on a footlocker in one of your letters and the next afternoon both were gone.  Apparently, someone threw them away.

Something’s happening to my letters.  You don’t seem to be getting all of them.  I’m sorry Honey but I have no way of knowing if you’re getting all my letters or not except by your letters.

Guess what?  I already ordered your birthday presents.  I ordered them early because I want them to get there on time.  Promise me that you won’t open them until your birthday.  I know your curiosity is stronger than you but please fight it just this once.

Tell you what, why don’t you take the packages, when they come in over to your folk’s house or to mine and have them put them up till your birthday.  I want to surprise you for once, please.  And the answer is no, I won’t tell you what’s in them.  HA! HA!

If you get me anything expensive, I’ll shoot you.  Really now, Honey, we can’t afford expensive gifts and still have a honeymoon in California and still be able to live comfortably afterward.  You know you don’t have to prove your love to me.  That’s one thing I’m very confident in.  Just get me a card and write “I love you” on the inside and I’ll be happy.  Very happy.

Honey, I love you so much.  Just thinking about you gives me such a wonderful warm feeling.  When I get out I’m going to make you the happiest and most loved woman in the world.  My goal in life is to bring you happiness and joy.  I love hearing you laugh and enjoy yourself.  It makes me feel so good to know you’re happy.

Honey, I live for you and you alone.  What more can I say?  You’re just my entire life and it’s such a wonderful life having you as my wife.  I love you.  I love you.  I love you.

I’ve got to close now.  I get so wound up trying to convey so much more feeling to you than I can write down.  Please, Please take care of yourself for me, Darling.  I pray for you and for our love to be everlasting.  God bless you, my love. I love you so very much.

All of my Love to my Wife,


P.S.  I love you, Nancy.

From the letter above it is quite obvious that I never received all of his mail.

Frank is very upset at the end of this next letter.  He starts off okay then his mood changes drastically.  He is not feeling well.  They did not have balanced meals to eat and most of the time there was little water to drink.  There was probably a bigger abundance of beer than water.

When I got this letter, I was extremely worried about him.  I’ll just let you read it for yourself.

September 3, 1971

Dear Nancy,

I love you, Darling with every breath I take or every thought I think, you’re there.  I’d rather feel this depressed feeling and this awful loneliness that is almost continually surrounding me than never have known the wonder of loving you.

Nancy, you’ve given me the greatest gift that life has.  You’ve given me yourself.  Wholly and completely.  I could ask for nothing more from you.  You’ve given me everything that you possibly could and believe me, Darling, I treasure your gift and I could never ever want for more. Just sharing your life is more than enough for me.

If you could just imagine how much I love you, Nancy.  I just can’t live without our love and my love is nothing if you aren’t there loving me.  Just knowing that you’re back in the world waiting and loving me means everything to me.  Just keep loving me and never doubt my love for you because it’s the strongest part of me and I guarantee that nothing can defeat it or make it weak.

I’ve been so frustrated the past three days.  I just wanted to tear something up.  I’m so up tight inside.  I’m sorry I’m so upset but my nerves are shot and my temper is too short.  I’ve changed so much since I’ve gotten back.  This place is not nice anymore.  We’re living like animals.  The shitter is about five feet from my hootch and the mud, rain, and everything else.

I’m not easy going anymore.  I fight at the drop of a hat.  I’ve been passing blood in my stools for a couple of weeks now and it hurts like hell.  I want to get the hell out of here and become a human again.  Seems like I’m nothing but a mess of problems, huh?  I’m not.  Everything’s ok.  I’m just tired and mad about stupid stuff. 

Only 134 days to go. I’m sorry, I’ve used some words I’ve said and I’m sorry I dropped all my problems on you.  I’m just not myself at times and I look for something to lean on and you’re the only person I can open up to.  You’re more concerned and considerate about me and my feelings than anyone in the world.

I feel so much older and grown-up than others my age and I married a mature woman who’s been through so much hell and trials and still, she has faith and strength to carry on.  I don’t believe other women could take what you’ve taken and still stand by their husbands’ side and be ready to take more.

You’re the greatest, Nancy and I love you so very much.  Nancy, don’t pay any attention to my complaining about this place because I’m rather depressed and I say things I don’t mean to say.  Please love me and keep me forever in your heart because you’re all that I have and all that I’d ever want.

God bless you, my Darling and I’ll be seeing you soon.  All my love is yours, Nancy, if you want it and even if you don’t, it still belongs to only you.

And Love will Conquer all,


P.S.  Smile for me.  Can you?  I see it.  I’m smiling now for you because I can see you and feel your love for me just glowing

This letter was very shattering to me.  Frank was so depressed and sick.  Also, his best friend, Lee had left.

We had known Lee in Okinawa and it was very comforting for me to know that he was there with Frank.  I knew that Lee would let me know, as soon as he could if something happened to Frank, but now I did not know the soldiers around Frank.

Something was going on over there and I did not know what it was.  The mail had gotten twice as slow or not getting out or getting totally lost.  I prayed that God would go and help Frank.  Frank was my heart and soul, I could not and would not lose him.


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  1. Nice to read your posts again. To read his letters and note he has gone from calling you Lou to Nancy again, and knowing his location and job over there its not at all surprising that the NVA would do anything possible to add stress to their lives

    • Thank you for reading Kim. He was very upset in the last letter but in the chapter I am typing now he apologizes over and over. The NVA were all around them but he won’t tell me that for a few more letters which I found out by rereading ahead.
      His best buddy had left so he openly confided in me.
      Thanks for noticing he has gone calling me, Nancy again. He is very serious when he does that.
      God Bless you, Kim

  2. Thank you for posting another letter from your dear Frank. Reading your posts, it is as if he is still very much the soldier who cannot wait to get home to his beloved wife. These letters, poignant and honest, reveal his innermost feelings and frustrations, but also his undying love for his wife, which is timeless.

    I can visualize some tears, too, from time to time as you revisit that very special season in your life that you were blessed to share with him.


    • Thank you, Kiki for your comment.
      Yes, he was a good soldier and his undying love for me and mine for him was what truly got us through those months.
      His best friend had just left and he needed to talk to me very openly about his feelings in the last letter.
      In a letter in the chapter I am working on now, he will apologize over and over, then in a letter to come he will tell me more about what was going on around them.
      Tears do flow often as I type but I really think his written words are important to others.
      God Bless you, Kiki.

  3. More wonderful insights into Frank’s heart for you. I imagine he was a very conscientious man in all areas of life. It is beautiful that he allowed himself to feel those emotions, but even greater is the fact that he was free to write those feelings down even when he thought his words were not adequate. It says a lot about him. By the way, I finally received a notification for this post–the first in quite a while. I must check to see if I have missed any previous posts. God bless.

    • Thank you so much Diane. I really appreciate your comment. Lots going on around Frank but he is letting it out in his letters and I am do glad he did.

  4. Frank’s letters show how much he loved you and what a good man he was.

    Reading his letters reminds me of the frustration I felt doing my military service at the same time. I was lucky, after my initial 9 months training I was only away for 6 weeks at a time.

    Thank you for sharing Nancy.

    • Thank you so much Peter. I l9ve the padlock and key letter. Frank was a very deep thinker and he never thought he could express himself on with pen and paper but he certainly could and did.
      Thank you so much fir reading and commenting.
      God Bless you,

  5. BTW… you do know that Ray LaMontagne spent a lot of years in my neighborhood? I used to coach at Buckfield Jr/Sr high school when he lived there.

    • Really? I did not know that. I love his songs. How cool is that?
      God Bless you,

  6. I wasn’t prepared for this. Stunning. So heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much, Phil. Frank is writing some fantastic letters. He is opening up to me more and more. After he came home on R&R, he just knew that I needed to know everything. Sometimes men are afraid to be this open but he knew that it just made us deeper and deeper into being one with each other.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it.
      God Bless You,

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