Rope Knot and Bivouac

Posted in Love Letters | 2 comments

We 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 with love for us that was so evident.

We felt Him surround us every day. He had given us, the greatest gift, true love for each other

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 the money for food with a little extra to put in a savings account, which we would need to get our things shipped home then buy my airline ticket home.

Early December 1968, Frank was also told that he would go on bivouac for a week at Fort Devens, and he received his orders for transfer to his next assignment, which would be at Torii Station in Okinawa.   Okinawa was one of the Ryukyu Islands in the Pacific Ocean, which had been a territory of the United States since WWII.  Frank would also receive a thirty-day leave after he finished the bivouac training to go home to visit our families before he flew to Okinawa.

With a heavy heart, I gave notice to the Manager at the Factory where I worked. It was a sweet goodbye to the wonderful people that I had worked with, but they all wished Frank and “Texas” many blessings in our future travels when I left work that last day there were a lot of tears.

While Frank was out on bivouac, I packed all of our things into the two huge barrels that we had shipped them into Ayer, Massachusetts.  This would prove to be an adventurous week and with another fun story to tell.  Enjoy!

“Rope Knot and Bivouac”

Frank had to go on a “little camping” trip called bivouac at Fort Devens for a week of the last ten days that we lived in Ayer, Massachusetts.  Before Frank left, he instructed me over and over with things that he did not want me to do while he was gone. 

“Don’t go outside after dark.  Don’t open the door to anybody whose voice you do not recognize. Don’t lift heavy stuff or hurt yourself. Keep the doors closed and locked.  Don’t tell anyone I am away on bivouac. Don’t talk to the landlord, Ever!”

Frank was such a worrywart.

Well, I knew that his last “Don’t”  would be very easy for me because I would never talk to the landlord, but the others were iffy.  I promised Frank that all would be great and that I had lots of packing to do to keep me out of trouble.  Frank smiled as he told me he loved me,  hugged me tightly then kissed me at the door.  I closed and locked the door then as I walked away,  I heard a knock at the door.  I opened the door, and there stood Frank smiling then he asked, “Did you ask who was at the door when I knocked?”

I started laughing, then told him, “No, I didn’t ask who was at the door because I knew you would come back for one more kiss.”

Frank rolled his eyes at me and smiled, showing his amazing dimples then said, “Nancy Lou, you need to do what I told you.”

Frank kissed me again but, of course, to not be outdone I asked him, ” I need to know something, are you gonna knock on the door again after I close it because if you are, I won’t have to ask who is there?”

Laughing, Frank said, “Only if I decide to come back to give you a spanking Nancy Lou!”

He kissed me again then closed the door, but as I locked the door, I heard him say from the other side of the door, “I love you, Nancy.” then he quickly walked away and down the stairs.

Suddenly the room felt very empty and lonely.  I stood there a few moments staring at the door and missing Frabj already.  Realizing I had lots to do, which would make the time pass quicker, so I got busy taking things out of the cabinets to start wrapping them up with towels or paper to pack them into the barrels.

The day after Frank left for bivouac, it started to snow in Ayer, Massachusetts.  The snow was absolutely beautiful, so I bundled up in some warm clothing then went out the back door, down the fire escape, to walk in the snow. Having lived in the Panhandle of Texas from age two until twelve, I had played in lots of snow.  After spending about thirty minutes outside walking around while it snowed and holding my head back, letting snowflakes fall on my tongue, I decided to go back up the stairs to the apartment.

I pulled the door to close it behind me because, like a door that went to a fire escape, it swung open to the outside. Evidently, I must have pulled it a little harder than usual since the doorknob broke, came off in my hand, and the knob on the other side of the door fell on to the balcony.  I picked it up then brought both doorknobs inside the kitchen.

Dagnabit!  All I could think of as I looked at that doorknob was one of Frank’s “Don’t dos,”  which was, “Don’t talk to the Landlord!” After examing the doorknobs, I could tell that the doorknobs were not fixable. The one doorknob didn’t just come off in my hand, but the rod had broken, which went through the door that then attached them.

It was getting dark outside, so I had to decide how to fix the door to keep it closed and secure.  I found some rope that Frank and his buddy had used to tie down one of the barrels to the top of his buddy’s car when we moved to town.

After putting one end of the rope through the hole in the door, I brought it around to the inside, passing by the doorframe, then placed it into my hand, which held the other end of the rope.  Next,  I pulled the door closed, squeezing the rope between the door and the doorframe until it was shut tightly then I tied knot after knot tightly against closed door and doorframe.

I stepped back and decided that nobody could get into the apartment but then noticed that there was still a hole that the doorknob had covered which light would shine through, so I decided to take some fall (Texan for foil) and stuff the hole with it then I smiled thinking how the problem had been solved. Of course, I would not be able to use the back door, but I didn’t care.  Later, I pulled the mattress off of the bed, carried it into the kitchen, and slept next to the back door just as an extra precaution.

Finally, the days passed, our things were all packed in the barrels, but most importantly, Frank came home.  He looked exhausted and had a nasty cold.  I asked him what had happened out there on bivouac and when he told me I wanted to scream.  It seems that they were playing a few war games with objectives to accomplish certain things without getting caught by the people declared as the enemy.

Okay, that was fine with me, but it seems the “enemy” included some drunk “tramp” officer’s wives who got to do the interrogations which included stuffing snow down the front of the captured soldier’s pants, sticking two wires in the snow which were attached to a hand crank generator, then cranked the dang thang until the soldier talked.  I was so mad that I couldn’t breathe.  No other woman was allowed to touch my husband like that, ever. Nancy Lou was seeing red and not a “happy camper.”

Hand Crank Generator

Hand Crank Generator

After catching my breath, I asked Frank if he got caught.  Frank told me that after the first soldier got captured, they re-released him back to their base camp when the word spread of what had happened to him, they all decided that they were not going to get caught whatever it took.  Frank spent one night covered under snow in a shallow stream after hearing the enemy getting close, but he said they finally overtook the enemy and achieved their objectives.

While Frank took a hot shower, I fixed him some warm soup and stewed a little bit myself about those bivouac “tramps.”  After he ate, I tucked him into bed then laid down beside him, hugging him tightly to keep him warm until he fell asleep.  I didn’t fall to sleep right away because my mind wouldn’t let me quit thinking about those drunk bivouac “tramps.”

The next morning, Frank asked me about the back door with the rope tied through it.  I told him what had happened and he started laughing then he walked over to the door, pushed on it, and it opened wide up. I had this shocked look on my face as Frank started laughing and told me, “Nancy Lou, I think you needed more knots in that rope.”

I followed most of the “Don’ts” that Frank told me, of course, I warned you some might be “iffy.”  One thing that would never be “iffy” was the love we had so deep in our hearts and souls for each other.


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  1. Fun story, Nancy. You did seem to get into a lot of scrapes. 🙂 But you know how to see the funny side most of the time. Except for those drunk bivouac “tramps”. Great story.

    • We were always getting into something. I always see the funny side first but you are right this drunk bivouac tramps were lucky they didn’t touch my husband. It still makes me upset just thinking about them. Lol
      Thank you for reading and commenting Diane.
      God Bless You,

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