Two Weeks of Heaven

Posted in Letters After R&R | 6 comments

Standing in our living room, holding the phone to my ear, then hearing Frank’s voice saying he loved me, was surreal.

For the first time in six months, I was actually talking to Frank, and it felt like it was all a dream.  How had he called me?  Where was he?

It took only seconds before Frank answered all of my questions with his next words, “Nancy, I am in California, and I am fixing to get on a flight to Houston.  Wanna come and pick me up at the Houston airport?”

I was fighting back the tears, holding back squealing loudly, and smiling from ear to ear all at one time, but I managed to tell him, “You betcha, I do!  I love you so much.”

Frank told me his flight number, and what time he would be landing in Houston, then we laughed and talked together like a couple of giddy kids until Frank’s flight number was called.  Neither of us wanted to be the first to hang up the phone, so we told each other how much we loved each other, and we decided to count to three together then hang up at the same time.

After we hung up, I was so excited that I decided to call my folks, wake them up, then tell them that Frank was coming home and I would shortly be heading to the airport in Houston.

Since it was an hour and a half trip to the airport, I quickly jumped into the shower then got dressed.  Gosh, it felt like I was in a dream.  I kept pinching myself but definitely not wanting to wake up if it was just a dream.  I was trying to fix my hair, but I kept jumping up and down from my excitement and looking up at the ceiling, saying, “Thank you, God!  Thank you, God!”.

Finally, I was ready to leave the house and drive to the airport in Houston.   I was so excited that while driving, I was laughing, squealing, and fidgeting in the seat a little, might want to make that a lot!

I arrived at the airport close to the time that Frank’s plane would be landing.  After parking the car, I literally ran to the entrance of the terminal.  As much as I had come to hate being at the airport, this time, I was actually picking up my heart and soul, my “Dimples.”

Just as Frank’s plane landed, I made it to the gate where Frank would unload the plane.  My heart was beating so fast.  In only minutes I would see him walk down that ramp tunnel into the room.  I kept looking into the tunnel to catch a glimpse of him, then there he was smiling ear to ear!

When Frank exited the tunnel I ran towards him, he dropped his bag, I jumped into his arms, and as we kissed, he held me tightly as we rotated round and round.  Just being able to physically touch each other was indescribable.  Frank placed me gently back on the ground but never let go of my hand as he picked up his bag.

Frank had only brought the one carry on bag home with him, so we did not have to go to the baggage claim.  We ran holding hands to the car and left the airport.  Frank drove, and I was his “shotgun” in the Super Beetle.  Frank had his arm around me as I tried to sit as close to him as those bucket seats would allow.  I was practically sitting in his lap.  It seemed we just couldn’t get close enough to each other.

Frank told me that he tried to be strong and think about our future after getting out of the Army and not spending the money to take an R&R, but he just couldn’t do it.  He decided saving money was not worth it because he needed to see me, and I needed to see him.  Of course, I totally agreed with him.

We decided to stop at a restaurant to eat breakfast, and we each ordered the biggest breakfast they could fit on a platter.  We had fried eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, grits, gravy, jelly, hash browns, and orange juice with lots of coffee on the side.  Frank told me that he thought he was in Heaven, eating all of that good food.

Frank looked so tired, but he was smiling from ear to ear.  It had been a very long flight from Vietnam to Texas with lots of stops along the way.  He was also very tan, which was so different for my redhead with freckles.

Frank noticed fairly quickly how thin I had gotten and told me he would have to see about fattening me up while he was home, and I think it was already working because I ate every piece of food on the plates the waitress brought out to our table.

It seemed like every worry in the world has just been taken from me, and from Frank’s smile, I knew he felt the same way.  We finished eating breakfast then headed to Van Vleck to our little white frame house.  It was still dark outside as we pulled up to our home.

Once we got inside the house,  Frank asked me if we had hot water because he wanted to take a hot shower and get Vietnam off of his skin.  I told him that we definitely did have hot water.  Frank took off his uniform, then went into the bathroom.  I hung up his uniform and got some of his civies for him to wear.

Frank yelled from the bathroom, “Lou, do we have any guy soap?”

I went into the bathroom and opened the cabinet to get out his favorite soap then went to the shower curtain to give Frank the soap.  Frank grabbed my hand and pulled me into the shower, fully clothed!  I could not help but laugh, standing in that shower, getting soaking wet in my clothes.  Of course, Frank was laughing from the moment he grabbed my hand and pulled me into that shower.

His next words were, “I can’t reach my back, so I thought like a good wife, you would want to wash it for me.”

I told him, “Of course, that’s what you were thinking, Dimples.”

About eight o’clock that morning, we decided to drive to Bay City to let my work know that I would not be there for a couple of weeks.  I really did not care how they reacted because no matter what, I would not work one day while Frank was home.   It ended up that they were very excited to meet him, and they had no problem with me being off.

After that, Frank and I returned to our home to take a nap.  It had been a long night with so many beautiful emotions, and we were exhausted.  There are no words for the feeling of having Frank hold me while we fell asleep.  It had been six long months since we had held and laid so close to each other, but suddenly it felt like it had only been yesterday.  A feeling that is unforgettable forever.

Of course, we saw Frank’s folks and mine that day, but I don’t remember the exact sequence of the afternoon.  It seems the main thing I remember was being with Frank and holding his hand in mine tightly.

The next day,  Frank and I traveled to Hico, Texas, where they were holding the Blakley Family Reunion, which was always held near the 4th of July.  We visited with so many kinfolks there then we returned to Van Vleck the next day.

Frank and I made that trip he had mentioned in his letter to the beach one night and walked hand in hand next to the water.  It was a beautiful night, and the water was like glass softly rippling to the sand on the shore.   We put a blanket on the sand then talked for hours sitting there in the moonlight.  We had so much to talk about.   We had missed just being able to talk and dream together.

Time was passing too fast, but we were trying to not think about the day that Frank would have to leave to go back to Vietnam.  We wanted to make every second we had together count, but it was always in the back of our minds that he would have to leave to go back.

We spent a lot of time listening to music on our Reel to Reel. Sometimes we would place a blanket on the floor and eat fruit, cheese, summer sausage, and crackers while we listened to music.  Sometimes we would slow dance together around the living room, holding each other tightly. We needed to hold each other as much as possible, and for as long as possible, so the feeling would stay with us for the months of separation ahead.

The day before Frank was to leave to go back to Vietnam, he and I went to see a movie called “Love Story.”  He had asked me in a letter to read the book, but I had not done it yet, so we went to see the movie.  That was a terrible mistake because I cried for an hour.  Frank did not know that it would affect me so strongly, was devasted, and apologized for taking me to see it but I told him that in the movie it was said, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” Seeing how upset that Frank was at my crying, I dried my tears and realized that I had to show him how strong I could be.

Early on the morning of July 15, 1971,  Frank and I returned with others to the airport in Houston.  This is the only time that I do not remember saying goodbye to Frank.  I do not know why, but I think it was, I chose to forget it.  I do remember thinking when Frank was home that God had let him live to come home to see me again, but I was afraid it was because Frank would not live to come home again.

Once Frank got back to Vietnam, we would start over the whole process of waiting for letters from each other.

The first letter I received from Frank was written on July 15, 1971.  The airline had put him up for the night in the Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong.


July 15, 1971

Dearest Nancy,

Hi Honey.  Well, I made it this far.  I got into Hong Kong about 9:00 pm tonight, and Pan Am sent me over to this hotel.  I’ll stay the night and get up at 6:00 am and leave the hotel at 7:15 am.  Breakfast is included as well as transportation. 

Pretty nice of them, I thought.  I figured I had to sleep in the airport because I sure wasn’t going to pay for a place to stay. Everything has gone fine so far. 

I’m about worn out from so much flying and sitting and a cold I got from somewhere that has gone to my ears and making me very miserable, isn’t helping either. HA!

Nancy, I want to tell you one more time how much I loved the few days that we had together.  I love you so much, Darling, and every moment with you was a blessing.  I miss your warmth and love so much already.

Nancy, there are so many things that I wanted to say to you and do for you that didn’t get said or done.  I guess these things you feel without me having to say them or do them. I feel we have such an understanding and devoted love.  That’s the way it should be. 

I love you, Nancy, and I hope you realize that and treasure my love as I treasure yours. I have to close now because it’s late and also I’m getting kind of very sad.  I miss you, my Darling, and love you so very much.  Take care of yourself because you belong to me.  OK? OK!

All my love for you, my Wife,


I know I cried when I got the above letter.  We were not meant to be separated, but we knew we had survived the first six months, and we would be even stronger for the next six months.  We were two hearts beating as one with a love for each other that could not be broken but would grow stronger and stronger because it was eternal.

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  1. Dang Nancy…squeezed my heart there. My Lovely goes away for a week and I’m a basket case so I know that feeling. When love grows like that she’s taught me that it’s me learning to love me….what a gift…beautiful writing…

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting Dale. I am so glad your wife has taught you that you have to love yourself. I believe that God really gave you a Beautiful gift when he gave you your wife.
      God Bless You Both,

  2. You have such a talent to describe reality and the wonderful feeling of true love. I have shared your story with several “younger” people and they are hooked

    • Thank you so much Chuck. This was a difficult chapter for me to write.
      Thank you for sharing and all you do.
      God Bless You,

  3. Oh my gosh!!!! I’m tearing up and holding back a sob that wants to burst out!!!!! Ok, now tears rolling down cheeks. Mercy!

    This was beautiful.. Perfect.


    • Thank you so much Theresa. You’re words mean so much to me. You and Lloyd knew us so well and we all had so much fun together.
      Thank you for commenting and your Beautiful support.
      God Bless You Two and I love you very much,

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