23-Love Letters from Vietnam: Tim Gets First Audio Tape from Kate
3 September, 1969
I received your surprise yesterday while I was on KP. During mail call, I was given two letters from you and a mysterious little box. It's always good to get a letter from you, and the cartoon and card lightened this poor KP's spirit. I would have been perfectly content if it wasn't for the fact that I was curious as to what was on the tapes. But I was in luck. When I got back to the barracks I discovered that one of the fellows in my room had a tape recorder, complete with private ear-phones. It was great, Kate!
It seemed that you, Matt and Anne*, and your mother were enjoying yourselves and I was enjoying your enjoyment. For a while I forgot I was away from my friends and the girl I love. Thanks again, Kate. It meant a lot to me.
The prose that you sprinkle your letters with, Kate, is vivid and beautiful. I did understand what you meant, Kate. I know that you're not capable of changing your ideals, and I love and respect you for it. But then again, I'll always love and respect you.
I've got to close now; it's getting late. Give my regards to your family, and I hope your mother is feeling well soon.
P.S. Thank again, my love.
*a diagram of the cast of "characters" and their relationship to Tim and Kate is found in the index of letters.
Toll of war: Broken hearts, marriages for Marines
- Toll of war: Broken hearts, marriages for Marines | 89.3 KPCC
"The Marines fighting in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province are facing a tough Taliban insurgency. They're also facing the strain of separation from fiancees, wives and kids."
Marriage Before Deployment?
For an Index of All of the Tim and Kate Letters, click here.
August 19, 2009
Turning on the radio can be a very serendipitous experience sometimes, can't it? I was driving in the car today and clicked on to our local NPR station. An audio interview of Marines in Afghanistan (linked below Tim's letter in the right column) was being played on "All Things Considered". It's an excellent little piece and fits perfectly into the "Love Letters from Vlietnam" Hubs. I was stuck by the officer's comment stating that he tries to discourage couples from marrying before deployment. In 1969, I had met my husband-to-be only 6 months before he went into the Army. Of course, we were madly in love, and we wanted to be married before he left for Vietnam (ah, the romance of it all, you know.) I would have changed nothing about our decision, but still I wonder about our outcome of our lives if we had chosen otherwise.
Relationships - War or No War
There are always superfluous reasons why people "fall in" or "out" of love. Actually, maybe the falling in or out part is always caused by reasons outside of actual love and are related to where, on life's timeline, we have landed or where fate itself has flung us. Perhaps we just finished high school and are afraid of taking on four years of college. Perhaps a parent is ill or has just passed away and we reach outward to ease the pain. Maybe we're at the 40 year notch on our time line; or as in the case of the young soldier, maybe we're marching off to frightening war a half a world away.
Surely we wouldn't change the "falling in" part, no matter what the subconscious reason. It's that magical time when we first realize that someone outside of our family loves everything about us - a time, in fact, that some have defined as heaven itself. But the question remains: Would we feel the same way about the person with whom we're falling in love outside of the critical life circumstance that is happening to us simultaneously?
Ha! And you thought I had an answer! I don't, except to say, particularly in case of the "falling out" aspect, a person must take an honest, analytical look at the circumstances surrounding his or her feelings of falling out of love with one person and in love with another. And if there are children involved, it's imperative that one does examine the circumstances. In one tragic situation of divorce that I know of, the wife's parents both passed away within a year of each other through cancer. Her reaction? She decided that it was her marriage to a wonderful man that wasn't working. The effects of that decision were catastrophic to the husband and the children who now were left with the angst of divorce.
So after all is said and done, I guess I do have advice. It's not the advice of a psychologist or psychiatrist, but from a mere observer of life. With that caveat in mind, I would say to you, dear reader, that if you are in love (or falling out of love for that matter)...wait. Wait until the life circumstance - your midlife crisis, your fear of a new job or school, your hurt over a recent breakup - has passed. Remember that water turns to steam when it's boiled, If you fall in love with the steamy part, you have to weigh whether or not you'll still be in love when the relationship condenses on the cold window of normalcy. It is when we see a substance in all forms and with and without extraneous outward pressures that we understand nature of the substance. Perhaps the same is true of people.
Having said all of that, having advised on waiting through life's circumstances, would I have changed one thing during this time with Tim? I'm sure that you, dear Reader, know exactly how I'd answer.