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25-Love Letters from Vietnam: The Ring Thing

Updated on March 25, 2011

What WAS This Letter About?

Dear Reader,

I may be as confused as you are reading this letter. Not being able to read the lost letters that I sent to Tim nor having a photographic (or let's say "audiographic") memory of our phone conversations, I can only put the pieces of this letter together with my inperfect memory to understand the true meaning of all the ring business.

You'll have to trust me when I say I know I never mentioned a ring to Tim. However, the whole "what do we do about our intensity of emotion when he's home on leave again" was playing heavily on my mind and on Tim's. The "sorrow" that he speaks of is the angst over the pre-marital sex decision - as in mostly my decision as to not go there! (It seems so silly now, but I do understand that we had convictions shaped by our upbringing, which probably were not all that mis-guided. All I can say about abstinance now is that age brings wisdom.)

So in our discussions on the phone that kept going to this place that we both worried about, it seems to me that Tim mentioned wanting to buy "a ring," but feeling he was not in a place to do so. Therein begins the discussion of presumptions. I didn't want to presume he was talking about an engagement ring after he mentioned a ring. And after I stated that, he didn't want to presume that I would want an engagment ring. There was a whole lot of fear of presumptions it seems at this point in spite of the fact that we had already talked about two-story houses and "looking at each other as marrige partners." (Tim's "romantic" way of defining our relationship.)

I do remember that throughout this time, deep in my heart, I worried that his enlisting on some level might have been wanting a way to slow down our relationship. His letters kept assuring me by their quantity and deep emotion that this was not the case. In reality, however, my self-esteem was not such that I would easily believe that I could be loved so well by someone I had so passionately loved. It is all about the belief in oneself, isn't it?

 For a List of All of the Tim and Kate Letters, click here.

7 September, 1969

Dear Kate,

Well, here I am at E-2. In short, it's a disaster area. The place was built in the same year as B-7, but there is no comparison. The barracks haven't been kept up at all. It's dingy, dirty, drab, depressing, and any other "d" I can think of. Remember I told you of the four guys that I roomed with in B-7 that I wanted to get away from? Well, I'm stuck with them again, and to compound my sorrow, the Army made one of them squad leader! At the present time, I'm morose, but I'll get used to it. However, the thought that I'm capable of becoming accustomed to a place like this seems to be an insult.

I hope your weekend has been more pleasant and fruitful for you. I was happy to hear that Day One of school was a good experience for you. I hoped it would be.

I want to thank you for your understanding and unselfishness concerning the ring, but it is something I'd like to do. Maybe I'm the one who's being presumptuous, Kate. For I'm directing all my efforts toward our marriage. During the course of our relationship as my love, need, admiration, and respect for you grew, I knew that you were the woman I wanted to share my life with to give it meaning and purpose. Maybe I'm the one who's being presumptuous in thinking I can be the one who can give you waht you need. I hope and pray that I can. I'm bound to you, Kate. But I'm trapped by circumstances. When I ask you to marry me, I want to be able to offer you a comfortable life and a secure life - not to be separated from you, but to take joy from your every breath. I hope that time will soon come. I can't ask you to wait, but I hope with all my strength that you do.

From my love and need for you came my want and desire for you. I love you completely, Kate. Sometimes that has given us much sorrow. I hope you can forgive me, Kate. I hope you can love and respect me. As for me, I'll always love, need, respect, admire and want you.




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