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09-Love Letters from Vietnam - Falling Deeper in Love

Updated on June 23, 2015

Link to Complete Index of Letters

Greetings to all "Tim and Kate" Readers:

The letters posted today were each apparently written after a Sunday phone call from Tim in Basic Training at Fort Campbell while Kate, ( i.e. me) was awaitin' back home. Discussion of these letters in the 3rd person seems to facilitate a more analytical discussion, so here goes.

One thing that's striking about the letters that Tim and Kate wrote on the same day after the same phone call is the same emotion! These two are falling more in love as time and a force outside themselves separates them, but each is worried about expressing the intense emotion that they are feeling. Tim apologizes for his "soup-y" letter and Kate is worried that she is "grotesquely sentimental." Of course, they both are soupy and sentimental, but that is the phase they are in, a phase exacerbated by their uncertain future.

Also of note is how often they talk about God and prayer. It's important to remember that these two young people are products of many years of Catholic school and that Kate had considered going into the convent and Tim had been in a high school seminary school before he was "asked to leave". With the passage of years all of our beliefs become examined and refined as did Kate's and Tim's.

22 June 1969

Dear Kate,

It's only been an hour since I talked to you, but now I miss you more than ever. I enjoy so much talking to you, Kate.That's what makes the rest of the week bearable. But after I hang up I feel such an emptiness and need within me. It's at this time I realize how much I love and need you. It's also at this time that the separation is the hardest to bear. I pray that a day will soon come that we need never be separated again. I hope my prayers will be answered. Sometimes I wonder what the most difficult part of basic is: PT, bayonet, hand-to-hand, CBN - No, it's one of these. It's being away from you. I know this letter sounds soupy, but Kate, I love you, so please forgive my feeble attempt to express that love.

We made it half way through, Kate, in four more weeks I should be home. As each week passes, though, the wait becomes more difficult. I know I haven't written very often, but I wrote whenever I could. I hope the separation hasn't affected our relationship. As for me during these weeks, I've come to understand that you must be an integral part of my life if I am to know happiness. I only hope I'm capable of giving you the help, love, and understanding you need.

Got to close for now. The Drill Sergeant has some activities planned for us.



Smothers' Brothers Show Cancelled in 1969

A Bit of History: "Influences On Our Thinking"

The Smothers' Brothers Comedy Show was cancelled in 1969, the year of the letters posted in this Hub. It was edgy and spoke to how we were feeling about the war. I do remember watching the show with my dad, a World War II veteran in the room. I always waited to laugh until I was sure he was ok with me laughing at the parts that criticized the war and Nixon. Of course he might have been following the lead of my feisty anti-war mother to have even allowed himself to laugh at all. It was all so "All In the Family" in our family.

It was fun to learn in a recent documentary of the Smother's Brothers that Steve Martin was one of the lead writers and fascinating to hear the amount of censorship that the network was imposing:

"With the focus of the show having evolved towards a more youth-oriented one, the show became both popular and controversial for those same references to youth culture and the issues that both interested and affected this particular target audience. Three specific targets of satire — racism, the President of the United States, and the Vietnam War — would wind up defining the show's content for the remainder of its run, and eventually lead to its demise."

Picture Credit:

The video above explains the Smothers Brothers view on censorship and contains some of the comedy that helped shaped the process for peace in Vietnam. (If you notice, one of the guests in the beginning of the clip is a very young George Segal, who this season, 2011, is the father in the sitcom on TVland, "Retired at 35".

22 June, 1969

Link to Complete Index of Letters

Dear Tim,

You know, I used to get upset when people would praise Alexander Graham Bell for his work with the telephone and overlook all of his contributions for the field of deaf ed (being a teacher of the deaf and all). But after hearing your voice again today, I'm beginning to think that both of Alex's contributions were equally vital to mankind's well-being and happiness.

It's good things are getting a little better in Basic, Tim. Know what? You even laughed once this time over the phone like you did when you were home.

As much as it seems that I don't understand, I still know that it's difficult in Basic,and from the many times that I think of what you're doing during the day, little snippets of imagination can simulate the feelings of being in a world different from the world "outside." I love you, Tim, and I sense your displeasure and anxieties and worries. It's true that I can never really feel the same feelings you're experiencing now, just as you can't really feel some of the feelings I'm experiencing, but sharing them will make yours a little part of me and mine a little part of yours. Only when we're together again and having experiences of our own for the first time together will we be truly able to share fully.

If I were gifted, I could say all of these things without sounding so grotesquely sentimental. But I'm not, Tim, and this is me and how I have to be.

It's unusually quiet here today. Mom and Dad went up to a place near Oshkosh where they're thinking of buying that land I told you about. The family that Mom babysits for went too because they might keep their trailer on the land. I guess I shouldn't be so selfish, but I love these quiet times at home alone. Maybe it's because so much goes on during the week that the absence of noise and talking is refreshing.

It was fun to hear you say you got KP last week. Guess what job I was assigned to at camp? (cleaning up the kitchen after the kids leave in the afternoon.) The kitchen is just used by the counselors and volunteers, so it's no where near your job. The nicest part about the kitchen job is that everyone congregates there usually when the day is over. Yikes, we discuss everything from the purposes of education to how to make butter frosting, to how to find Sam a wife! Sam is one of our fellow counselors. He is divorced and his wife is remarried. It took us two years to convince Sam that he should go out. The problem is he's Jewish and there aren't many single Jewish girls around, I guess. Well, Sam finally made the breakthrough, but the girl he is interested in lives in New York (a slight problem). Now Sam's biggest worry is how to compose his first letter to her. We're helping him though, so there's no problem!! See why camp is so much fun?

Well, I better start getting ready for tomorrow. The first day that the children come is really something else. So many are new this year that there'll be a lot of confusion, crying, and similar bedlam. I can't wait to see some of the old children and how they've grown. Most of all I'm looking forward to seeing Lonnie. He's my little favorite with Down's syndrome and a "w" for "l" substitution that makes him all the more adorable. Plus Lonnie stutters. He says stuff like, " I, I, I, wost my gwasses, Katy. (He's always wosing his "gwasses"). He's adorable. I'll keep you posted on how the first day goes.

Have a good week, Tim. And please, please, please be careful with all that hand grenade junk and rifles. Remember that the being of Timothy is very precious to me and you best take care of him!

Oh, one more thing. If you do want to call next weekend, Tim, and if you have the chance to, please call collect. Next weekend is my intereset week and besides, I'm going to take it all out in kisses when you come home anyway - so there.

It's well past 3:00 now and the cleaning awaits. We always have problems with that stupid 3:00, don't we.

You can't know how I miss you, Tim - how I ached to tell you about my days how I need your consoling thoughts and encouragement with the problems that crop up. It seems that only you really understand and say the right thing at the right time. I pray that God, in His goodness doesn't change that feeling we shared when we were together, and that He makes us good for each other. I think we both worry about that, don't we. But God is good, Tim and we'll have faith in His will for us.



PS I promise, no dramatics, moralizing, or analyzing next letter. PS (again) Thank you for calling. It was wonderful.


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