Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Christmas Letters from Vietnam

Today is my parents’ anniversary. They were married on December 21, 1954. Now, they are together again in heaven. In memory of my parents, I’m sharing two of the many letters my dad wrote from Vietnam. They are slightly edited to remove items about other people.

Dec. 25, 1966  From the Republic of Vietnam

My Dearest Wife,

You have made my Christmas much better. I received ten letters from you and a Christmas card. I was feeling real blue til mail call and you came through like always. I also received a card from (his niece). We will get paid on the 6th of Jan. and I’ll send you a check for $250. This should help you some. We get paid once a month and from now on, I’ll be able to send you a check. I went to church twice today, first to Roman Catholic and then to protestant. I also received communion. I prayed each time as I do at night for God to give you strength, health, and happiness. I also thanked God for my wonderful wife and family. I love you with all my heart and will forever. We had turkey, corn, powdered mash potatoes, nuts, and candy today for dinner, but it tasted rotten. They did try however, and I guess I should be thankful for that.

We’ve had rain again for three days, but it stopped at 1:00 pm. The mud is about six inches deep and it’s getting cloudy again. It’s 8:00 pm (2000) and I go on watch at 10:00 to midnight. ….. Please try not to worry too much about me. I won’t be foolish, I love you too much. Please tell our wonderful children I love them and give everyone my best. Remember, I love only you and our family and live for you. May God Bless you.

All my Love, Forever Your Husband, Jim.

December 27, 1966 from Republic of Vietnam

Darling Betty Ann,

It rained all Christmas night and yesterday too. It’s been raining all day today and hard. I hope I don’t have to go any place. It’s now 2pm. We were real busy yesterday and last night so I didn’t have time to write. So for today, it hasn’t been too bad….There sure are a lot of rumors going around but nothing certain. One is that we are supposed to go back to Okinawa soon, but like I say, it’s not fact. A lot of people start rumors just in hopes they will come true. I am going to enclose envelopes  that you may be able to use again as the stamp was not cancelled.

I sure do miss you honey. We have a radio in my bunker and all I ever hear is Christmas carols. I just sit and think about you and the children. I love you my darling and always will. I know things seem unbearable, but it will all come out in the end. As long as we have our love, we can endure anything this world has to offer.  I just want you honey and no one else will do. You’ll always be my only love….. I  guess I am not worth much to you right now, but I’ll do all I can to make it up to you when I get home. Lover, I want to hold you again in my arms so bad that I could cry just to dream about you. You are the greatest and most wonderful woman God ever created, and I love you, oh how I love you, forever and ever.  Please give my best to all and tell our wonderful children I love them. May God bless you all.

All my Love, Forever Your Husband, Jim.

My favorite photo of my mom and dad – 1960 Newfoundland Canada. That’s me on the left.
Dad in Vietnam
Post retirement photo of Mom and Dad on the road with Frannie


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Love Letters From My Father

Dad with Baby mk and me (2)

 That’s me on the right, just in case you couldn’t tell.

After my father died, I found letters he’d written to me over the years and saved, like a journal, hidden in the old cabinet he used as an end table next to his recliner. I’m still processing the content of these letters. One of them is about why he didn’t come to my rescue when I wanted to come home from the college in the mountains.

This excerpt from my work in progress explains:

On my second day in Boone, before classes started, my roommate and I went to a pub not far from campus. I recognized Chris, a super brainy girl from my high school who’d already been at the college for a year. She waved to me and invited us to sit with her. My roommate saw some people she knew and went to sit with them. Chris made me feel welcome, and I started to feel comfortable with her. Maybe the beer helped. She asked me how I was doing.

“Well, I’m a little nervous,” I admitted.

“That’s normal. It’ll get better.”

“And I miss my boyfriend. I’m actually thinking of going back home.”

Chris looked thoughtful. “You know, you’ve got your whole life to go to college,” she said. “If you want to go home, it’s okay. It’s your decision.”

I was surprised by her response. I’d expected her to encourage me to stay. If this brainiac said it was okay to go home, then who was I to fight it any longer?

I called my parents and said I wanted to come home. Having just driven seven hours each way to bring me there a couple of days earlier, Dad refused to come get me. He didn’t say much, leading me to guess he was disgusted or at least disappointed.

Being stubborn, I managed to find another way home, but that’s another part of the story.

Fast forward to 43 years later when I read my Dad’s secret letters last week. One his letters revealed that the reason they didn’t come get me was because their old station wagon had a blow out on their trip home and left him “without a spare.” He wrote in Jan 2011: “Money was very short and, we had very little in the bank, and almost nothing on hand. I would have to have gotten permission from work…We also thought about what you were giving up….I have to admit my love for you was and still is a factor. After we made our decision not to come up, we went to bed, but I don’t think either one of us slept that night. The decision bothered us for years and we talked about it for even more years, even after you were married….I still felt guilty.”

I had no idea that money was a problem back then! I figured it was all about not wanting to bail me out when I should have stayed. I thought it was just because he was mad at me. I’ve carried that shame for years. And all this time, HE felt guilty for not coming to get me. I knew my parents loved me, but I didn’t know how much until I read these letters full of love.

Ive always wanted my father to be proud of me, even when I resented him. Even when I didn’t like his conservative beliefs. Even when I avoided him. I still, deep down, wanted him to be proud of me.

And what I’m finding out from his secret love letters is that he was.

love letters from dad (2)

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