Letters from a young soldier to his 16-year old sister… edited by Pam Horter-Moore
November 10, 1962, from Fort Knox, Kentucky:
Dear little sister,
Where are all these letters from you and your friends that I was promised before I left?
If I don’t start receiving many in a hurry, I’m going to practice bayonet training on you when I get home. Time is no excuse. I pulled better than 16 hours KP today without a break, still have too much work to complete, and yet find time to drop you a few lines.
I received a letter from Kay today but am not writing until I get quite a few more. Well, that’s enough about her.
Where were you when I called last Sunday? What are you trying to do? Forget I’m your brother? I wouldn’t take you out on a date anyhow.
Love to all,
February 8, 1963, from Fort Knox, Kentucky:
When I said you couldn’t drive my car, I meant alone or with your friends such as you were planning with Betsy. Anytime Mum, (Uncle) Lee, (Aunt) Delores or someone such as this will go with you, it is perfectly fine with me, but without one of the afore mentioned, you will not, I repeat, will not use the car. As for having my chance, don’t forget I had the Chevy when I was 14 or 15 and still after I received my permit, didn’t go out unless Grandpap, Mum, (Uncle) Lee or (Aunt) Delores were along.
I clue you in: try to get (Uncle) Lee or (Aunt) Delores to take you out as they are not as apprehensive as Mum behind the wheel and will do a good job of teaching you the correct driving procedure.
If you didn’t deserve that “F” from Buck, have Mum tell him what’s for. If you did, that’s tough. You said I understand how school is. Well, you never went to school until you went to one of (Uncle) Sam’s own.
Who did Daryl marry? I knew he was dating this girl and quite a few more. So why don’t you have Maggie write? Why can’t you tell me what you know of the old town’s social life instead of waiting until I come home?
Kay hasn’t written at all.
Why don’t you give Regina my address and tell her I would appreciate a few lines? Tell her I was looking for her at school when I was on leave, but when I stopped in she was with the rest of the teachers in the basement with the janitor.
I received all your letters the same day and Roberta’s the next. I can’t give you Kay’s address as I lost it. I forgot her. Why can’t you?
How can I get you a car for your birthday when I only get $52/month or $13/week? It’s hard getting along on this with cigarettes, soap, razor blades, etc.
The girls down here are, as you put it, ______, so they and I are not quite hitting it off.
Berta has only written me two letters, none of which was the one you mentioned in your last letter. You know how much the rest at home write, so imagine the small amount of mail I receive.
Love, your lonesome girl-less brother,
July 21, 1963, from Berlin
I’m glad you are doing well in summer school. I haven’t had any regular dates as I am trying to save money but my dancing is improving as I go to the night clubs quite a bit and make the floor set.
The other morning when I was at the snack bar, a girl called and asked for me. She said she would call back but she hasn’t yet, which bothers me. She must be quite interested. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have bothered to find out my name and where I worked.
You told me you were burned because Jerry is going to Kansas? Look at me, my true love is half-way around the world. She is in South Vietnam. I have two nicknames for her: Nicky or Fida, as she is the illegitimate daughter of Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro. I just can’t understand why the US government won’t let her fly up to see me.
I’ll tell you like I told Mum: if Kay asks for my address, give it to her. Otherwise, don’t. If she asks for it, let her have the honor and distinction of being one of the choice few to have my address.
While I’m at it, you said you made some new acquaintances. Why not get any (all) of the tuff ones to correspond with me please. I’ll be home in 2 years, 2 months, and 22 days (that’s a lot of 2s; about 4 too many). You know being out of circulation for so long, I’ll be hurting for dates.
I have little chance of running into someone here so I am normally quite angry because I receive no mail. It sure took a long time to get yours into the mail.
Even though you say you don’t know the girls in summer school very well, tell them to write your handsome loveless big brother in Berlin. Tell Termite (younger brother) hi and tell him to write. Did he forget me or something already?
(P.S: Here’s 5 pfennigs. Now you are rich.)
July 22, 1963
I just received your letter, and I am beginning to answer it 5 minutes later. How’s that?
Congratulations on your B average. Let’s see you keep it up for the next 2, preferably, 6 years. So you realize if I start college in the fall when I get back, we will be starting the same year at the same time.
Don’t tell Kay you told me about her steady. I desire to hear her stories about how true she is.
What do you mean the guy I wrote about is crazy or what? He and I are quite similar, you see. We are both in the same profession – vampires.
What do you mean what’s this about the girl in the bar? I already explained it to you in my last letter. Life is only as dull as you make it. Things seem dull to me because of all we do here.
I am enclosing some pictures of me that Mum might like. Remember, these are for Mum. They are not for you to throw darts at.
September 22, 1963, from Berlin
Dear little sister,
I see from the address how long it has been since you’ve written. I have been a PFC for nearly 3 months now. The people at home noticed it about a month ago. I am glad you are studying and, after report-card time, when I hear your grades will know whether to forgive you or not.
What is this big missionary kick all of a sudden?
You ask me how Kay and I are communicating. We’re not. I won’t write her until she writes me. I told you and Mum you could give her my address if you saw her, being as she asked for it. I don’t even know if you have done so as of yet.
The reason why I didn’t answer your letter immediately is because we get mail during duty hours and I had 3 tests going at one time and could only read your letter a sentence at a time let alone answer it.
I am getting chubby.
October 27, 1963
Why do you think Kay will be writing shortly? I still feel for her but have just about given up on anything. I have been out with a few German girls but nothing steady yet. Who knows? I might even marry one in the next 2 years.