• Chapter 83: Better Late Than Never

    March 25, 2016
  • During the war I had sent and received over two hundred letters. I'm only sharing certain ones. Although I had them sorted by date, one of them got mixed up in the wrong month. A letter from my sister Robin was dated February 19, 1991 and I thought the post mark was March. So needless to say, I'm posting this one late, but better late than never.

    She starts off talking about getting a "better late than never" letter from me as well. "Today was certainly special! I got two letters from you today. One of them was dated one 1-11-91, and the other one was dated 2-7-91, and I just got them today. Strange isn't it? The one dated 1-11-91 has a postage stamp on it $.25, and it still took over a month to get to me. The last time you put a stamp on the envelope it too was 3 1/2 weeks getting to me, but I figured it was because you put grandma's ZIP Code on my address."

    "Oh and by the way, the cost of postage stamps went up to $.29! Highway robbery considering how long it takes to get mail delivered. I too would write my congressman but by the time I would get a response the year 2000 will be here and it will all be handled by computers!" (good guess - e-mail).

    "Grandma says she has seen you on CNN four times now! It's not fair that I haven't gotten to see you yet. I don't have cable TV and I don't get a very good reception on channel 4. Those are the only two stations spending more airtime on the war. The other stations don't show much."

    "So what exactly do you do in radar? Or can you talk about it in general terms? In your letter to grandma you stated that you were a combat veteran! What exactly did you mean by that? Are you in an actual combat position in radar? I was hoping that, with you being in radar you wouldn't be in actual hand to hand combat. But I guess that's too much to hope for when there's a war going on."

    "I really miss you a lot and hope you come home soon. I want nothing more than for life to go on. Not like before, because I understand that you'll come home a different person, but somewhat close to the way it was. I think about you all the time. I cling to every memory I have of you, and I can't wait to make new ones."

    "I was just looking at the picture we had taken at Six Flags. When you, me, Caron, and Ashley went to together and they stopped us just as we came in to take a picture. Remember, I got it in a keychain picture. It was 'Holiday in the Park' and not much what's operating. Only the Bobsled, that wild jerky Bobsled. Remember Caron practically cried! Oh and remember the Texas Giant! The first time we rode it, just you and me. That was spooky, fun, and exhilarating all at the same time. I remember I felt dizzy and lightheaded when I got off. And remember the picture we got on that ride! That day was the best day of my life, we had a lot of fun together and a lot of laughs."

    "Well I need to finish my homework so I guess I need to close for now. But remember I love you and miss you."

    "P.S. 'Remember when... ha ha. I remember when you used to say that a lot."

    I had a sharp memory and could remember things that no one else seemed to remember. I even remembered celebrating my 3rd birthday. Robin and I shared the same birthday, only we were born three years apart from each other. I remember sitting at the table while my mom was in the kitchen with Caron preparing the birthday cake. Robin and a few of her friends were at the table with us. I started singing "Happy birthday to me" over and over again and one of the girls that was friends with Robin thought I was crazy. She said, "It's not your birthday." And I said, "Uh huh, it is too my birthday." We argued back and forth until she turned to Robin and said, "Your brother thinks it's his birthday." And then Robin explained to her that we were both celebrating our birthday.

    I know everyone wants to know about whether or not I was changed by the war, and if so, how. It's coming. I have several things left to share but I'm spreading them out for the next several weeks. It may actually be May before I get to that particular subject. My next post will be from a letter I wrote on March 29th, which will allow me to take a break for the Easter weekend. Until then...

    “Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” 
    ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore