Love and Marriage: The Love Story of Nancy and Frank: Book I

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


After sharing Chapter 14 of Frank and my love story, I knew the next chapter that would be shared would touch my heart very deeply once again. I dedicate this chapter to my brother Jimmy Blakley.
Jimmy served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He received the same disrespectful welcome home as all Vietnam Veterans did. Due to Agent Orange, he has suffered and was given 100% disability because of
how it affected his eyes.

Chapter 15 (v.15) - My Brother's Letter

Submitted: August 29, 2019

Reads: 14

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Submitted: August 29, 2019

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Chapter 15

My Brother's Letter

 

There is a love that is often unspoken between best friends.  Frank and Jimmy shared that unspoken love.

My brother, Jimmy Blakley, who is mentioned throughout these chapters as "Jimmy" by me or called "Jim" by Frank in his letters, was also awaiting orders. 

Frank and Jimmy were best friends who had a deep love and respect for each other before Frank, and I started dating.  Frank and Jimmy had even joined the Army on the Buddy System, which meant they were to be stationed together throughout their service time in the Army and included them doing Basic Training together. 

When Frank had gotten sick in Basic Training, Jimmy was the one who took care of him and bought Frank medicine.Frank always mentions Jimmy, as Jim, in most of his letters to let me know how my brother is doing on all of the physical training and tests.

Frank knew that I was concerned about my oldest brother who I was very close to, loved very much, and would want to know how he was doing.

I also wrote to my brother, Jimmy, letters while he was in Basic Training. Checking on Frank while he was sick, letting him know I loved him and asking him questions about how he was doing.

I decided, after asking Jimmy for permission first, to include one of his letters home to me because he was such a part of Frank and my lives.

 

April 9, 1968

Dear Nancy,  I was just reading your letter.

Well, don't be so shocked, I do write every once in a while, and I was glad to hear from you As to your questions, the only one I can really answer is the Frank still cares for you very much, and he cannot wait to get home to you.

The flu Frank got over with a few days ago.  I have been getting a lot of mail from Linda, and I hope to see her soon.

Nancy the Army is groovy, and it is just what I needed to make me think.  Time is running out for me.  I really don't know where I go from here.  I will probably to war, and I will return, but I may not.

So, let the kids and a few girls know, I need to be alone when I come home and that I miss them all.

Better close it is late.  Write soon.

Your Bub

LOVE,

Jim

HA! HA!We will have Frank your Wedding Night!  

 

While talking with my brother about his recall of Basic Training he told me that Frank and his first orders were to go to Vietnam and they were sent to train for that, but then new orders came for them which would be the duty stations that Frank has mentioned in his letter written to me on April 22, 1968. 

Frank would call me again on Saturday, April 27, 1968, and he was very excited.  He told me that the rumor was they would graduate on Friday, May 3, 1968.  Frank also said to me with shouts of joy in that phone booth that he and Jimmy had been given leaves to come to Texas for two weeks before reporting to their next assignments. 

I would not receive any more letters from Frank, but he did call on Friday, May 3, 1968, after he graduated and told us that he and Jimmy would be flying home to Texas that night. 

I was so excited, and both of our families went to pick them up at Hobby Airport in Houston.  

The letter above which written by my brother, Jimmy, really shows the emotions these young men felt. Jimmy would not go to Vietnam after basic training, but in November of 1968, Jimmy would go to Vietnam only returning home for a thirty-day leave in 1969 then back to Vietnam to return home in the middle of 1970.  Jimmy volunteered to do "back to back" tours in Vietnam only broken by a few weeks home to visit family.

As with all of these men who served their country in Vietnam, they were not welcomed home by a grateful nation. They were made to feel that their service was not appreciated, which added to the PTSD that they suffered from the horror of their experiences. Of course, their families welcomed them home, but there were not any parades of honor for them or open expressions of gratitude.

At a family reunion held at my home, my daughter-in-law's father, Jack Burt approached me after he had a conversation with my brother, Jimmy, and asked me if Jimmy had ever been "officially" welcomed home by a "Grateful Nation."  Jack Burt is a member of the Matagorda County Cavalry, an organization which welcomes home soldiers, escorts families of fallen soldiers, and so much more.

I told Jack that Jimmy had never been welcomed home by our nation, so he told me to give him ten minutes then he would do just that.  After ten minutes passed, then I asked everyone to go to my front yard.  In less than a minute, Jack came rolling in on his motorcycle with music blaring, flags waving, and lights flashing.  Jack got off of the motorcycle, went to Jimmy, shook Jimmy's hand, and "officially" welcomed Jimmy home from a belated "Grateful Nation"!

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So many of the young people standing in my front yard had not been born when the Vietnam War happened, and along with the older generation, they were all genuinely affected by Jack's beautiful "Welcome Home" for Jimmy. There was not a dry eye in the front yard.

Jimmy was shocked, honored, thankful, and very overwhelmed, as he hugged all there then thanked Jack Burt.

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For all of those reading this post, if you served and were not welcomed home, "Welcome Home!" from us all.

The love between Best Friends, whether it be two men, two women or a woman and a man is really the most beautiful thing and should never be something that we are afraid to express.

Jimmy and Frank not only shared "Best Friend Love" but after Frank and I married, they shared "Best Friend Brother Love" for one another.

Jimmy is the oldest of my siblings and has always taken care of us all, our children, and our Grandchildren.  He is the beautiful kind of God-given man who would literally give you the shirt off of his back because he has so much love for others in his heart. Jimmy loves others the way God intended that we love each other.

Since Frank died, Jimmy has called me nearly every single day, checking on me, asking if I need anything, and telling me how much he loves me. I am so proud of my oldest brother, and I love him with all of my heart.

Thinking, Frank is looking down on his Best friend and brother, smiling proudly at the friend and brother he loves so much.  No doubt in my mind that God is too.

A special thank you to Jack Burt, who gave his blessings on sharing his name and picture in this post.  He shares a beautiful, loving heart like my brother.

 


Check out Nancy Lou Henderson's Book


Love and Marriage: The Love Story of Nancy and Frank: Book I

Love is like new wine which will be aged then tested over and over before it becomes a great wine. The same is true of love. A love between two people to become lasting and eternal will be tested, as it ages. Marriage takes both people working together

© Copyright 2019 Nancy Lou Henderson. All rights reserved.

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