DeeDee Writes Dear John

Thursday, July 25, 1968

Reb’s girlfriend was “DeeDee.” *  They had been sweethearts since the 8th grade and all through high school in Charlotte, North Carolina.  After graduation they enrolled at the local Junior College, and DeeDee studied for a transfer to a University; she wanted to be a nurse.  Reb was interested in Art and attended classes until his father became critical.  He said Reb was wasting his life and that he needed to earn a living.

Reb made his escape and joined the Marines.  He and DeeDee maintained their relationship as he went through boot camp and cook school.  He received his orders to Vietnam, and they continued writing letters and making plans for a future together . . . the letters became less frequent (from one a week to twice a month).

Without any warning, DeeDee broke off the romance, confessing she had met someone else she cared about.  Her attitude toward the war had changed, and she felt it would be unfair to continue corresponding.  Their long-distance relationship was over, and she was moving on.

Reb was completely blindsided by this letter, and he was devastated.  In 1965 I had witnessed the end of a relationship when my friend, “Mac” ** received similar news over the phone.  His response was anger, and he ripped the receiver out of the phone booth.

When Sumo and I relieved Reb in the morning, he was a wreck.  The pastry bar was fully stocked, but he couldn’t run “Reb’s Take Out” window on the side of his bakery.  I assigned a mess man to run it and told Reb to take a shower and try to sleep.

During the day Sumo and I discussed the situation.  We agreed it was a crisis, but it would pass.  We decided to keep this predicament private and not betray Reb by alerting Top Culverhouse.  It was a risk because some Marines in similar situations had committed suicide.  We thought Reb could work through the issue.

*  See previous blog, “New Mess Deck Approved”  March 11, 1968

** See previous blog, “A Thanksgiving to Remember”  November 1967

Next Edition:  Sydney R&R Up For Grabs

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