I was scheduled to be discharged from the Army in early April, 1968 – less than 2 ½ months from the last day I was home with Maggie. During that time, Maggie and I wrote to each other about twice a week.
One of my favorite letters from Maggie was written in early February/1968, less than a week after I returned to Heidelberg. Following are some of my favorite excerpts from this letter. Maggie began in such a charming way -
I had so much to tell you that I couldn’t say everything in yesterday’s letter. Now I can’t think of a thing to tell you. How about if I tell you all about myself.
First of all, I’m a clunk and you know that. I’m crazy and you know that. I’m in love with you and you know that. What’s there to tell you?
Then later in her letter, Maggie very honestly expresses her fears about our relationship. She always doubted that she and I would become a couple - and I certainly didn’t give her much reason to believe that that could happen until my trip home. Yet, as open as I was about my feelings for her since our 2 ½ days together, she still harbored fears that this wouldn’t last.
I miss you so very much. I get so tickly inside when I remember that you’ll be home for good in about 60 days. I don’t want to count on too much. I know you wanted to be home with me on your last three days, but I’m afraid that this need may lessen once you’re home to stay. How I hope not --- pray not.
Maggie then went on to share her deepest fear and what losing our chance for real love would mean to her. I was very moved by her mature acceptance of whatever the future might bring and very touched by her honesty and vulnerability.
I don’t know why I worry so about what will come. It’s silly to worry about things you can’t really prevent. I guess when you need someone as much as I need you; you worry about things like that. When you’ve waited for someone whom you can really love, and he finally walks into your life, it’s difficult not to worry about losing him. I won’t bother you with this worry. I’m sure everything will work out for the best. Trouble is, what’s the best?
Near the end of her letter, Maggie shared how she reacts when she receives a letter from me. Again, she captures my heart with her descriptions and her absolute fearlessness in showing her feelings. She paints a picture that is not only touching but very funny.
Everyone knew today when I got to work that I got a letter from you last night. They could all tell by the way I tripped over the extension cord of the telephone, spilled a cup of coffee, dribbled pineapple jelly on my plum mini dress and (get ready) got my ankle stuck in between the back and the seat of my chair. Try that in a mini skirt with 6 people trying to get you out. They finally ended up suspending me in mid-air and turning the chair sideways.
In a letter Maggie wrote a couple weeks later, she continued to openly express her fear that our relationship might not last. With the continuing escalation of the war in Vietnam, I was very busy delivering classified material throughout Germany and neighboring countries. Consequently, I was unable to write a letter for over a week, not even a short one to tell Maggie how very busy I was. Maggie, of course, expected the worst.
It has been over a week since I last heard from you. How my heart worries as I feel you may be beginning that gradual break that you once mentioned. I only pray that this silence only means that you’ve been busy, or much too exhausted to write.
Maggie’s reference to “that gradual break” is from my earlier letter to her in which I told her that I would end my relationship with any girl I no longer cared about by gradually decreasing my contact with them – assuming that they would soon get the message.
I miss you, Den. And I’m so worried because I haven’t heard from you. Are you making a fool of me this time? Do it quickly --- If you must do it at all.
Maggie’s above comment is a reference to an earlier letter I sent to her when she had stopped writing to me. In it I had asked if she was “making a fool of me.”
Reading the last line of this letter saddened me; Maggie was imagining the worst.
I must be off. I will write more later this week. I guess I’m just running away – afraid.