The last few weeks have been defined by old letters, scraps of paper and memories. CC’s mama was a historian. She kept a treasure trove of old letters.
Since her death, the real treasure has been finding all the letters CC wrote from boot camp and Vietnam. I have begun a notebook, putting each letter in a protective sheet and in chronological order. But I am not reading them in this order; they are mixed up - July 68, July 69, August, February.
Prefacing this great find, I have been writing CC’s stories down almost since the time I met him. I have heard bits and pieces of his experiences in Vietnam for 17 years. I have heard how he never wanted ever to be hungry again, that food and shelter were tops on his list anytime and anywhere. From the moment I met him, he has been feeding me and my children and all of my extended family and his too.
The following letter was written in CC's 2nd month In Country, he is on a mountain in the DMZ and he is in the third day of a typhoon. The letter is spattered with rain drops. It follows.
5 Sept 68
You ain’t going to believe what I’m going to tell you. Well I’m up here on this Mountain. We’re in the middle of a typhoon, like a hurricane. The wind is blowing and I am cold and very wet. We have a hootch built so it keeps a little rain out. We haven’t been resupplied for 3 days. We have been making soup out of water and ketchup and a little onion I brought with me. What I would do with some food right now. We have also been drinking hot kool-aide to try to keep our stomachs warm. Hot Kool-aid is pretty good when you’re cold. I don’t know what we are going to do for food tomorrow. We are all out of ketchup and onion. Maybe we will think of something.
I hope you have sent my package because I sure will be starved when I get it. I want you to send me another package when you get this letter. Send some soup, any kind except tomato. Here: a list of stuff to send me.
Soup in cans and packaged dry soup, cookies, parmesan cheese in a box, canned fruit. Ketchup in little plastic containers like you get in restaurants, tuna fish, pies, shake a pudding. Little packets of mayonnaise, chef boyardee ravioli, spaghetti and meat balls, cans of corn and peas and a box of instant potatoes, salt & pepper, a lot of canned meats like sardines, spam, potted meat, canned beef stew, brownies & fudge a whole coconut. Heinz's 57 sauce for my c-rations, pound cake, strawberries, french bread, angel food cake. Mom I know this sounds like a lot but I don’t even want to go hungry again. You can use the money I send home to buy all this with. Please send it all , please.
I am hungry, Mom. You will never know how hungry I am. Please send it now. Please. Mom if you send it to me you’ll make the happiest person in the world. I hope you send it the day you get this letter.
Well, it’s pretty dark now so I’ll have to go. Write soon and please send the package today.
Love always your son, CC
P.S. I’m hungry.