The Letters: Debbie Franklin's Complete Letters

Basic Training: April 23--July 4, 1972

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Company C, 17th Bn, 5th Bde

5.  Debbie Franklin

May 8

Hi John!

So how's the Army treatin' you? From your last letter it didn't sound like you were having that rough of a time but then you hadn't been thru Basic yet. That was some letter you wrote--wow, 7 pages It took me about a half hour to read it and then I had to go back and read it again 'cause I forgot what was written in the beginning.

Have you received many letters? I hope that by now your mom or someone has written to you cause then I won't feel so bad about the delay of writing you. But see It's like this--I got your letter on Thursday and Steve's prom was that nite so this is the 1st opportunity I've had to write and I should be doing homework so feel honored. Right now I'm in 5th hour Study Hall. This is the grossest class you can imagine. Its full of spastics. Their whole vocabulary exists of words relating to dope, sex, or rock music. YUK!

Things at this end aren't that bad but they could be better. Teachers are being gross by piling on the term papers. Right now I'd like to be out riding in the sun on my bike [a motorbike]. Oh guess what--this is bad news: the bike is out-of-order until we can order some parts.


I suppose by now you've just about given-up hope for receiving a letter from me--I'm sorry; but if you were here to realize what I've been up to, it might be easier for you to understand the delay. Besides having to get ready for 2 proms (one is tonite) I've been working on term papers, sewing, looking for a job, getting outside as much as I can--and just about everything else. So try to forgive me, okay? And I'll try to do better in the future.

Did you know our dog was sick? He has cancer spreading throughout his body and he doesn't have long to live. My mom is really upset about it and now we all have to be really nice to him!

Did you sell your car yet?

I've seen the ads around school. What are you going to do with the money?

Oh--I've haven't told you about Florida yet . . . it was great! The weather was good, so were the beaches, parties, and guys; I can't wait till I have the cash to go back.

Maybe I shouldn't ask you but here goes--how's Basic. Are you surviving well or just barely making it?

If you haven't guessed yet I'm in school now. Lately its been the only free time I've had. And I've got a test to study for now so I'll end this letter and hope I remember to mail this.


P.S. You said some of the guys had pictures of girls in their barracks--if I get some good ones back do you want one?

Be good!

14.  Debbie Franklin

May 15 [1972]



Hi, Army "Man" . . .you know by now that I'm not one for writing especially with all the things I have to do but I'm in school now with some spare time so I'll start a letter-no telling when I'll finish this. Today is Monday-blah! I hate Mondays! School is so gross but sometimes summer vacation is gross too.

The weekend was a bummer-Saturday a bunch of kids were supposed to go to the lake for the day but my group got lost on the way to Silver Lake and then from there to Cass Lake we got lost again. Then when we got there it rained so we all left. Bummer, huh? It rained all day yesterday too so I couldn't get out and do things.

Tuesday: Friday nite Steve and I went to Cherry Hill's Prom. It was at the Roostertail. Neither of us had a very good time though-we got there too late to sit with our friends, the refreshments were gone, the musicians were duds and didn't play any good jams and the dance floor was too small. Then we went out to eat but my steak wasn't how I like it. Also, at the prom a guy almost ruined my dress by spilling punch on it and I started crying. Oh well . . . I guess I'm used to dining at such places as Huck's; that was a great evening (agreed?). Thanks again!

This Friday is the Senior Swingout. I remember two years ago when you played at it. You (and another guy [Gary Starin]) played Scarborough Fair. Do you remember the first song we ever danced to? It was Scarborough fair. We've got a lot of good memories together, huh?

So, are you homesick yet? I guess you receive a lot of letters from home with that big family of yours. Don't worry though-I still intend to write you!!!!

What kind of rules do you have (about drinking, partying, rest and relaxation time, etc.)? If you have a camera or one of your buddies take some pictures of you and your barracks. Do they provide you stamps and stationary for letter writing? Why don't they have mail call on weekends? How long does it take for my letters to reach you? Be sure and let me know if you need anything like stamps, shaving cream, etc. Also, let me know when and where and the procedure for sending you things. Would you like some home made cookies or fudge? Anything you want, you've got . . . .

Guess what exciting thing I'm gonna do when I get home-cut the grass, wash my hair, do my never-ending homework, eat dinner, and anything else necessary to make my day. OK, also take a bath. (Speaking of grass, what happens if someone gets caught with it? You be careful, okay?)

How's the weather in Ft. Knox? The weather here has been damp and stuffy. It's not really too hot but as long as I'm stuck in school its better and more comfortable if it's cooler.

Almost lunchtime so I'll end for now. But I'll be back!

Love, Me

End of School Tuesday: Well, not much has happened between the time I wrote and now (I'm home) so I'll get this in the mail.

Love you, Take Care

19.  Debbie Franklin


May 18

Hi Sweetheart, (This means you!)

How's your body? Great, I hope. I hope the Army hasn't been abusing you by making you do strenuous work and exercise.

It's 8:30 in the morning and I'm in American Culture--the teacher, Mr. Masse (remember him) is giving notes on the causes of the Civil War. Big deal, huh?

So tell me, how's the food? Not like home cooking, I bet. It seems we never realize how much we cherish our home, family and friends till we are gone. I suppose by now you've found that out. By the way--have you talked to your parents since you left? If there are any messages for them let me know and I'll get it to them.

Is there any word on selling your car yet? If you don't get an offer or buyer soon are you gonna lower the price? Where is your car now? Do you let your brothers and family drive it?

Right now I'm in Chemistry and it's 12:00. I just found out that tomorrow 1, 2, 3 hours we have awards assembly and then in the afternoon we have swingout so why come for that & 4th hour? I'm just gonna stay home and sit out in the sun and then I might come in to see the seniors cut down everyone at the Swingout! Some real sweats are in for a surprise.

Today it's supposed to get around 83 degrees and is it ever miserable. Tomorrow and the weekend it's supposed to be in the 90's.

Oh, I almost forgot, yesterday I went golfing for the 1st time! Incredible . . . I made the biggest divots and had the most wiffs. Quite an experience!

Disaster---one of my friends just came and told me someone had ripped-off his bike (motorcycle). Could you imagine--getting a custom 450cc stolen from you. Bummer! Ours still isn't fixed so I'm shut down and does it ever bum me out!

What type of things do you have to do? Clean out the johns, k.p., guard, what else is there? Can you have radios or anything like that in your barracks? Is your sergeant really mean? (I asked a lot of questions, don't I; but then if I don't I won't know 'cause I've never been in the Army . . . . did you know that?)

Do you know anyone else on base? There I go again, sorry . . . .

Now it's Saturday. It's about 80 degrees outside. I washed the Capri and now I'm inside watching the Tiger game. They're losing, 2-1 in the 4th inning. There's not much more news so I'll get this in the mail. Be careful!

"Deborah Gay"

Did you get my other letters yet?

33.  Debbie Franklin

May 31, 1972 [typed letter]

Dear John,

I don't know how far I will get on this letter but It's time I write so I better get busy, right? I hope you are well and taking the army as easy as possible. I am doing just fine but I'll be doing better when I am out of school. This week I have exams and that will be rough but after that I will be able to enjoy three months of nothing but relaxation, you seem to get a lot of time to relax from the length of your letters. I couldn't believe it when I got that letter that took up two envelopes. They didn't come in the same day and so I read the first one and I knew it was from you but you didn't sign it and you ended in the middle of a paragraph which I thought was kind of weird, don't you? And then when I saw the "1" on the outside of the envelope I thought you were numbering all the letters that you are sending me or have sent me already but if you were doing that then you would have been wrong because I got one letter from you before this big one! Also, I have some questions: Can I abbreviate your address like you do, which is like this: C:17:5, or do I have to write it all out like I have been? Oh, well. . . .

Now to comment on all the things you wrote in your letter! Yessssssssss—I remember when you used to call me "SWEETHEART" and I called you "ANGEL" because that is what I thought you were and you still are in my opinion!!! So there. . . . You said you left your locker unlocked and the company commander saw it and you had to be on detail; was it just because you left it unlocked or was there something in there that wasn't supposed to be in there like booze? Sally Truss said you got in trouble for that or is she talking about another time that you didn't tell me about? Guess what (pause) as I went to the next paragraph I started reading about you getting caught with booze in your locker—I guess you did mention it but I must have forgot. (Sorry!)

As soon as I get some pictures of just me and not me and my dog or somebody I'll send some to you. The only ones of me I have now are of the prom and I'm sure that you don't want any of those so when I can find someone to take my picture I'll use up the ten pictures that are left in the camera.

Yesterday I went to bake you some cookies but then I figured that they wouldn't get to the base till Saturday and then they would sit and get stale by the time you had mail call on Monday so I'm going to try and remember to bake some next week and if not them because of exams then definitely the next week because I'll be all done with school!

Didn't it hurt you when you went through the gas chamber permanently or is the suffering just temporary? That would be icky. It reminds me of what we did in Chemistry today. WE produced esters (smells) that were supposed to smell like fruits and flowers but this one group did something wrong and it smelled really rank. Well they told me to smell it and so I did and now I think that I burned some of the tissues in my nose.

What is this about one of your buddy's girlfriend being pregnant his wife is expecting? He must be really dumb or so sexy that the girls just can't resist but I would bet It's the first one, anyone who would get themselves in that sort of a fix has got to have a problem of some kind! What is he going to do now or doesn't he know? That is really dumb; I can't get over it. What kind of guys do you hang around with anyways?

Page 2 (Only the beginning)

John you will never know how ashamed I am because I forgot your birthday--I felt so bad when I realized it that it was on my mind for a long time and I still haven't gotten over it but I hope that I can make it up to you in some other way. I really feel like an --- (censored). Will you promise not to be too mad and accept my best wishes now not only on your birthday but for the rest of your life/ I am really sorry and I don't think I'll ever forgive myself . . . .

Those pictures you had taken and sent to me were just great, in fact I couldn't believe that that guy was really you. Where is your hair. Your head looked like a balloon, no--, I'm only kidding but they did skin you pretty bad. If you haven't sent your mom any pictures yet and you would like her to see those just let me know and I will take them over to your house for her to see. Were those two guys with you buddies of yours? You said that one of the rules was that you had to wear your helmet whenever you were outside but in those pictures you didn't have yours on, how come?

Those rules about lining up your buttons with your fly is ridiculous but I suppose they figure that if they can't get you guys to do simple things like that then how will they ever get you to fight in a war!!

So you don't have any good music. I know how bogue that can be because right now I am driving the Capri without a radio and I really have a hard time without it. You would think that a radio would take my mind off my driving but it does just the opposite by keeping me alert to the things going on in the road ahead of me so I can see how you would miss it. It makes time go faster if you have something other than your breathing to listen to. When I was going through Kentucky on my way to Florida we listened to WKLO, I think. . . .I love "Oh, Girl" also, but I don't know the words very well and I have asked some of my friends if they could help me with the words but they don't know them either so if these aren't right then don't say I didn't try:

Well, it goes something like that but not exactly. If you want me to buy it for you so that you can have it to listen to in the rec hall, I'll get it for you.

I have just finished commenting on what was contained in the first part so wish me luck, here goes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's a little treat: swear words in code--

[this line was filled with multiple strikeovers--very funny!]

And this is the truth, BLAH!!!!!!!

Our weather in Michigan was or has been in the 80's lately but right after the Memorial weekend it turned cold and now the temp's are about 40 or 50 degrees. In fact I have to type this by the heater or else my typing fingers will freeze. Please excuse all the mistakes but when you are as uncoordinated as me It's a thrill to even eat with a spoon

Congratulations all of you guys in John's platoon for receiving the "honor award" plaque two weeks in a row. That is really proud to be a member of such a fine unit. YEAH YEAH DO IT AGAIN, DO IT AGAIN, WE LIKE IT, WE LIKE IT

If you don't mind spending your hard earned money on me then by all means call if you'd like but I can't guarantee I'll be home so if you think that you might be calling then why don't you write and let me know just when so I'll be sure to be here or close by. Okay? Okay! My number in case you have forgotten is (ta-ta-ta-da (Those are supposed to be trumpets.)) 55555 666666 22 333 1 999999999 999999999 or in other words 562-3199.

Aren't you glad I am typing you a letter instead of writing it so that I can put in all these little extras?

Yep--you're an old man now that you are twenty. Gosh, That's really weird to think that I liked a twenty year old once but then you weren't really twenty when we liked each other so that is different. In case you have lost track of time, you've been in there about 5 weeks. So how many does that mean you have left?

Did your parents come down to see you on Battalion Day? Did your platoon win anything?

We all feel really bad about our brother (Peppi). Your mom must have been upset about Dusty just as my mom is about Peppi. She cries all the time and he is getting weak and not as playful as he used to be.

Yes--I still have that note you wrote me on the huge sheet of paper. You know that I keep all of our souvenirs and that includes our notes. And I remember our first kiss. It was on my couch. And even better I remember my first hickey; it was on your couch! Boy, do I ever remember that scene in your dining room at Easter with your mom and relatives; ever since then I get nervous when I am in front of a guy's parents.

Three mile marches--how many months do they allow you for each mile? I bet a lot of muscles will ache after that little journey.

That is really a good idea for you to spend your spare time reading--I hate to read but it comes in handy and you can never read too much. In American Culture we've just finished reading the "Jungle." It wasn't a bad book but parts of it were so realistic that the end which was dull was a real disappointment.

I hope you are only a spectator to those boxing matches and not a participant because they sound really rough and I don't want you come away from there in bad shape but perfect shape so that we can go out when you come home, okay? I know Steve won't mind sharing me with you!! (And so what if he does?)

I have one more letter of yours to comment on but I'll save that until my next letter which I hope will be coming your way soon after this one so be on the lookout for it. Be good and try to stay out of trouble for me . . . .

Thinking of you often

  And loving you all the time,

___[signed]___Debbi (sweetheart)___

  Deborah Gay Franklin, Girlfriend!

Advanced Individual Training (AIT): July 9, 1972--March, 1973

Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas

3rd Enlisted Student Battery

78.  Debbie Franklin

Tuesday, Aug 15

Dear John—

Hi, What's new? Not much is happening here in fact if I waited until something really exciting happened before writing, you wouldn't hear from me til Christmas or after. Yes, things are pretty dull here in Inksterville. I really shouldn't complain though, at least I'm not in school yet but that begins in 3 weeks. Bummer . . . .

Let's see now—okay; ready for a big rundown on my not-so-exciting summer?

First of all, we had to have Peppi put to sleep June 7 because his cancer got uncontrollable.

The week after we went to New York to see my step-sister and her family. We had a good time and they were really beautiful people. The weather was a disappointment though. We had planned on doing some sunning and swimming. They surprised us with a new poodle puppy, Piere’. He takes after me; in other words—he's a brat.

I got home from there and had just enuf time to rest and repack before leaving with a girlfriend and her family to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That place was fantastic, better than Daytona Beach or Ft. Lauderdale. There was an Air Force Base nearby so there were a lot of eligible males to choose from. That has been my best 2 weeks so far this summer. We swam, sunned, golfed, drank, hussled, partyed, went to amusement parks, drank some more—really a tits time!

But when I got home things were a bummer again. No job, no money, a broken scooter and nothing to do. I did go boating and water skiing a couple of time. And I've been to a couple shows and out to eat. Now the bike is fixed but I always ride Elie’s 450cc custom whenever I go some place. They other day, Sunday, we rode 100 miles down Edward Hines and to Kensington. Really a mind blower.

My sister and John are in California and my parents just got back about 3 hours ago from a week visit down South. I stayed here with the dog. Every nite people were over, drinking, smoking, having sex, you name it. It really makes me nervous and wears me out worrying about things so I'm glad they're back. I can't believe I'm actually glad to be restricted again but It's kinda good.

Not much else new here so I'll sign off. Take it easy . . . .

Debra Gay

Hope you like the enclosed picture of ya!

107.  Debbie Franklin


Nov. 2,

Dear John—

You probably didn't expect to hear from me so soon and to tell you the truth, I didn't expect to be writing this soon. But my working schedule was pretty lenient so I thought I'd better take advantage of it and write while I've got the chance.

I hope You're well and that your trip back went ok. I bet you hated to go back. I'm better now, or should I say that my tonsillitis is better but I'm still very anemic. In fact, just yesterday I went back to the doctor's for my weekly B12 (iron) shot. It lays me out of action for about 4 hours. Oh—after you left the other day, I had a muscle-spasm in my neck, shoulders, and back. I thought I'd had it and if you've ever had a muscle spasm, you know what I mean. I had to go for treatment and get some more pills. I'm turning into a pill-freak.

The weekend was pretty much a bummer—didn't do much except work, homeroom, and other necessities. Sunday nite I did go to the airport and play some pinball but you've got to be in a pinball mood to win and I wasn't.

Oh—last Saturday at the Nixon headquarters in the same building as where I work I shook Tricia Nixon’s head (head?) I mean hand and I got a kiss from Bob Bradley. Big deal, huh!

Today I went out to lunch with some girlfriends, took a nap and then washed the car. It was pretty warm out even though it kept drizzling.

I hear that the twins have the lead roles in the Junior class play; that ought to freak out the audience!

I keep hoping that my mom will call me for dinner, we usually eat at 3:30 or 4:00 but company dropped in and now It's 6:00 and we still haven't eaten.

Hey—"Happy Belated Holloween." Don't feel bad about not being able to go trick ‘or treaten’ this year—I didn't go either.

Guess I'll end for now, write when you get the chance but don't worry if it isn't right away—I understand how busy you are.

Take care and stay together.


121.  Debbie Franklin

[Christmas Card; postmarked December 15, 1972]

Hope You're enjoying your leave, just don't get into any trouble! If you can catch me at home, call or come over. Maybe I'll see you at some of the parties. . .

Love, Debbi Franklin

139.  Debbie Franklin


March 7 [1973]


There's not much time to write before the mailman picks up down at the box but while I've got what I hope is your present address, I'd better write!

The other day I got a card I the mail saying a John had given me a subscription to SKI magazine. I called up my sister's boyfriend, John, to thank him but he said it wasn't him! Boy—did I feel dumb. So I figured that it must have been you. I don't know why you did it but thanks so much for even thinking of me. I haven't received my 1st issue yet but I really dig seeing and reading about great skiers.

It's so nice outside—yesterday was the first Sunny weather We've had. That's not such a big deal to you Texans, is it?

Work’s been really a drag so they cut my hours to 19 per week which is fine with me. We've sold our house and most of our furniture. We plan to be out by June 15th.

Not much else is new and interesting so I'll get this mailed. Sorry so short. If this isn't the correct address but somehow you get this letter anyways, let me know your new location!

Be cool—

Luv ya,