Sunday, June 12, 2011

Diary Entry 107: Saigon, Saturday, Christmas Day, 25 December 1965

                                                             Christmas Day
                                                             Saturday, 25 December 1965

Well, Merry Christmas! Here in Saigon it is almost noon now which makes the time about midnight on Christmas Eve in the States.

I woke up real early this morning (at 3:30) and tossed and turned in the bed for a couple of hours before falling back to sleep. I got up in self-defense at 7:30 only because the air conditioner power was cut off (all air conditioners are cut off from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in hotels and BOQs) and it was just too hot to stay in bed any longer.

Caught a taxi and went to the Hong Kong BOQ for breakfast and then came back here to open presents, and I had a good time.

Fred and Jo Ann sent fruit cake and nuts. Brother and Ann sent sox and pecans, Mother and Dad sent lotions, peanuts, wash cloth and towel and preserves, Jean and Melody sent cookies, marshmallows, and pecans. My maid brought me flowers. And my dear family sent me sox and pecans, lounging shoes, eats, and lots of underwear and shirts. But the best present of all remains the picture they sent. [1]

Wouldn’t trade it for anything. I just look at it and thank God for being so good to me by giving me such a wonderful and lovely family.

At 2 p.m. today I am going to go over to Lieutenant Colonel Knight’s place for Christmas dinner. He’s going to have about 20 people come over for turkey and trimmings. I thought it was real nice of him to do that and am glad he numbers me as one of his friends. He is an Army officer on duty with the State Department. The only difference is that officers who are so detailed draw State Department salaries, so they make a good bit more money than they normally would. And of course the State Department lives a whole lot better than do the military services. Most of the State Department people I know here don’t have a college degree, are a good bit older than I, hold less responsible and less demanding jobs, and on the average, probably are paid about $10,000 a year more than Army lieutenant colonels. Mr. Bellican, the Assistant Director of the AID (State Dept) program here, offered me a chance at a position as an exchange officer from the Army, but General Crowley just laughed at him when he suggested it. Well, at least the Boss likes me, so that’s some consolation.
Tonight expect I’ll write some overdue letters to Mother and Dad, Harry Brockman, and others who have written. And then I think it would be kinda nice to go to bed and read a while. Haven’t had much time for that, and I got a couple of pocketbooks in a Christmas Star package from the States.

Oh, I didn’t mention that package. Some people in Indianapolis sent a package to a "GI in Vietnam." And it was delivered to me earlier this week. In addition to the pocketbooks, the package included a towel, soap, popcorn, a flashlight, knife, shaving cream, and razorblades. If I knew who sent it, I’d send a thank you note, but all it said was "From the Americans in Indianapolis who appreciate your sacrifice this Christmas." Maybe I’ll write a thank you note to the Mayor of Indianapolis.

And perhaps I made a few kids happy today. Received a report that all the airplanes scheduled out of Hong Kong for our Toys for Tots landed as planned. I hope all the little orphans in Da Nang, Qui Nhon, and Thu Duc had a happy time. Wish that I could have been there to watch their expressions. Thought about going up to the Mission des la Notre Dames at Thu Duc early this morning to watch the package-opening, but it is in an area where the VC captured 4 US men from a construction firm last week and I decided that discretion is the better part of valor. Will go up to Thu Duc and talk to Sister Florida after things kind of quiet down around here.

[1] Fred Clark is Clark's brother; Jo Ann Clark is Fred's wife and Clark's sister-in-law; Brother is Norvelle Clark, Clark's brother; Ann is Brother's wife and Clark's sister-in-law; Chief Petty Officer Jean Clark is Clark's brother; Melody is Jean's wife and Clark's sister-in-law.

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