On December 11, 2015 Nancy wrote: "I've just discovered that I had more of a DJ career than I remembered! You all may remember my traumatic departure from DJing in Da Nang when I couldn't hear the engineer OR the songs and got totally discombobulated. Well, I'm going through letters I wrote home and I seem to have started my career at my first assignment at An Khe with the Cav. Here's what I wrote when I had learned four days earlier that I was being transferred.
'On the radio last night (my weekly radio DJ show), I had to say goodbye, and I darn near started to cry over the air. Fortunately, I waited to say goodbye until the end of the show, because I couldn't talk for about two minutes after I told the Cav goodbye.'
It's so strange as I go through these letters to read what I don't remember. It's like I have a whole other life out there that I don't know about!"
I was a Donut Dollie in Vietnam, April 1967-68, stationed at An Khe (1st Cav), Da Nang (Marines) and Cu Chi (25th). During my time at Da Nang, several of the Donut Dollies DJ'ed a radio show over AFVN. I did it too, but it was probably the most stressful thing I encountered in Vietnam, even worse than Tet at Cu Chi! I literally chain smoked the whole time I was on.
One evening the engineer had rewired things such that I couldn't hear myself talking over the radio or hear the music being played. The engineer was in another room where I could see but not hear him. So we started out: "Hi, this is Nancy with your spotlight album of the week. (Are we on-I can't hear anything!)" Frantic head nodding and hand waving from the engineer. "Uh, this week we're going to be playing (is this thing working-I can't hear)." More frantic nods and waves. . ."an album by the Supremes (what's going on, why isn't it working?)." That went on for a few more excited exchanges until finally he cuts to a song. His phone rings. It's the general, saying (yelling), "Is that girl drunk? What's she doing? Get her off!!! The engineer explains. Things calm down. I finish the show, still unable to hear the songs, sitting in an empty silent room, talking to myself. And that's the last time I DJ'ed!
Date: December 12, 2015
Subject: DJ Career
As I grow older, not wiser, I find there are so many things I cannot recall happening. I suppose I am the opposite of Ken who says he recalls the joys more than other events. One good thing about not remembering is that I can enjoy movies and TV shows again for the first time. I have been half way through a book before realizing had already read it, but had to continue because I couldn't remember how it ended.
Some Responses to the Above
From: Ken Kalish
Date: December 12, 2015
Subject: My DJ Career
It’s that way for us all, Nancy. I did not recall some of the really nasty firefights I was in until I started talking to my best friend a couple of years ago. We tend to remember the joys more than the sorrows, a blessing that tends to keep us sane.
Hogz and quiches!
Nancy Smoyer, Donut Dollie
American Red Cross