While sitting with my friend, Monica, one afternoon and catching up, as friends do, I shared with her my latest venture in life- Gracie Mae Publications and our debut project, A Veteran’s Legacy. Our conversation evolved into her sharing her veteran’s legacy story with me. I remained in awe for days. I knew I had to share her story… a love story for the ages.
Monica Huber was born Nu Phan, in the small town of Phucat in central Vietnam. She was 14 years old when American GI’s came to Vietnam. Nu had a responsibility to her family, so she sold cigarettes and candy to the American Soldiers. At 17, she went to school and learned English to get a job at the Post Exchange in Phu Yen. One day, she saw a young, shy soldier. His name is Maurice Huber. Being very friendly, she called him over to talk with him. Soon after, she would find him watching her through the store window.
Maurice and Nu got to know each other. His devoutly religious family signed the Conscientious Objection form in hopes that his duty, without weapons, in Vietnam would minimize risk to his life. He was assigned to work with Vietnamese citizens, and had a body guard that accompanied him everywhere. Because of his work, he had more freedom to come and go from the base, allowing him to spend more time with Nu, but all too soon the time came for Maurice to leave Vietnam. However, he did not want to leave. He went against his family’s wishes, learning he could extend his tour of duty. He bought Nu a diamond ring, and they spent as much time together as they could over the following 6 months. Nu was heartbroken when Maurice left Vietnam but even more so when she found out she was pregnant.
Having a child out of wedlock is cause for great shame in her culture, so Nu hid her pregnancy from all but one friend, her roommate. She continued to work and save every penny, while sending home the majority of her income to her family. Sending less money might cause her Mother to question her.
A few months later, Nu’s Father fell ill and passed away. Her Mother insisted she come home. Nu was fearful about her Mother finding out she was with child, but had to obey. She wore a large sweater all the time to conceal her growing belly.
All the while, Nu was preparing for the arrival of her baby. Knowing she would eventually need the ability to secretly bring her child into the world, she convinced her Mother to allow her to return to the city for a better paying job. Her roommate took her to a midwife, and her daughter was born. At 3 days old, Nu put her baby in the care of a Nanny. Nu visited her daughter every couple of days until she lost her job and had to move home, 100 miles away from her baby. Nu had a plan. She begged her Mother to allow her to adopt an “orphaned” baby. Upon her Mother’s consent, she was finally reunited with her daughter. In order to maintain the appearance that she had not had a child out of wedlock; Nu’s Mother raised the baby as her own. As siblings, Nu worked to support the family and her Mother cared for their new addition.
Nu cried every night, writing letters to her boyfriend, letters she never knew were really getting to Maurice. A year and a half later, she received a letter from her one true love, her child’s Father. He had been working, going to college and trying to find a way back to Vietnam. He wrote to President Nixon, whose office directed Maurice to the Immigration Office in Indiana where his family lived. He was told his best chance of getting back to Vietnam would be by finding work with an American company. When he contacted such company, they told him he would have to make his own way to Vietnam before they would hire him.
Maurice worked and earned the money. With $4000 in his shoe, he went to get his love and their child.
In the meantime, Nu’s roommate came to live with Nu’s family. The roommate told her Mother that the adopted girl was really Nu’s child. When confronted by her Mother, Nu admitted that the girl she had brought home was actually her baby.
Nu felt peace and freedom, no longer carrying the burden of a shameful secret while awaiting the return of her love! When Maurice arrived in Vietnam, they promptly purchased wedding rings and were married and moved into a small apartment. Maurice gave Nu the nickname “Monica” and she has been Monica Huber ever since. Maurice got that job with an American supply company. They stayed in Vietnam for 2 more years and gradually grew together as a family. Their daughter came to know her Father and Mother. The Hubers came to the United States, embraced by Maurice’s family. They have been married for almost 40 years now, have 3 children and a love story that brought tears to my eyes.
Many thanks to Monica, for sharing HER Veteran’s Legacy!