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Sorting through our Mom's stuff at her condo in L.A. after she passed in 2002, I found a few letters in an overstuffed closet. The return addresses on the yellowed envelopes postmarked 1943, were from Dad: Pvt. Bernie Reich, FARTC, Ft. Bragg, N.C. He was 88 when I found them. While he remained strong in mind, he had forgotten them. I knew there might be more at their house in Beverly Hills. They were in shoeboxes in the hallway cabinets and closet, in no particular order - more than 172 , along with souvenirs and mementos. Dad and I had our difficulties. He was an angry man and I was estranged from him for long periods. But perhaps the letters captured the love lost in our family and reveal my parents' spirits at a time before my sister and I were born. Dad passed on Memorial Day weekend 2006, but it took 5 more years for me to take the plunge. The letters offer a whole new perspective on Dad - that of a sensitive man knocked off his feet by the draft, rising to find his place under new circumstances. They are many things, most significantly a window into a deep romantic relationship between two young lovers - my parents - separated by the War. When Dad received his draft notice, he was 28, married 3 years, and practicing law a few more. "Am I A Soldier Yet?" was always the title for this Memoir because it was the question Dad posed in his letters throughout his time in the Army. His title of "esquire" was replaced with "Private" or "You" as in "You, you and you, report to the sergeant." He was frightened by his circumstance, but as far as his personal identity went, he never flinched. In his life Dad was unable to resolve the conditionings of his time. But in writing his Memoir, our story is revealed through the power of forgiveness.
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