A WINDOW ONTO THE PAST: LETTERS OF A WORLD WAR II SOLDIER

The discovery, more than two decades after his death, of my father’s World War II correspondence with my mother, opened a window onto a past of which I had no conscious memory.  Just eight months old when my father was drafted, I was a little girl without a daddy for over two years.  Many decades later, sitting cross-legged on the floor of my brother’s rustic northern Minnesota home, I had in front of me a trunk full of musty old letters, each one enclosed in the envelope in which it was mailed. The beauty of my old doll Franca paled in comparison with the beauty of those poignant letters.  Were they love letters?  Perhaps not in the strict sense of that expression.  They didn’t gush. But they revealed both the anguish of a young couple separated by war and the preoccupations of an era.  I read them, arranged them in chronological order, identified certain overriding themes, and then attempted to bring them (and my parents) back to life in a book of my own.  It was a project that would take the better part of six years. Behind the Lines:  A Soldier, His Family and the 10th Mountain Division, the result of that effort, is the tale not just of one couple but of an era.

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