This web site is dedicated to the family members who wrote a great number of letters to me during my first extended time away from home. They were some of the most exciting and in many instances some of the lowest times in my then young life of twenty years. While the correspondents perhaps did not know it and I may have been incapable of expressing it, these letters were an oasis in an arid two year incarceration (as I then called it) in the United States Army. Mail Call is known to be a highlight in a soldier's life, but civilians usually have little idea how much these "letters of relief" affected his soul. A testimony to this fact is that I kept every letter that was written to me (as far as I know).

So to my dad and mom who wrote profusely even when I didn't, and who wrote in the cheerful times and through all the agony (and they had more than their share), I want to say thank you for the support you offered even when it wasn't as accepted as sometimes it should have been. To my brothers and sisters I will say your letters meant a time of home-coming even when read so many hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away, when distance seemingly strained existence itself. When your letters arrived I tore them open (literally, if you look at the condition of the envelopes) and read eagerly and gratefully. They brought a smile to my face and some buoyancy to my heart. The creativity you displayed at times in your delivery of the news of your lives is still amazing, and still can produce great chuckles. I wished you had written more, and I now know I should have reciprocated. Reading them today still affects me. I thank you.

To my friends who wrote I also express my great appreciation. Even if you can't hear me now, even though we haven't spoke in decades, I must offer my thanks for sharing the things of your heart. Some letters are more "exotic" than others but those of you who poured out your heart, who risked vulnerability, it has not passed unnoticed. Thanks.

To those who have no letters included here, I don't consider that an indication that I was forgotten by you and I hope you didn't think I forgot you in return. Thoughts unexpressed are still thoughts, and I know you commiserated with me for my feeling of imprisonment by Uncle Sam and my forced and unwelcome withdrawal from your company.

So I offer these letters for your pleasure. The reward formerly only mine is now yours as well.

Next: The Introduction