I enclosed copies of this letter with the copies of Letters Home I gave to my three nieces and my nephew.
I’m not sure when you’ll want to first read this but whenever feels like a good time, for you, will be best. You probably know your great-grandpa Rex, your grandma Lynne’s dad, was a pilot and fought during World War Two, back in 1945. Great-Grandpa Rex and Great-Grandma Kate were just married and separated for many months. He was on a boat in the Pacific Ocean, near Japan, and couldn’t call her. Of course, they didn’t have computers way back then. Your great-grandma Kate was pregnant during that time, with Grandma Lynne, as it turned out. They didn’t know that. Back then people couldn’t know they were having a boy or a girl until the baby was born. You’ll learn things from reading your great-grandpa’s letters about what all that was like, for the two of them. You might notice different things as you read it at different times in your life. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story any time you feel like talking with me about it. (We could exchange letters even!)
Writing is a wonderful invention. A writer I like, Carl Sagan, once compared writing to traveling through time. A person thinks and writes words and someone else, sometimes from a much later time, reads those words and knows what that person was thinking from a long time ago. That is happening to you, right now, as you read my words, and if you’re reading this some long time after today, which is 1/10/2015, you’re kind of time traveling back to this day.
My grandpa Rex died when I was around the age all you kids were when your grandpa Gary died. So I knew him and remember him but I felt like I got to know him a lot more by reading through his letters to Great-Grandma Kate. Hopefully you’ll get that same feeling from reading the letters in the book. You’ll also, at some point, learn in school about that time in American history when America fought against the Japanese. As you learn about those events, you might want to revisit this book and get the perspective of a person who was there and who is a part of your family. You might find, as I did, that your great grandfather was a very brave man. Partly because he did a dangerous job but also because he performed that job that was necessary for him to perform without losing his sense that war was a sad and unfortunate thing. He never lost his feeling that the people he was fighting in the war were people much like him who were good people they were just stuck in this situation of war. I think that made the hard thing he had to do even harder and that, to me, is what made him so brave.