In May of 2009 I went to Tennessee for my nephew’s sons high school graduation. While there my sister, Bonnie and I went through some boxes of stuff she had brought back from Colorado when we cleared out our parent’s house. In one of the boxes we found 184 letters that my father had written home to his parent’s in Iowa between the years of 1942 to 1946. The letters begin in August of 42 when my father first goes to Coshocton CPS (civilian public service) camp in Ohio and end in the fall of 1946 after he has married our mother and they are living in Chicago.
I have thought about sharing these letters with others and have wondered if this would be a story of interest to other Friends. This summer as I thought about this and was reading Dad’s letters, I copied them 20 at a time and read them over the summer, I was also reading the small book by Jean Zaru, “Occupied with Nonviolence”. In it she speaks of the value of telling our story;
Storytelling makes the world stronger because stories revel the complexity of our truth. By telling our stories, we resist the diminishing of the reality of our lives. We resist vague and generalized abstractions and we maintain the urgency and intensity of the concrete.
I thought that a blog might be a way of sharing theses letters and also dialoging with people about the letters. The return address of the letters had "Blessed are the peacemakers..." Mathew 5:9 on each envelope, which I chose for the title of this post.
Below I will post my father's first letter.