I suppose everyone who has ever had a life changing experience longs to write the Great American novel someday. Although I always counted myself among those, my simple intent here was basically to chronicle my letters home to my parents for my contemporaries, descendants, and friends. Realize that reading and recreating these letters is a joyful/painful experience. What happened some 40 years ago is still very fresh in my mind. I marvel at the fact that Mom (who passed away in 2000) kept every scrap of paper that I ever sent in perfect order and condition. Death was foreign to me until 1968. Oh, sure, relatives had died, but I had never experienced death firsthand, watching someone slip away, crossing over from a vibrant, living, breathing human being into a lifeless non-person. Between 1968 and 1969 I saw death first hand, and it impressed me as a definite transition to something else, somewhere else maybe.