The Wall Street Journal

Wartime love and hidden shame: old letters hold family secrets

Wartime love and hidden shame: old letters hold family secrets
The paper trails left by letters can lead to new discoveries and “what if” reflections. (Illustration: Johnny Simon, WSJ)
The Wall Street Journal
By Beth DeCarboWho were your parents before they were your parents?Much of what we know comes from hearing Mum and Dad talk about their childhoods and youthful foibles, their early setbacks and notable milestones. Never mind the scant details and gaps in the timeline.For some people, a fuller picture emerges only after Mum and Dad die, leaving behind a trove of old letters and keepsakes. In cleaning out attics, emptying filing cabinets and opening trunks, families unearth letters that cast their parents – and their grandparents &ndas...

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