Love Letters from Bosnia – 1997 Era – Sanitized for Civilian Ears

Dear Patti

My LT (Lieutenant) received his first pen pal letter from some gal from the state of Arizona. Earlier in the evening after the evening chow several of us joked around offering up ideas to the LT on how best to wow a gal.

At first I suggested the open shirt Rambo like picture be taken and sent; then I thought otherwise on the off hand chance that he might ask me to take it. Others suggest the LT posing with a myriad of large caliber machine guns while atop a tank or Bradley fighting vehicle.

But, overall perhaps the best suggestion came from Captain Seawards. He suggested the LT pick “some “wild” flowers from fields we pass daily; then dry the flowers and mail them to her in a card after adding a loving note.

And of course the conversation did not end there; since I suggested that he personally hand pick the wild flowers. Another offered up that the wild flowers must come from one of the minefields nearby.

And then when the LT manages to blow himself up the Captain can conduct the investigation and all I get to do is just sign off on the paperwork.

Care for any minefield flowers my love?

Yours always,  Ralph (aka Major Perez – Civil Affairs – Camp Dobol    

Some of the my over 20 year old hand written love letters don’t seem to have dates written on them and the envelopes are now long gone but, they truly are love letters sent and kept by my “darling” who was home living aboard our 40’ Hunter sailboat moored on a slip on Basin C, Marquesas Way, Marina Del Rey, California.

I also noted that one of the letters spoke about a recent storm.

Today it hailed rather large marble sized hail, the biggest I’ve ever seen; the hail and rain then turned into puddles and for hours continued to pound the canvas on our tents.

Earlier today I was interviewed for a story about our economic progress, etc. by the Stars and Stripes, an Army newspaper.

I also thoroughly cleaned my walk in refrigerator sized room. It is a room with no windows that I also share with my Captain, a Las Vegas cop.

The small mass grave that we found earlier has since turned up over 600 human bodies; bones everywhere. Not to worry, these words don’t affect us here much anymore.

Today I felt I was cranky because no one from work has written me since I deployed. Apparently I wrote a letter to the head boss back in LA and told him – it felt like I simply dropped off the face of the earth because no one has written; he apparently sent out an inter-office communication telling my co-workers to write and so, some did…….never a dull moment in LA.

“Robberies and murders are still a commonplace. Plenty of work for you when you get back. The air sucks and traffic is still bad. Stay healthy and watch your back.”

…….no one back home would believe my yesterday. I was with five Russian officers and in what appeared to me to be record time drinking two large bottles of vodka.

Not to worry, I celebrated the 4th of July and your birthday with just one “shot” for me. Today, I gave one of the Russian Captains a See’s candy bar that you mailed me. They have the sector near our Civil Affairs sister camp.

Thank you sister for welcoming my future wife into our family during her Christmas time visit to Miami. Thank you my little niece Jenni (12/20/97) who caught me up on family gossip. ….

…….she better come down (referring to Patti) with walking shoes because from what I see my mom and grandma have her whole trip planned out.

I think mom even wanted to show her Tampa where Dorie lives but, I don’t think we have time since she is only going to be here for 3-4 days.

Grandma is always complaining that she drinks too much (Shannon) my younger brothers girlfriend. Grandma even told her to her face that she uses a six pack of beer as her purse. They both just laughed.

Spencer is driving my parents crazy with his changing hobbies. Now he’s collecting frogs. He came home from a reptile show yesterday with 3 frogs and an albino corn snake.

Melissa is doing good too. I finished my first semester of college a week and a half ago. My car is chugging its way to school and I hope it has about half a semester of life left in her.

Alex is doing really good in his karate classes. He just earned his yellow belt. Well, I have to clean the house so can’t write anymore.

Have a merry Christmas and happy new year. Everyone is here thinking of you. Keep in touch and take care. Love your niece, Jenifer

Sad to say not one letter received from any of my three sons.

Can words written that long ago still bring a tear to the eye or wake up long lost and forgotten memories.

You bet they can!