SOURCE: Author Richard Leitman

Author Richard Leitman

March 05, 2010 11:05 ET

Getting to Know Dad After He's Gone

Author Learns About Father Through WWII Love Letters to His Mom

WAYNE, NJ--(Marketwire - March 5, 2010) -  Richard Leitman is finally getting to know his father, even though he passed away last year.

Leitman, author of "Dear Roz - Finding the Truth About My Father in his Wartime Love Letters to My Mother" (www.Dear-Roz.com), said he never had a great relationship with his father. That always bothered him, and in trying to piece together the shards of his childhood, his mother gifted him with the letters his father wrote to her while he was a soldier in World War II. Now, he has made peace with his father by reading those letters and then writing a few back to him.

"My dad spent 5 years in the army including one overseas," he said. "He got married and had a son -- me -- during this time. Over that time period, he spent a total of only 100 days with my mother. It's a sharp contrast to today, in which people live together in many cases way before they are married."

Today, when hundreds of thousands of military families are separated because of foreign deployments, Leitman found it striking how much more difficult it was for soldiers at war 70 years ago.

"His life was at risk daily, and yet letters took six weeks to be sent and answered," he said. "In an age of cell phones and email, how could we understand what families went through back then?"

Leitman said he always seemed distant from his father, and he never understood it. When Leitman started reading the letters his father wrote back in the 1940s, his father's motivations became clearer to him.

"My dad was deeply wounded by the war experiences and it is no wonder that he had some post traumatic stress which contributed to his rougher side," Leitman added. "I let the rougher side get in the way of my love and communication with him and was, in turn, wounded. I missed out on fully having a father and he missed out on fully having a son."

About Richard Leitman

Richard Leitman is married to Marlene and they have three children: Norm, Steve and Jennifer. He also has three grandsons, Garrett, Daniel and Tyler and he feels fortunate to live very near them so he can participate in their lives often.

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