Joseph P. WHITE
Port Arthur, Texas
February 10, 2006
Dear Mr Belli :
I did receive your letter, and I am the person whom you are searching for. I no longer go by my initials.
And, I do recall all of the men whom you mentioned in your letter. I also recall the night of that fatal parachute jump into France. Our navigator made a slight mistake. Nevertheless, we all make mistakes.
However, I also learned that French rocks are unusually hard. This particular one had a whitish tint and was partially buried beneath the ground. It was also buried at an angle.
And it had been there for so long till the rain had cut a small gully into it. And as the water ran through this slanting gully it left a series of small pebbles deposited within it.
I learned this as my toes touched down. I heard the pebbles fly and I tried to tumble to break my fall. But I could not tumble going uphill. You see, I did not know all of this because it was dark, and I forgot to take my flashlight. I’ll know better next time.
And the young maquis who found me could not respond to our password.
That was disgusting. But he was polite, and as mixed up as I was. Therefore we shook hands and became friends.
My French is lousy. Nevertheless, with the aid of a French and English dictionary, I am sending you our password.
Don’t laugh if I have made a mistake. Because none of this is funny until one goes through it.
La peau vaut mieux que la bête.
Pas si la bête est grasse.
Sir, I personally don’t feel as though I did anything. It was a bad night. But it was also a good night. The world was on fire, and we were trying to help put it out.
In May of this year, I will be 83 years old.
Thank you and best regards,
Joseph P. White