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A minor key, chords in diminuendo, mandolin and flute, a shepherd calling from afar. They are sunk in nostalgia. They immerse themselves in it with a pleasure that only increased as they aged. It was considered a disease of exiles, of immigrants who had been uprooted from their homeland and could not stop longing for it. My parents and their friends were, at least to some extent, exiles in their homeland. Although they were the ones who fought for its independence and established it, they never stopped yearning for it.

In other words, they longed for some idea of it that continued to exist only in their imaginations. As hard as it is to believe, this song was a hit among year-olds. What year-old sings a song anticipating the day when he is an old man, with his grandchildren sitting around him, sighing and recalling his younger days?

My parents and their friends finished fighting at around that age, licked their wounds, mourned their dead, and immediately began longing for themselves as they had been only a few months before.

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And they never stopped longing until their dying day. Nostalgia became their religion.

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These claims made my parents and their friends feel sad and angry. They could not understand how or why they were no longer seen as worthy of songs of praise and were now viewed as privileged — a word that they did not really understand. Most of their acquaintances never became part of the establishment or received extra privileges that anyone could see.

My father worked in the same job from the age of 25 until he retired: as a warehouse worker in a large freezer next door to the Haifa port. None of the dozens of Palmachniks in their crowd became wealthy. Some were more successful, some less so, but all of them worked hard for a living. In their close circle, those who were hired as bus drivers in the Egged cooperative or became employees of the Israel Electric Corporation were objects of envy. A different kind of assertion surfaced when their children reached adulthood, woke up to the reality around them and began to look at their parents with a critical eye.

The zeitgeist changed in the meantime, and the Palmachniks had to deal with the claim that the restraint that they had imposed upon themselves had taken a heavy emotional toll. They sealed their lips and kept them that way even after the war had ended.

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And in truth, many of the Palmachniks had difficulty talking freely about their feelings. Unlike us, their children, the Palmachniks were very suspicious of psychology and thought it nonsense. After my mother died, we cleaned out her apartment. In a shoebox that she kept in a drawer under the tablecloths, among the old report cards from elementary school and high school, old pay slips and congratulatory letters from the Haifa municipality from the s and the s, we found a bundle of letters that had been written and sent in the early months of , deep into the war.

We saw the War of Independence through the eyes of a year-old man and an year-old woman who fought in it — and who also happened to be my parents.


For the first time, we could understand from the letters how they experienced the events as they happened, before they were wrapped in anesthetic nostalgia on the one hand and subjected to social criticism and psychological analysis on the other. Father enlisted in , when he was 18 years old.

In late , around the time that the UN announced the establishment of the State of Israel, Father met Mother, who was two years younger than he.

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She had also enlisted in the Yiftah Brigade. Father was sent to Dafna and to Lehavot Habashan to train combat soldiers for battle. Everyone was tense with the anticipation of the war, which they knew was inevitable. Some of the letters, which are more personal, are written in the first person singular. Disaster has struck once again. Over the course of the next three weeks, I would go through by far the most traumatic sequence of events I have had to encounter to this day short of possibly a family member passing away.

The disease which is contracted by the bacterial infection of a sore throat passing from the throat into the bloodstream is awful. It attacked my healthy organs and caused an otherwise healthy, young adult to be bedridden for 10 days and placed on life support. You see, the staff at Menorah had to place me in an induced coma so they could properly treat my illness. Prior to being placed under I was in far too much pain to be treated as I could not lay still and even thrash about wildly as to display the amount of pain I was in.

The Battle of Life: A Love Story by Charles Dickens

What had started as your typical cold or flu was now literally killing me by the second from the inside out. The illness attacked my lungs eventually causing double pneumonia and consequently emergency surgery to remove fluid from the lungs so I would not suffocate under my own breathing.

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Chest tubes had to be placed in my right side as they needed a way for the fluid to exit my body. I woke up around a week and a half later after going into the emergency room with complete amnesia of everything that had happened as a result of being in the induced coma and on life support. You could imagine my relief as I came to as well as my confusion.

In a state of disbelief as to everything that had transpired and at how much my body had atrophied my road to recovery and regaining full health began. I was extremely happy to be alive but I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me to get back to being an athlete. Monaco who allowed me to make it out on the surviving side.

About this Book

I eventually did learn to be an athlete again thanks to physical therapy, patience and a burning desire to be myself again. I truly am someone that needs athletics in his life to feel alive and through the struggles to get strong and fit again, I learned a new take on life. Battle is the only one of the five Christmas Books that has no supernatural or explicitly religious elements.

One scene takes place at Christmas time, but it is not the final scene. The story bears some resemblance to The Cricket on the Hearth in two respects: it has a non-urban setting, and it is resolved with a romantic twist. It is even less of a social novel than is Cricket.

As is typical with Dickens, the ending is a happy one. It is one of Dickens's lesser-known works and has never attained any high level of popularity — a trait it shares among the Christmas Books with The Haunted Man. Two sisters, Grace and Marion, live happily in an English village with their two servants, Clemency Newcome and Ben Britain, and their good-natured widower father Dr Jeddler.

Dr Jeddler is a man whose philosophy is to treat life as a farce. Marion, the younger sister, is betrothed to Alfred Heathfield, Jeddler's ward who is leaving the village to complete his studies. He entrusts Marion to Grace's care and makes a promise to return to win Marion's hand.

Michael Warden, a libertine who is about to leave the country, is thought by the barristers Snitchey and Craggs to be about to seduce the younger sister into an elopement. Clemency spies Marion one night in her clandestine rendezvous with Warden. On the day that Alfred is to return, however, it is discovered that Marion has run off. Her supposed elopement causes much grief to both her father and her sister.



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