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Thirty Five Years: An Open Letter to My Father

By James Carino Joan Didion wrote so many years ago, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." Our stories are rarely told outside the walls of our firehouse, because in truth it is no one's business what we do. Our stories are not fairy tales and they are not the stories told by 95 percent of the population. Our stories feature cars mangled in unimaginable shapes, people's bodies contorted; a body burnt to ash, or just enough for its skin to fall off; a funeral for a brother who got trapped and died just steps from fresh air, or six caskets lined up because the job got that bad; the woman screaming in the doorway for you to save her husband, her children sniffling without u...

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