In first person… Be happy, smile, live and let live

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Surviving 4-1/2 years in camps was a miracle for me. In 1945 I was liberated. I was born again. But this time my family was smaller. Only one sister survived with me.

I met my wife right after the war and a year later we got married. In 1949 we came to America with our 6-month-old daughter, starting a new life. In 1954 our second daughter was born, and we lived and worked in New York for 30 years, happy to live as free people in a free land. We worked hard trying to rebuild our lives.

In 1980 after I retired, we settled in Florida, keeping myself busy in many ways. One of my hobbies is writing poems and essays about life and the experiences I went through in the past. I keeps me occupied and I love it. As a senior citizen, I know how important it is to be occupied. We have our circle of friends and we enjoy our life, laughing, playing and kibitzing together.

Our daughters are married, starting families of their own, in New Jersey, and California. We visit them every year, and they visit us in Florida often as well. To be grandparents means nachas, and it is a blessing from God.

Traveling east, west, north, south is an adventure for us, a happy one. We traveled to many parts of the world and we learned that people all over are the same.

We have no complaints, but as they say in Yiddish, "Es is nisht du kein koyach" ("We had no complaints, but there's not much strength"), although we are trying not to kvetch a lot.

My motto in life and always, was to try to be happy, keep smiling, live and let live. Paul Bleicher spends winters in Florida and summers with his daughter's family in Berkeley.