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A Presidio-like view

There is truth in the opinion piece about the Presidio of San Francisco ``Pardon Me, General, Do You Have Any Grey Poupon?,'' Aug. 25. The Presidio is a nice place to live.

But any American could have entered the long-odds lottery to live there. The price of a ticket was the best years of your life. Graduate from college. Join the Regular Army, and give up any hope of material wealth. Sign on for maybe 25 years in a string of dreary Army posts stretching from North Carolina to West Texas. Bring a bride home to a tiny little row house on a scorched plain that wouldn't even meet low-income standards in most places. Move from Georgia to Germany for three years. Then back to Dixie. And once again back to another gray, cramped high-rise in Germany.

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There's one other tough qualification: You have to outlive one, two, sometimes three wars. Very few of those survivors, of whom I was one, were ordered to a welcome last assignment at the Presidio. My wife shed a tear at the wonderful view we finally had. Richard A. Jones, Benicia, Calif.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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