An Odyssey of Deception
Conflict and Division in the World
The overt Korean Conflict had ended, prisoners of war had been exchanged but the Korean people were still divided. However, the covert conflict continued; some prisoners chose to change sides and on one side, some were still being held against their will.
Conflict and Division in America
The Supreme Court had overturned Plessy v. Ferguson with its decision on Brown v. Board of Education but Americans were only legally free of the separate but equal doctrine. Both decisions were related to the school but their impact on one societal division was profound.
Conflict and Division in Levi
Levi Robert Reising fidgeted and perspired profusely under the dark blue cap and gown he wore over his new, fashionable shirt and charcoal gray slacks at Lindbergh High School’s graduation ceremony at Lakeview, Minnesota. His perspiration and nervousness did not appear to be different from that of the other graduates in the poorly ventilated auditorium where noisy, whirling box fans did little to relive the nearly ninety degree June evening temperature.
His discomfort was from more than that - he was not listed on the graduation program. School officials, child welfare officials, a series of foster parents, foster siblings, classmates, and others only knew him as Lee Juan Sanchez. But unknown to him boy, one knew who he was.
During the time since he ran away from his North Dakota home nearly six years before and contrived a name for himself he had become nearly accustomed to being the person he had invented. It was not until his exit interview with the senior counselor that he recognized a serious problem he had never anticipated. Levi’s eighteenth birthday would be on July 13th and like all young men reaching that milestone, Lee would have to register for the draft. He had no legal proof of being either Lee Juan Sanchez or Levi Robert Reising.
He was aware the messages but was disturbed and conflicted during the ‘your best years are ahead’ and ‘look positively to the future’ speeches given by class officers and adult guest speakers. Two choices were obvious to him as his recent and remote past slammed him in the face.
I can disappear again and live my own version of life on the slippery, wrong edge of society like my father or confess my ruse and take what’s coming to me.
Divided against himself, his odyssey of deception had come to an end and Levi Robert Reising held covert by Lee Juan Sanchez would have to be exposed.
Where do I start and whom do I tell first?
Twelve year old Levi stepped off the air-conditioned Greyhound bus into the 88 degree August morning at the Minneapolis, Minnesota, terminal. He followed several adults along the covered pathway outside the building to a parking lot where most were greeted with hugs or handshakes from family or drivers. Several walked to a mid-block city bus stop and Levi walked quickly to the street exit from the lot as if having a purpose but not so fast as to attract attention.