For the past 24 years, Patricia N. Gunter has been wondering what her father was like and where he was living, if at all.

Her mother, through her years of working as a maid in Macon, Ga. had spoken highly of him, even though the couple had split shortly after their daughter was born.

Except for one visit to see her when she was 1, her father had disappeared. But, in one fo those happy coincidences that defeats the odds. Gunter had a joyous reunion with her father a few weeks ago because of what happened in of all places, the Pentagon.

Gunter is an Army tour guide there with the rank of Specialist 5. And she could not resist asking about the background of the family who wrote down the name Gunter when they signed up for the Pentagon tour several weeks ago.

"Are you from Philadelphia? Well isn't that something: my father, Herman Gunter, was from Philadelphia."

The astonished Gunter family said they were related to Herman Gunter and yes, he did have a gap in his front teeth and was in his 60s, just like the man Patricia Gunter's mother had described as the father.

Several mixups and telephone calls later. Gunter found herself at the door of her father's little farmhouse in Quantico, Md.

"I knew he was my father because of what he had told me about my mother in our telephone calls," she said. "And when I saw him, his hair all white and with the smooth skin and his eyes. I knew he was my father.

"There wasn't any crying. Just a lot of laughing, hugging and kissing. He had set up a tape recorder to get down what we would say to each other when we finally met but he was so excited he forgot to turn it on.

"After a while he said. "Listen I've got something to show you.'"

She said he went to the back of the farmhouse and brought out a dusty plastic bag crammed with 24 yeats worth of letters he had written, several of them attempts to find her that were returned for want of the proper address.

"This is what I've had all these years to remember you by," her father told her lovingly in the reunion at his tiny farm.