I would like to thank all of you for putting up with me during the last seven years while I wrote the book about Grandpa. You all had to tolerate me, particularly Dad, while I disappeared into my dark hole of writing and researching while I tried to uncover the details of Grandpa’s life—all stuff I could have learned if only I had sat down and really talked to him years ago.
If I could roll back time, I would ask him how he and his siblings felt when they learned they were moving from New Jersey to Russia. You were unhappy when we moved to North Carolina, so I am sure that gives you an idea how they felt—just so, so much worse.
“Tell me about the trip,” I would ask, now knowing that they traveled on a luxury liner from New York to London. Then I would ask about the remainder of the trip as they journeyed on a small Finish steamer stopping first at Copenhagen and then Helsinki.
I want to know exactly what the living conditions were like in that apartment that they shared with a Communist party member. I am interested in knowing precisely what it was like to be an American boy growing up in the Soviet Union.
Then I would question him about the long ride home across the Soviet Union on that train. What did he eat, and who did he hang out with on the Trans-Siberian Railway? Was he scared to be returning to New Jersey alone—only twenty-two years old–during a time when much of the world was at war?
I would wrap up the conversation inquiring about all those years trying to get the rest of his family home, and ask if he really spoke with the Secretary of State on the phone. It was clear from the letters I found at the National Archives that Secretary Hull knew Grandpa.
So many unanswered questions that I never asked but spoke about in my book. I wrote it from Grandpa’s perspective to try to put you all in his shoes. I wish he could read it and tell me if I did a good job telling his story.
Now it’s done. It’s out there and I feel proud, relieved, and fearful. It is like the naked dream, because while my book was sitting on my computer, I was safe. Now my words are exposed and that is a scary feeling, but I have no regrets.
I am grateful to your suggestions on what changes to make on each revision. You encouraged me when I had doubts about continuing. You all have busy lives, which makes me all the more thankful for your help.
So it’s available on Kindle now and in paperback tomorrow. (Don’t worry. I will give you each a copy) In a month or so, it will be available online at other booksellers such as Barnes and Noble and Books a Million.