FREE AT LAST!

11121108_901618896543204_2134959369_n[1]

SILVIA SANCHEZ is FREE!!!! She has been granted parole! Thank you everyone for your prayers and positive thoughts. This is truly one of the best days of my life. When I think back on this journey that started twenty years ago at a steel table at Central Juvenile Hall, when I met Silvia for the first time. Seeing her change and grow over those three years, and then having to say good-bye and then all these years since. She never gave up, she never gave in, she continued to better herself and her family stood by her and her attorney, Barbara Dunn. I remember her saying to me before leaving for prison, “the journey is long but I’m gonna make it” and at that time it seemed like it would never end, twenty-five years to life. But she did make it. I should add, it will be a while before she is out. I20 days or so but if Governor Brown signs her release earlier than it could be earlier. But at least now she knows there is a day when she will be home.

AGAINST THE TIDE

Happy Birthday to my dad who passed away over a year ago. My mom passed away last October. One memory that really sums up my dad: we were about to get off a ferry somewhere in Norway (I was a kid) and everyone was pressing towards an exit that wasn’t open but with the zombie crowd thinking, they had all decided to blindly follow those in front of them. Just like sheep to the slaughter. My dad wasn’t having any of that. He turned around and started to move against the tide, in the “wrong” direction. As usual, I was embarrassed that my dad was causing a scene, triggering dirty looks and comments (unintelligible) from those around us. Why couldn’t he just blend in and be patient for once? But no, he forged onward advising in a loud voice that everyone should follow him, and sure enough, we made it out of that hot press of bodies to fresh air, space and an open exit, which we walked through to freedom. The entire mass of people had shifted direction to follow us, and in keeping with the fickle nature of the crowd, they were now smiling instead of sneering. It seems like a small thing, easily forgotten but such experiences had a profound influence in my life. I learned in this manner to think for myself and not be intimidated by groups of people putting pressure on me. The crowds wouldn’t always necessarily end of smiling and sometimes I might make mistakes about the best path, but it was important to make my own choices, learn from them and use my own brain to reach conclusions. That trait in my dad probably caused within me the most irritation and embarrassment, as well as the most pride and budding courage. I loved him for setting an example that I could hold onto later in life when times were tough and I wanted to give up on my beliefs or the difficult paths I had chosen. That childhood training saw me through.  

Chateau d’Echandens, my childhood home above Lake Geneva

10446009_10154404858730360_7464519354027382445_n[1]Into the World is my childhood memoir of our traveling adventures during the turbulent 1960’s and it was inspiring to visit the 17th century castle I lived in as a child in the village of Echandens, above Lake Geneva. Wow, it wasn’t a dream! I really did live here and attend the village school with my sister and two brothers. The school hasn’t changed, although the scary old teacher, Madame Petriquain, who looked like all the most frightening Disney witches combined, is long gone. Part of the story tells of the mysterious old lady who owned the castle, Madame Franco, and her sinister son and how one stormy night she fell down the winding stone staircase in the central tower and claimed that her son had pushed her. What would a castle be without a mystery?