How a boy from a one-room schoolhouse on the South Dakotan prairie became a Foreign Service officer

"Here I was on July 4, 1955, expected to assume duties as Press Attaché and Information Officer, American Embassy, Caracas, Venezuela - after only two months of practical orientation in Washington, preceded by five years of corporate public relations, a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, courtesy of the GI Bill, and roots…

Here’s What Surprised Me…

My mother, Nancy Amerson, was part of a group of friends on Cape Cod that met each month under the moniker of "Stitch and Bitch." Some of these women also were part of Mom's book group, which operated a little differently than the "Oprah bookclub" model: rather than all reading the same book, each participant…

Celebrating the Fourth in Caracas

At 2AM July 3, 1955, my parents and I, a 8 month-old, arrived at the seaside airport down the mountains from Caracas. It had been a marathon: driving up to NYC from DC, where they'd had two months of orientation training, leaving the car at  loading docks, and taking our 10 pieces of luggage to…

Josefina’s Niñas

As the only daughter of a Midwestern spendthrift shop keeper, Mom would have found it laughably ridiculous to be told as a teenager that she would one day command household staff. That she would do so in different languages thousands of miles from home would have added to the impossibility of such a notion. Sometimes…