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…

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…

La brutta figura

Behavior matters,especially when you're in a Foreign Service family. After Dad's initial four years in balmy Caracas, we moved in 1959 to Milan, where there were strict rules governing how things were done.  Although Dad’s job at the USIA office required my mother to be available for after-hours socializing and cultural events, finding a live-in…

Making a (Little) Difference

I’d like to think that, as a kid, I would have been like the Parkland students leading the  march for gun control in Washington, DC: passionate about justice, and empowered by truth. Probably not: it’s a high bar. Still, Mom and Dad raised my sister and me with the belief  that people’s actions could make…