Holocaust  

The Missing Thousand Days: THE CLUES

On March 27, 1940, in defiance of her mother’s wishes, Rosa Butorina (my mother’s real name) married a swarthy, Rudolph Valentino-esque man 20 years her senior. This is the last known photograph of her before she was captured by the Nazis in Poltava. The Nazi…

“You don’t believe in Death!”

“You don’t believe in Death! ” my mother said in a moment of piquancy during our customary game of thrust and parry whenever it came to trying to unearth her war-time secrets. The sheer force of her personality. The power of that voice. And her…

I used to dream I could fly.

I used to dream I could fly. A spirited run, a leap into the air, and the wind-milling of arms would send me skimming over the telephone poles that lined the gravel streets and wooden sidewalks of Netherhill, Saskatchewan.  Then, it was simply a matter…

Ten days on the edge of Siberia, what mysteries will unravel?

Time seems to stand still in this place straddling the European and Asian borders of Russia. Lenin has been stripped of his pedestals in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. But five hours to the east, ‘He’ remains a sentinel to an industrial city…

“Don’t cry for me, my daughter…I lived through some hellish times, but no one got the best of me.”

  It would be the last interview. On my mother’s 84th birthday, I ambushed her with a television camera at her apartment in Calgary, Alberta, downplaying the invasion of lights, cables, and microphones, as “some friends popping by.” She looked at me, and, drolly asked,…

Love In The Time Of Chaos And Rubble

“They are immortalized at the moment of their greatest joy, their eyes brimming with optimism.” My mother, Agnes Spicer, is part of an extraordinary art exhibit of 22 remarkable Canadian war-brides ‘going home’ to Holland. In August, 1946, on board the RMS Mauretania, she traveled…