Just One Moment

I just can’t ignore this historical event. I spent one year sharing memories of my life—some as silly as the admission that I once brushed my teeth with Bengay pain relief cream or the fact that I spent many summer days trying to catch birds with a salt shaker. I blogged for three years about my father’s very unusual childhood growing up in the Soviet Union. This week it’s time to step back and be happy for the historical moment unfolding at our feet.

My grandmother was finally able to cast a vote for president when she was twenty-five years old—in 1920—which was when my father was not yet walking.

Among my father’s newspapers I found a newspaper published when I was about to enter eighth grade. A careful look at the employment ads shows that they were separated into what someone determined to be “male/female jobs.” Those were the days when women worked as secretaries and men always ran the show.

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When I went to college in 1973, my plan was to be a math teacher. Perhaps an engineering career would have been a better fit, but it just never occurred to me. No one suggested it; no one planted the idea in my mind because engineering was typically a men’s field at the time.

Now I have lived to see our first black president, and this week, I am watching as the first woman has been nominated to run for President of the United States. While I understand the dislike of Hillary Clinton by some, I do not understand why all women cannot step back and think about how far we have come since that election in 1920 when my grandmother—and all women—were finally allowed to vote. Now my granddaughters can truly grow up believing that they can be anything.

My dream is that for just a moment, all women can put aside politics and be excited for how far we have come. I would hope that if my father was alive today, as the father of three daughters, a grandfather of seven granddaughters, and a great-grandfather of  a little girl born during the year a woman finally appeared on the ballot for President, he could appreciate that moment as well. Why not for a least one moment?



About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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2 Responses to Just One Moment

  1. Ellie P. says:

    Hi, Karen! Thanks for liking my piece, 60 Years: Then and Now. I just noted that your book – which looks to be fascinating! – was self-published, right? I’m wondering if that was your plan all along, or did you try the seemingly endless (!) process of trying to find an agent and/or publisher first? Of course the reason I ask is because I’ve written a book too and have started my search, but am starting to wonder if I’m deluding myself. Probably! 😀 At least I still have my sense of humour, though! Did you find the self-publishing route expensive, difficult and time-consuming, as others have experienced? I’m soooo hoping to avoid all that. In any case, best of luck to you!


    • kjw616 says:

      Hi Ellie,

      There was no plan regarding how to publish my book because I never intended to write a book. (This explains what happened: https://herodad.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/maintaining-control/ )

      Self-publishing was not very hard. I had done it previously, writing a family history using Lulu, which allows you to publish a hardcover book. I used Amazon’s Createspace this time, reading that it was easier to use. It does not enable you to publish a hardcover, but I didn’t think anyone would care. Would anyone even buy it no matter what form I used, I wondered.

      Of course I would love it to be flying off the sheleves, but for me, it is a story about my dad–a very unique story I wanted to share with my children but I still have hopes that others out there interested in a unique moment of history and a David vs. Goliath story will find it interesting. (the jury is still out since I have not even sold 50 books since May!)

      I found Createspace and Amazon KDP, which is the kindle version, easy to use. What took the most time was reformatting my Word Document to work with their requirements. For example, I needed to format the document for the size of the book I wanted, which took time. Also, when I learned to type, I was told to put 2 spaces after a period, which is not the convention, so I needed to change that. But in the end, it was not very hard.

      What is the most difficult in self-publishing is the fact that you have no one marketing your book. It is all on you and that is no easy task. (50 books proves that.) While I acknowledge my book is not for everyone–no book is–I think there are more than 50 people in THE WORLD that should be interested in learning what happens when six children from the United States are suddenly told that they are moving to the Soviet Union, and then they want to return but it’s not very easy in the middle of a war!

      I tried for one year to go the traditional route, but I got no interest, so I decided because of the personal nature of the book, I did not want someone telling me what I should cut from the manuscript. So you need to figure out what you want to do. I set a time limit of 12 months, and then I decided to do it myself. Writing the book is easy compared to figuring out how to get readers!

      Hope this helps but does not discourage you. There are a lot of other authors out there with suggestions. Don’t give up! —Karen

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