Peters Traces His RootsOctober, 1994

Page 99

Good Night to All, and to All a Good Night

It took a couple of stops and waiting around offices to get to where we needed to go. Laura and my mom chatted in the car while Gaida and I made the rounds. (The government offices looked just like my apartment and my relatives' homes: wall units stuffed full of books, papers, and knick-knacks - I'm doomed, culturally and genetically the descendent of a nation of pack-rats.) Once at the right office, where we had first gone(!), it took only ten minutes to hand in my archive findings. But by the time we were done and drove home to Riga, it was close to midnight.

Vija had been house-sitting with Erna; Velga came over to visit with the kids. (You can tell it's past their bedtime!) We snacked, talked a bit, bid a good night - and for me, a safe trip home.

And there's me!
Page 100
A stairway to????

Mixed Feelings

I had hoped to go into Riga again, meet Andris Vecrumba, see Lorraine and Josh again, but I simply ran out of time. I think I need a couple more days next trip. Vija picked me up in the morning with one of Maris' friends, Egons, who had volunteered to take me to the airport. (Egons publishes a business daily.) I had mixed emotions this trip. I talked for about an hour with Vija at the airport, confirming my impression of slow progress, disorganized and factionalized government, and resurging local Russian defiance and demands fueled by growing nationalism within Russia to "rebuild the empire." Goals are unclear. And like the stairs parked on the tarmac - an isolated uphill climb - can any of us be sure what awaits at the top?

For now, the future is cloudy at best.

September, 1995, New York

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