I apologize to the daily readers of the GWM blog, but the diary took a rest while I was in Egypt.
A bit more exotic than one might expect from a lowly busker, I know, but it was only thanks to a fantastic opportunity presented by my parents to take me and Lady K along. Since winning the Pulitzer, my pops gets invited to pretty much everything, but when the American University in Cairo asked him to come speak, he seized the opportunity as a chance to show us not only a momentous piece of human history, but a piece of his history.
For those who haven’t read his memoir (judging from its snug hold on the 1,136,844th spot in Amazon’s bestsellers, I’ll assume that’s you), my dad somehow managed to secure conscientious objector status during the Vietnam draft, and, pressed to choose an alternate service, he stumbled across the street from the draft office into the open and somewhat desperate arms of AUC’s TEFL program. In fact, they asked him if he could leave that night.
“Well, I need to tell my girlfriend, and my parents, and I need to pack…”
“How about tomorrow then?”
“Oh, that’s fine.”
So began probably one of the most formative and unique chapters of my family’s life. My parents â€” up to that point “hey-it’s-the-sixties” friends with benefits â€” quickly realized they were meant to be together, and their letters of proposal crossed each other over the Atlantic. They met up in Greece in January 1970 (this is before email and even decent international phone service… the logistics are staggering) and were married under the first full moon of the decade by an ex-Nazi priest and about four witnesses.
And so they spent the next two years teaching and studying in a country with no diplomatic relations with their homeland, learning a language and culture completely removed from anything they had pictured growing up in Dallas, Texas, or Mobile, Alabama.
Forty years later (my dad urgently points out it’s 38), we got to see it with them.