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First meeting between M.G. Crisci and Yelena Sivolap

Capturing that First Moment

Creating and writing Call Sign, White Lily with Yelena Sivolap had been an amazing collaboration for almost two years. Imagine, a Russian school teacher and an American author, products of two cultures that had been long-time enemies, came to trust each other; to laugh about each other’s preconceived notions; and to build an enduring monument to one of the world’s great female heroes, the beautiful, fun-loving young girl from Moscow, Lilia Litvyak, who died far too young (age 21), and has been lost in time far too long (68 years).  Along the way, Lena and I became brother and sister.

Despite the cascade of emails, letters, and Skype conversations, we were about to meet in person for the first time. My wife, Mary Ann, and I had traveled 8,000 miles from Carlsbad, California to Krasny Luch, Ukraine.  As I stepped out of the car, I could feel the joy and disbelief in Lena’s eyes. We hugged, and wept tears of joy. Fortunately, my wife captured it all on video. I hope you savor the moment as much as I did.

My journey with Lena has also forever changed my view of the world.  This arrogant, insular American with no prior political aspirations, no Russian ancestry, and little care about the world at large, created a proper, but belated thank you to the families of the 40 million Russians who perished during World War II.

DATE: Nov.07.2011 | CATEGORY: Archived