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The collapse of Communism in 1989 had a profound effect on our family’s life. In 1990 my wife, Suzi, and I took our sons Brian and Kevin to Prague to be a part of the final act of the Velvet Revolution, the elections that put a stamp on Czechoslovak democracy. The night the Czechoslovak elections were certified I sat in a campground outside Prague and wrote a letter to my family on a yellow legal pad illuminated by a flashlight. That was the first of almost a thousand weekly letters, sent to an expanding list as family members shared them with others who asked to be added to the list.
That night in a campground outside Prague I experienced my midlife crisis and decided that I had to become a part of this history. It led me to quit my job in radio and to become an aid volunteer. The volunteer job became a paying job that led to more than two decades of helping develop independent media throughout the former Communist world and later the Arab world.
Friends kept telling me that I should write a book or at least publish the letters. But organizing the ideas scattered across a thousand letters is just too daunting. Now that I am “semi-retired” (meaning that I no longer live abroad but still consult on development projects) I decided to post a few, with a lot of pictures from my old and decaying website. I also decided to chronicle life in Sitka. I am adding more of the old letters as I have time and new material as my work continues.
I took the picture on this page from my living room window in Sitka, Alaska. It is always good to come home.
©2013 Rich McClear, All Rights Reserved