As I’ve been walking through the University of Washington campus this week researching for a story in my collection that’s set, in part, here in Seattle in the 1930s, it’s occurred to me that my father’s father was a student at the University of Washington not much after that.
My father’s father, who died a few years ago, wasn’t one to share much about his past. But he came to school here at the University of Washington as a newly orphaned teenager. He played the flute and the piccolo and diligently studied science. In just a few years his life would take an entirely new arc: he’d join the army, study medicine, go oversees, settle east.
In subject and content the stories in my collection have nothing to do with my family. Yet the idea for the first story sparked from a letter my mother’s father wrote home from wartime Hawaii. By coincidence, through the winding intricacies of research, the last story in my collection has led me to Seattle. Somehow, twelve years and 3,000 miles later, this book that started with the letters of one grandfather has now brought me to the other.