Welcome to the New Wild West!



Acrid smoke rising

Broken glass underfoot

Machine guns watching

My children smile at fate.

5 October 1993  – Moscow, Russia


Expectations are elusive creatures often mimicking chameleons in the sand of our hopes and dreams.

I remember when we first broke the news to our children that we were moving to Russia. Claire embraced the opportunity with all the joy and hope an eight year old could muster calling it the “opportunity of lifetime.” Christopher at age eleven took the opposite view, openly weeping in deep grief at the loss of all he held dear as if every dream he’d owned  instantly transformed into a smashed picture on the floor of his life.

Claire expected the best. Christopher expected the worst. It was both.

The-October-3-RiotOpposite worlds collided on a bridge overlooking the burned out White House in the dawn of the first morning after the failed Coup attempt. The children’s smiles belie an uneasy calm just outside the camera’s eye as several dozen heavily armed Russian soldiers glare at me immortalizing the improbable moment.   This is, after all, the morning after the White House siege. People died here.

The crunch of broken glass underfoot in the uncanny silence stamped the sea change emerging in my mind.

We were holding on for dear life to our lofty dreams of the life we had known but thoughts at that moment on that day became a blur of “somewhere over the rainbow” expectations mixed with jarring realities of machine guns, tanks, broken glass, and charred landscapes. We felt like Dorothy came along side to give a most accurate summary.

 Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Say ‘goodbye’ to the insular cushions provided by our circles of seeming protection from harsh realities in life and instead feel the intensity at the danger and rawness of life in the new Wild West.

Hang on tight, kids.

We’re going for quite the roller coaster ride.

© Barbara LaTondresse – 5 October 1993 – all rights reserved



Quote and image  courtesy of:



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