Memoir on Communism

The following is a short memoir I wrote for my mom regarding our trip across Russia during the Cold War when the Iron Curtain was still up. For those who think Communism or Socialism is great, here is a bit of reality from the perspective of an American Family in Communist Russia.

Train Ride through Tyranny.

It was June of 1970. The Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union was ongoing. My husband, Don Moline, and I, with our three children, had just completed three years of service at the Okinawa Christian School in Okinawa, Japan. We were preparing to leave for the US. But Don had a dream – to circle the globe.The journey had begun when we left Michigan for Okinawa aboard the SS President Wilson. Now his plan was to return by way of the Soviet Union and Europe, then across the Atlantic Ocean to New York. This was not an impulsive idea. The Asian travel agency had assured him that there was little danger to American tourists. After all, they had money to spend, and wasn’t that the bottom line?

It was a tired old albatross of a ship that carried us from Japan to the Siberian port city of Nakhodka in the most southeastern corner of the Soviet Union, not too many miles from the border with China. We met our tourist guide in a small cafe there. He was to assist us on our trip across the continent (disguised surveillance). He had just graduated from the University of Moscow with majors in English and history, and he had been assigned this summer job. He was going to be teaching in the fall. We asked where he would be going. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I do not choose; the government will tell me.” I am afraid our faces showed a bit of shock, which in turn embarrassed him. We realized we needed to be more guarded in our responses.

Almost immediately we were directed to the train which was to take us to the airport in Vladivostok for the flight to Moscow. Regulations regarding train stations were strict, no photos of the depots or any railroad crossings were permitted. The view from the train windows were like scenes from Old West movies – small wooden houses, horse-drawn farm equipment, no paved roads, a few small villages set in a sparse, bleak landscape.

If regulations for travel by train were strict, those for air travel were even more stringent. We were instructed not to leave the holding area that we were herded into. We were also informed that even Soviet citizens were not allowed to travel farther than seven miles from home without a government permit.

Moscow greeted us with dismal, cold rain. We were directed to an ancient noisy bus and transported to a large hotel in the downtown area. Once a magnificent edifice from the time of the Czars, it was now only a shadow of its former self. Threadbare carpeting, faded drapes, and sparse furniture spoke loudly of hard times. People on the streets were generally shabbily dressed in mostly dark colors. They were not friendly – you did not see them congregating on the streets laughing and talking. This was discouraged by the ever-present military personnel (couldn’t risk an uprising you know).

We visited the usual tourist attractions – the enormous Red Square, the ornate, towering cathedrals and palaces of the past, the Grand Circus, The Children’s Theatre, and the only real store (by our standards) the GUM Department Store. The problem with that was that the ordinary citizen could not afford its products, nor were they in plentiful supply. The real markets were small family stalls where people waited in long lines to purchase daily necessities. Another evidence of underlying poverty was the city zoo. That set of wire cages would have been immediately shut down in the US. For most animals the cages were far too small and there seemed to be no effort to create any resemblance to their natural habitats.

During our stay in Moscow, I had an opportunity to try out the healthcare system. I had a bronchial infection and was very congested. The state-operated clinic was on the second floor of a very plain older building almost devoid of any of the amenities that would make it a welcoming place. The woman doctor spoke little English so she communicated with pictures of the body. I was to point to the picture that indicated where the problem was, even though I thought it was rather obvious without any pictures. However, better safe than sorry. I was given a bottle of some type of powder to sniff. No charge, but no opportunity for a second opinion if needed. The powder did help to a limited extent.

On the fourth day in Moscow we boarded a bus which would take us to the city of Kiev (capital city of the Ukraine) to connect with a train that would eventually take us to Austria, a non-Communist country. It was here the tyranny referred to in the title of this account became frightfully apparent. The train station was crowded with people and trains – people who spoke another language and trains with unreadable (to us) destinations. We showed our tickets to passers-by but all they would do is say “Nyet” (no). We joined the long line at the ticket window but time was running out. Finally, in desperation Don jumped up and down yelling, “I need help!” Immediately the police were there, hustling us off to the proper train. The rules of etiquette seem to be that people should not assert themselves and disturb the sense of order and routine.

All the trains were the green color of the old Pullmans of the mid-1900s in the US. Some had compartments with bunk beds that folded down into seats. We had one of those. Soon after we boarded, the officers came. They examined everything we had carried on. They wanted to know why we had so many Bibles (each of us had our own) probably guessing we were Bible smugglers. I had a book I was in the process of reading which they considered propaganda. We were under suspicion. I noted that one of the inspectors showed an interest in a Pogo cartoon book and a math book I had. I offered them to him and suddenly our inspection was over.

As we neared the Czechoslovakian border an interesting phenomenon occurred. Our train car was raised up and new wheels placed under it. The tracks for the Soviet trains are a different width than the European ones and to be able to continue, the wheels had to be changed. When we crossed the border there were new inspections. The military police lined the tracks with their dogs and guns as we pulled into the border check point. They searched the roofs of the cars, the undersides, the insides. They even insisted on taking my purse (allowing me to keep a bit of money) and it was not returned until we arrived at Prague.

That was only the beginning. We were the only Americans in that car (and perhaps on the entire train) so the Military Police requested quite firmly that Don leave the car – not moving yet – and go with them to a small building some yards away. He was gone for about ten minutes when the train began revving up its engine. This time I went into action. “This train is not leaving without my husband,” I shouted to anyone who would listen. There were numerous Germany-bound passengers who kept repeating, “Hab kein angst,” have no fear, but they also had their noses pressed against the window panes with anxious faces.

As the train began to move we spotted Don running desperately towards the still open car door. Just as it seemed he wouldn’t make it, two of the men reached out that door and pulled him up. Thank the Lord for these Good Samaritans! During that brief interrogation in that little shed Don was accused of having a faulty passport. Don’s reply was that it must be legal; their government had issued it. After a bit more harassment they let him go, but invalidated a permit he had to stay overnight in Prague, the capitol of Czechoslovakia.

In the meantime, Czech soldiers had entered one of the forward cars for the change-over. After we had crossed the border into their country they came to our car and again Don was requested to leave with military officers. This time he came back with a different story. The Czechs called on him in order to apologize for the behavior of the Russians who had also overrun their country. “We love Nixon,” they said. “We love America.”

The brief stop in Prague was very revealing as well. Russian soldiers, dogs, and rifles where everywhere. A man selling flowers in the train station told us his story. After the Russian take-over he determined to get his son out of the country. He was the owner of a large manufacturing company and got permission to do business in Vienna, Austria. On some pretense he managed to get permission for his son to accompany him. He came back, but his son did not. His son went to America and at that time was attending MIT. The father’s factory was confiscated and he was permitted only this flower stand in the railroad station. “I will never see my son again,” he said. “But he is free! He is free!”

We were now in the last segment of our journey through tyranny – Prague to Vienna. We had found the praises of Lenin coming through the loud speakers at railroad stations and public places rather depressing. So had many of the Czech citizenry. On that train an elderly woman who had lived in her country when it was still free suddenly clapped her hands over her ears and screamed, “I can’t take it anymore. They took everything from me – everything.” Soon soldiers came, opened up her suitcase, rifled through it and scattered its contents. Total desecration of human dignity.

A few hours later we crossed the border into Austria – no inspections, no interrogations, no military police or dogs. Just the precious breath of freedom! There was only one moment more overwhelming than this – the sight of the Statue of Liberty as we flew over New York Harbor. That lady in the harbor spoke not only of freedom, but of HOME!

As my brother and I reviewed this story, we remembered some things that struck us enough at the time to be remembered years later. My brother recalls the Russians offering our father vodka, my mother remembered this also when my brother brought the incident up. Neither of them could remember if he actually took a drink or not, however at that time it would have been offensive to turn down an offer of Russian vodka.

As for myself, I have always remembered the changing of the train’s gauge so it could finish the journey on different size tracks. I clearly recall laying on the top bunk in the train car and watching the men work. One of the guards noticed this and came in and we were told that we could not watch. We were not allowed to look out the window at all.

I also remember the small, dirty cages at the zoo as my mother has previously mentioned. The conditions were not fit for such large animals. The things that struck me the most was Red Square, the Kremlin, and most of all, St. Basil’s Cathedral. What a contrast here. St. Basil’s Cathedral was very colorful and had accents and highlights of real gold, while the Russian people and most of Russia seemed drab and colorless.

Lastly, I have never gotten the smell of the sea out of my system. Any time I am near water and ships I recall the voyage from Japan to Russia by ship. That smell sticks with you. I can see why sailors love the sea, there is just something about the smell of sea that you cannot describe. It has to be experienced.




So another mass shooting in a gun free school zone and the NRA is to blame? Really? White guy shoots blacks in a church and a flag is at fault. Black guy shoots white people in a school (who singled out Christians) and the NRA is at fault. Come on.

Blame the people criminal, not inanimate objects or organizations whose members are pretty much 100% America loving, Constitution loving, law-abiding citizens. name a mass shooting committed by an NRA member? Just one. I’ll bet you can’t.

Hillary Clinton chimed in with a real stupid comment about NRA members being like Iranians. Can you see the hypocrisy? NRA members are like Iranians yet Clinton supports Iran having a nuclear program and weapons grade nuclear material. Like I said on Facebook, that is like saying criminals should have guns. I mean seriously, if Iranians are so bad, why give them nuclear materials knowing they hate Israel and America and want to wipe the former off the face of the Earth and subjugate the latter? That is like giving a known criminal a gun and pointing him towards a gun free zone.

Idiot liberal Democrats, your hypocrisy is showing.

Tears and Prayers

People who know me know that I am as Pro Life they come. The murder of unborn babies bothers me far more than the dead bodies I’ve pulled from cars after being killed by drunk drivers.  And after twenty-eight years as a firefighter that is quite a few bodies.

After the video revelations of Planned Parenthood selling aborted baby organs my feelings got stronger. What makes it worse is the ugliness coming from the left who see abortion and selling baby organs as normal. Because, you know, even aborted full term babies aren’t humans. Unborn babies are just a mass of tissue. Sadly, there are Christians who are also pro abortion. I pray for them.

Then there are the Pro Life Christians who voted twice for Obama, the most pro abortion president in American history. A vote for Obama is a vote for abortion. How can Christians support abortion or Obama? I call it willful blindness. Or willingly being led astray by Satan. Same difference really.

There are utterly insane liberal leftists who still claim that Planned Parenthood is a woman’s health clinic. And there are those who still claim that Planned Parenthood does not do abortions. Right.

In reality, Planned Parenthood itself has decreased cancer screenings and other preventive care since 2004, all the while increasing the number of abortions its affiliates perform annually by about 70,000.

Maybe people need to read this.
The Truth About Defunding Planned Parenthood and Women’s Access to Health Care

But those who need to read the truth don’t want the truth. The truth is unbearable because these people would have to have heart and a conscience. Forbid that to happen. I pray for them. 

Meanwhile I shed tears for the murdered unborn. And pray for the unborn not yet murdered. 

Bad deals all around

Between a horrible Iran deal and the outing of Planned Parenthood’s selling aborted murdered unborn baby parts, it seems the American people are just getting raw and bad deals from the U.S. government. Of course the deals are really bad if you are an aborted child or Israel.

If John Kerry really thinks Iran is going follow anything in this deal, then he doesn’t live on planet Earth. Ever since Jimmy Carter flubbed relations with Iran they have been our enemy. Previous to Carter they were an ally. Now they are the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism. And yet liberals and Kerry think they can control Iran. Wow.

You know Iran can’t be controlled. And they won’t be. Right on cue, Iran goes out and places an order for 100 Soviet air refueling craft. Yep. One-hundred.

– See more at:

Great deal my butt. As the deal was being made Iranians were chanting death to America and Israel while  burning the flags of both countries. The Ayatollah stated that America would be defeated in a war against Iran. 

Here are four good reasons why the deal with Iran is bad for everybody. 

4 Reasons Iran Deal Would Take Us Closer to Nuclear War

Good deal? Good grief no. 

What Good’s a Constitution?

A timely read by Winston Churchill considering our Constitution is being attacked and negated, even by the Supreme Court of the United States. 

What Good’s a Constitution

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

from The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, pp. 737-744

Written soon after Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic Convention Address of 1936, this article by British statesman Winston Churchill points to the wide gulf between Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s economic views, even if five years later they would forge a close wartime alliance. Beyond their differences on economics, Churchill sees the American Constitution as an enduring source of strength for the American republic, not an obstacle to be overcome.

August 22, 1936 ….I judge the civilization of any community by simple tests. What is the degree of freedom possessed by the citizen or subject? Can he think, speak and act freely under well-established, well-known laws? Can he criticize the executive government? Can he sue the State if it has infringed his rights? Are there also great processes for changing the law to meet new conditions?

Judging by these standards, Great Britain and the United States can claim to be in the forefront of civilized communities. But we owe this only in part to the good sense and watchfulness of our citizens. In both our countries the character of the judiciary is a vital factor in the maintenance of the rights and liberties of the individual citizen.

Our judges extend impartially to all men protection, not only against wrongs committed by private persons, but also against the arbitrary acts of public authority. The independence of the courts is, to all of us, the guarantee of free-dom and the equal rule of law.

It must, therefore, be the first concern of the citizens of a free country to preserve and maintain the independence of the courts of justice, however inconvenient that independence may be, on occasion, to the government of the day.

But all this implies peace conditions, an atmosphere of civilization rather than militarization or officialization. It implies a balance and equipoise of society which can be altered only gradually. It is so hard to build the structure of a vast economic community, and so easy to upset it and throw it into confusion. The onus must lie always upon those who propose a change, and the process of change is hardly ever beneficial unless it considers what is due to the past as well as what is claimed for the future.

It is for these reasons among many others that the founders of the American Republic in their Dec- laration of Independence inculcate as a duty binding upon all worthy sons of America ‘a frequent recurrence to first principles’.

Do not let us too readily brush aside the grand, simple affirmations of the past. All wisdom is not new wisdom. Let us never forget that the glory of the nineteenth century was founded upon what seemed to be the successful putting down of those twin curses, anarchy and tyranny.

The question we are discussing is whether a fixed constitution is a bulwark or a fetter. From what I have written it is plain that I incline to the side of those who would regard it as a bulwark, and that I rank the citizen higher than the State, and regard the State as useful only in so far as it preserves his inherent rights.

All forms of tyranny are odious. It makes very little difference to the citizen, father of a family, head of a household, whether tyranny comes from a royal or imperial despot, or from a Pope or Inquisitor, or from a military caste, or from an aristocratic or plutocratic oligarchy, or from a ring of employers, or a trade union, or a party caucus—or worst of all, from a terrified and infuriated mob. ‘A man’s a man for a’ that.’ The whole point is, whether he can make head against oppression in any of its Protean shapes, and defend the island of his home, his life and soul…

When one considers the immense size of the United States and the extraordinary contrasts of cli- mate and character which differentiate the forty-eight sovereign states of the American Union, as well as the inevitable conflict of interests between North and South and between East and West, it would seem that the participants of so vast a federation have the right to effectual guarantees upon the fundamental laws, and that these should not be easily changed to suit a particular emergency or fraction of the country.

The founders of the Union, although its corpus was then so much smaller, realized this with pro- found conviction. They did not think it possible to entrust legislation for so diverse a community and enormous an area to a simple majority. They were as well acquainted with the follies and in- tolerance of parliaments as with the oppression of princes. ‘To control the powers and conduct of the legislature,’ said a leading member of the Convention of 1787, ‘by an overruling constitution was an improvement in the science and practice of government reserved to the American States.’

All the great names of American history can be invoked behind this principle. Why should it be considered obsolete? If today we are framing that constitution for a ‘United States of Europe’ for which so many thinkers on this side of the ocean aspire, fixed and almost unalterable guarantees would be required by the acceding nations.

It may well be that this very quality of rigidity, which is today thought to be so galling, has been a prime factor in founding the greatness of the United States. In the shelter of the Constitution nature has been conquered, a mighty continent has been brought under the sway of man, and an economic entity established, unrivalled in the whole history of the globe….

Winston S. Churchill, “What Good’s a Constitution?” Collier’s 98 (August 22, 1936): 386–93.
Reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown, London, on behalf of the Estate of Sir Winston Churchill. Copyright © Winston S. Churchill.

Guns Don’t Save Lives?

The liberal gun and 2nd Amendment haters love to say that owning guns doesn’t save lives, that it is far more dangerous to protect yourself with a gun than it is to just simply call the police. But wait, aren’t these the same liberals that tell us all police are killers and racists and we should stay away from them because they are all just itching to kill somebody? Yep. Guns save the lives of law abiding citizens everyday. The anti-gun media is complicit in perpetuating the lie that law abiding citizens with guns never save lives. Thus, they never show us the many incidents of armed, law abiding citizens saving lives every day. These incidents far out number the incidents of criminals using guns. The media doesn’t want you to know this.

Follow the link below for just a small sampling of what happens every day in the US.

Bearing Arms: Guns Saving Lives

Busting the lies.
Another Gun Control Claim Bites the Dust

Let’s Spy and Tell

As if having a different opinion isn’t bad enough, now silence is forbbiden. At least in the world of the Democommunists. Democrats now want people to spy on those who DON’T say bad things about people who have an opposing opinion or, in the case of Donald Trump, simply a big mouth. This is getting out of hand.

Only tyrants want people to spy on people and report their actions, or in this case, inaction.

Spies Like Us

Or spy like a good little Communist/Socialist/Marxist.

I’m Back

I’m back and I’m angry. Not hateful, but angry. No love either as my state of Michigan and my country are heading in the wrong direction; away from their roots and the people’s rights.

Hey people of Michigan, cry at the pump when you put gas in your tank. As of  today it is going to cost you fifteen cents more a gallon thanks to our legislature voting an increase today. Didn’t we the people, and a great majority of us at that, just vote no on this? Yes we did. And obviously those in Lansing didn’t hear our loud vote. Instead all they heard was cha-ching.

I wonder how much of this tax will be appropriated to non-road expenditures? You know that will happen right? Right. Good night for now. More to come.

For more info previous to today’s vote go here Right Michigan