Reader’s Responses

Tom welcomes your comments about his book “On the Road in ’68, a year of turmoil, a journey of friendship”.

Please send your memories from that time & comments to tleech@san.rr.com & check back from time to time to see how others have responded. We’ll identify your comment with your email address, unless you want to include your real name.

From readers (and travelers):

Jeff Young 12/28/09 – Watched Soviet tanks heading to Prague

Thanks to Tom Leech for bringing back some interesting memories when I was “On the road in ’68.” I was in Czechoslovakia in late July,1968, on our way to a pre-planned tour of the Soviet Union. Prague was vibrant with the early tastes of freedom, though it proved to be temporary. Folk singers were singing “We Shall Overcome” and other American freedom songs. We were welcomed with open arms as American tourists as we joined the chant of “Viva la Dubcek” (Long live Alexander Dubcek, the leader of Czechoslovakia who attempted to reform the Communist party during the “Prague Spring”).

We drove East from Prague to enter the Soviet Union and witnessed, to our horror, a convoy of Soviet troops headed to Prague. At the border we were greeted by a heavily armed encampment of Soviet troops and a young American girl visiting family in the Soviet Union. She threw her arms around us, sobbing and begging us not to go any further. But we knew what was behind us to the West and really had no choice. The rest, as they say, is history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_Spring

Sam Warren 12/24/09 — Played volleyball with N. Vietnamese

In 1968, I was in the U.S. military and assigned to the embassy in Moscow. I had extra time, so in addition to visiting other embassy parties and giving my own (much of the international communications were done at parties where you couldn’t be bugged and could be off the record) I was the editor of TWIM (This Week In Moscow), my first attempt at writing.

One winter, I organized a broom ball hockey tournament with some of the other friendly embassies. It is played with regular shoes and with brooms. It was hilarious as it was difficult-to-impossible to stand on your feet in regular shoes. So you had these high ranking diplomats falling on their asses. The Finns won hands down. I wondered if they had anything on their shoes or if they were just more used to the ice.

Oh, yes, I played some volleyball with the North Vietnamese. I lived in a large apartment on the ninth floor (the elevator didn’t always work like everything else in the Soviet Union). The N. Viets lived in apartments in the next hall way so we had frequent contact (this, while we and the N. Vietnamese were bombing and killing each other there in SE Asia).

Sam Warren 
editor@SDWriteWay.org
San Diego WriteWay
http://www.SDWriteWay.org / http://www.Bookwarren.com

Vikky Anders 12/23/09 – Book upsets son, for interesting reason

Having just finished reading, On the Road in 68, I handed said book to my forty three year old son, Jamie, and said “Here, read. enjoy”. The following day Jamie returned the book, saying, “Mom, I can’t finish reading this book, it’s too depressing.”

Depressing? How is this possible? This book is a hoot! Time for some mother to son serious grilling.

Ah! The truth is finally revealed. Jamie found On the Road in 68, depressing simply because he never finished college, has no in demand work skills, has never held a good paying job. Nor has he ever saved a dime. Other than that, he too, would have taken off to see the world, trekking with a buddy for a period of time while continually enjoying various and sundry pretty female companions speaking with charming European accents. Instead, he blew it! (Side note here) I hate it when that happens.

Vikky Anders (Jamie’s Mom) 
Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA

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