Question: Are you enjoying growing up in Poland?
Milosz: I’ve never been anywhere else, but I can’t imagine a better place. Sometimes, when my feet are especially hurting me, I get up early and watch the sun come up. From our farmhouse window, the town is silhouetted on the horizon. When the rising sun hits the bell in the church tower just right, it casts a red beam across the fields. It’s like a special message from God.
Question: You mentioned your feet: Why do they hurt?
Milosz: I was born with what most people call ‘club feet.’ My feet and ankles didn’t form properly so no shoes fit. Custom made shoes are too expensive for us, so I wear shoes made for normal feet and they rub bleeding blisters in five different places. Plus, they ache. But someday, I’m going to have surgery in Krakow and then I’ll be able to walk normally. I sometimes dream of how it would be to run without pain.
Question: Do you go to school?
Milosz: I used to. Our new schoolmaster, Mr. Nowak is a Nazi. Since I’m part Jewish and I have club feet, he was often cruel to me. One day, Mr. Nowak beat me because he said I was late to school, but I wasn’t! My big brother, Jakub, knocked him down. Even if Mr. Nowak would have let us come back to school, Jakub and my parents would never have let me go after that.
Question: What was your favorite subject in school?
Milosz: I suppose Mathematics was my favorite. But I could get the assignments done in a few minutes when most of the class would take ten times that long. That used to make Mr. Nowak mad, too. He said I was showing off.
Question: What are you doing about your education now?
Milosz: Aleks is Jakub’s and my best friend. His grandfather, Mr. Wojcik, lets us read anything we want from his library. The Wojciks are rich and Mr. Wojcik is always buying books. When Aleks had to stay indoors to heal for several weeks, (I’m not supposed to tell anyone what happened to keep him in bed all that time,) I liked to go and sit with him. I helped him with his studies and in the free time, I read piles of books.
Question: Did you have a favorite?
Milosz: Yes, I read about this man who is also a Jew. His name is Albert Einstein. He had a theory about mass, time and velocity. He named it the Theory of Relativity. I thought that was interesting, but I didn’t agree with his belief that the speed of light was the limiting factor in the universe.
Question: I don’t quite understand.
Milosz: Sometimes I get an answer to a question before I even finish asking it. I think God can use energy that travels at the speed of thought. Maybe someday there will be a famous theory called “Milosz’s Theory of the Speed of Thought.”
Question: What have you done or do you do that you don’t want others to know?
Milosz: Well, I’d be stupid to answer that, wouldn’t I? But I guess if you won’t tell on me, there are two things. First I hide my vegetables. I put them in my stockings, or I toss them in the stove: anywhere to get rid of them. The other thing is that sometimes I fake my pain. Mother will let me rest when I’m in a lot of pain, so sometimes I cry when I don’t want to do a chore. The problem with that is that Jakub can always tell when I’m faking and he tells our mother.
Question: Which of you does your mother believe?
Milosz: Haha! Usually me! She’ll tell Jakub that he should have more compassion. Then he calls me a crybaby.
Question: Does that hurt your feelings?
Milosz: No, not really. Jakub is telling the truth. When I’m crying to get my way, I’m being a crybaby, aren’t I? I don’t think anyone should get mad when someone tells the truth. Even if it’s something we don’t want to admit.
Question: What about Jakub? What are his secrets?
Milosz: Jakub is perfect. He doesn’t have any faults.
Question: What is your greatest fear? I suppose with war coming, you’re afraid of Nazis?
Milosz: Not exactly for myself. I have night terrors where the swastikas turn into spiders. But they’re chasing my big brother, Jakub, and our friend Aleks. I’m chasing the spiders, but I can never catch them because I’m so slow. I yell and scream to try to get the spiders’ attention away from Jakub and Aleks.
Question: What is your family doing to get ready in case the Nazis invade?
Milosz: We’re poor and we don’t have much extra to store up. But Aleks’ grandfather is buying food and blankets and tools and all sorts of stuff for us to keep in our secret hideout. Once, Jakub and Aleks and I had to stay in the hideout overnight. I didn’t have night terrors at all that night, even though the hideout is totally dark. If we have to go to the hideout to keep safe from the Nazis, I think it will be fun!
Question: Do you have a prize possession?
Milosz: Not in the way most people think of a possession. But I would do anything in the world to protect my brother. He’s my prize possession. Our friend Aleks is another of my prize possessions.
Question: Thank you for your time, Milosz. Is there anything you would like to say before we close?
Milosz. Yes, I think that most people let bad things happen as long as they don’t bother them. But I want to do everything I can to stop evil, even if I am just a little boy. If evil isn’t stopped, it grows until it does affect us and the people we love. Love should give all of us courage to try to stop evil as soon as we can.
The stories that emerge from pages of true of history, recent or distant, demand to be told. My job as an author of fiction is to tell the stories of lives, places and events that history did not quite record. As a successful newspaper columnist, I’m fastidious about accurate research.
As my husband and I travel the wide world, stories whisper to us from the ancient buildings, ruins of civilizations, and battlefields grown green with wildflowers. Mountains and meadows, rivers, plains and seas: what a fascinating world the Lord has given us!
As a mother 7 children, some of my favorite memories are gathering my children around the wood stove on winter nights and telling them stories of magic, courage, and faith.
I also love the thrill of riding a bike on a mountain trail or a raft on an Amazon river. I love paddling a kayak in the Boundary waters or northern rivers. I’ve swum in many seas, been bitten by a wild sea turtle and held a shark in the ocean. I’ve climbed the Pyramids and floated the Nile. I’ve seen the palaces and battlefields of the world. I’ve visited Auschwitz and Rome and hiked the Great Wall of China. I’ve seen the northern lights. I’ve eaten live termites in Ecuador, fried silk worms in Thailand, a full Scottish breakfast in the Highlands. I tried and failed to walk on the Sea of Galilee and I touched the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I haggled with merchants in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and stood on Mars Hill in Athens.
I celebrate the first garden sprouts of my melons, tomatoes, and beets. I count the fruit on my trees, and feel the pinch of thinning the fruit in my own body. I built a playhouse for my grandchildren, and love to watch them grow.
How grateful I am for Jesus Christ! I love Him! I love my family, I love America and this whole wonderful world.