Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson © 2006     About Me


Q & A Interview
with Ursula Bacon

Tell me about your initial reaction upon arriving in America?
When I arrived in San Francisco, I came “home”.  Having worked for the United States Armed Forces in Shanghai and Nanking for two years after the war, I had become quite “Americanized” and felt like a returning ex-patriot.

Were your expectations of this country met?
Yes, my expectations of the U.S. were met.  I loved it, and still do.

What stood out the most about your new home?
What stood out most was the abundance of food and goods.  I thought the “Dimestore” was Saks Fifth Avenue.

Was it difficult to adapt to a life in the States?
I had no problem learning and adjusting to life in America.  It was as easy as falling off a log.

How long did you live in Denver for?
I lived in Denver from 1947 to 1972.

Did you have a family of your own?
I have a son and a daughter - now two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

What work did you do in when you first arrived in America?
When I came to America I worked in an office for two factory reps until my son was born in 1949. Many years later, I opened a boutique and designed one-of-a-kind evening, cruise, and aprés-ski wear.

Do you have nightmares about Nazi Germany and/or Shanghai, China?
In the early years in America, for a short while, I used to look for a doorway for shelter when I heard a police siren - they sounded like air raid alarms.  I also dreamt about being chased by Japanese soldiers, one of whom I choked to death.

Have you ever been back to Shanghai?
I have not been back to Shanghai.

Have you been back to Germany?
I have traveled to Germany once.

Where did you go and what affect, if any, did it have on you?
I traveled to Germany (Berlin only), under protest, in 1964.  I was uncomfortable during the three days we spent in Berlin (my first husband's hometown), and couldn't wait to get "Home" to America.  I can't explain it, only the feeling that "deep down” THEY had not changed.

Have you managed to live your vow of “I shall never hate anybody ever!”?
Yes, I live my vow, I do NOT hate anybody (just peanut butter).

How did you get into presenting women’s workshops?
Through my publishing and writing career, I started public speaking and do a lot of it now, from conferences, special group events, universities, to schools and women’s prisons.

What do they involve?
My talks are basically motivational, inspirational offerings, often humorous, based on the Holocaust and contain a strong message of “I can handle anything!”  And so can YOU!

How did you get into the publishing business?
I got into the publishing business by marrying a fine journalist who always wanted to be a publisher.  (Even if the time was wrong.)

Are you in touch with other Holocaust survivors?
Due to the success of “Shanghai Diary”, I am in touch with several Shanghai Jews.  Before that, I stayed in touch with a few friends, but, basically, I left Shanghai behind.

How do you explain what happened in Nazi Germany during World War II?
To explain what happened to Germany in the Nazi years takes a myriad of answers.  I am handling that subject in my new book “Eternal Strangers”, a novel based on a true story.  (To be published in May 2007.)

Have you been able forgive those who forced a life of exile on you and your family?
Yes, I have forgiven (but not forgotten).

What goals do you still have for yourself?
I want to reach as many people, especially young ones, to teach them that hate and prejudice do not work; that we can NOT blame life for our problems, but that we are our Own Work, etc. etc. etc.  I want them to know that: “I am not the victim of my circumstances; I am the beneficiary of my choices.”

Is there anything in this life you would still like to do?
There is one “fun” thing I want to do: I want invite my best friends for a trip on the Orient Express, black tie, murder mystery, and all.

Joy & Peace, Ursula Bacon.
August 2006

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