Reminiscences of June, a Traveling Grandmother
1969 - June in Russia - Hungary - Austria
- Published on Thursday, 29 May 2008 18:59
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(Soviet 1969 Intourist publication given to each forensic conference attendee)
In October of 1969, June and Stan visited some of the "Iron Curtain" countries at the height of the "Cold War". June and Stan were part of an American Forensic Science group that visited Russia, Hungary and Austria as a cultural exchange. June and Stan were participants in what was designated as the "Soviet American Symposium in Forensic Medicine and the Sciences."...our attendance at this conference and the forensic friends and contacts that developed as a result of this conference, was literally the launching pad for a highly successful lifetime forensic ballistics/firearms consulting career with June as his Administrative Assistant...
This was an historical event in that it was the "first ever" such an exchange in the Forensic Sciences. Such a unique meeting of American and Russian Forensic Scientists to exchange information, had never before taken place in either country. Because this also was a cultural exchange at a critical time in U.S. and Soviet relations, the group was instructed on behavior. The emphasis was that in effect we were all "Good Will Ambassadors" for America.
The American group was headed up by three noted Forensic Pathologists. Dr. Cyril Wecht, (Pittsburgh) Dr. William Eckert (Wichita) and Dr. Thomas Noguchi. (Los Angeles) Dr. Noguchi was the most prominent of the three. He at times was referred to as the "Coroner to the Stars" in that he had performed the autopsies on a number of Hollywood Stars who had died under questionable circumstances. (William Holden, Natalie Wood, Marilyn Monroe, Sharon Tate, Janis Joplin, John Belushi and others. ) He had also performed the autopsy on Robert Kennedy. Dr. Noguchi proved to be an interesting travel companion with a great sense of humor. He became a friend of June and Stan as did Dr. Eckert and Mrs. Eckert. (Haroldine) Dr. Noguchi was accompanied by his wife Hisato. Dr. Wecht was accompanied by his wife Sigrid. Unfortunately Hisato and Sigrid became casualties of divorce in later years. June would renew these acquaintances at the many other future forensic conferences she would attend over the next several years.
Forensic Science as Stan and June's Career
Our trip to Russia in 1969 was a significant turning point in June and my life and my forensic career…as indicated above, three (3) of the organizers were prominent forensic pathologists…one from Pittsburgh, one from Wichita and one from Los Angeles…they and their wives became June and our good friends…our Wichita friend was also a yearly organizer of forensic conferences here in the US…
The contacts and the friendships developed during the conference in Russia did much to put our forensic activities and Stan's career into high gear…Every year when the Wichita Pathologist put on a national forensic conference, Stan was invited to attend and to present a paper at this conference...this resulted in Stan's name becoming well known…at the next international conference in Edinburgh, Dr. Eckert recommended that Stan be one of the conference session chairmen…Stan got the job and that was a stepping stone to becoming the chairman at later years conferences in Bergen, Zurich and Dusseldorf…June and Stan were both age 41 at the time of this first international conference...June became Stan's Administrative Assistant in his Forensic Science Consulting Business...Stan was 4 times the Chairman of an International Conference in the Forensic Science...almost always a conference speaker...The best was yet to come..June would attend most of the 170 such conferences with Stan...Stan testified over 350 times in Federal, State and Military Courts including the Territorial Court in the Virgin Islands....June and Stan led a life of adventure and a 1000 forensic cases before Alzheimer's took over their lives...now as Stan looks back at their lives, there are no regrets and only thanks to God for an unbelievable life time together with June...
The Alzheimer's Years
History would record that in just a little less then 30 years in the future from the time of this first Soviet-American Symposium in the forensic sciences, June would be diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s. It was black Monday the 26th of January 1998 when June was given psychological testing at the University of Minnesota (following short term memory problems first noted in 1997) that resulted in the Alzheimer’s diagnosis. From that point onward, our lives would never be the same. June was in the early stages of Alzheimer's for the first 7-years...we continued to travel and attend conferences together...In year 8 the disease began to take control...Stan closed their forensic consulting business in 2004 in order to spend full time taking care of June...June passed away in October of 2008 as a victim of 12 long years with Alzheimer’s. Daily periods of grief and sorrow are still a part of Stan's life but also prayers of Thanksgiving to God for giving Stan and June a very special lifetime of adventure together...
June and Stan's First Forensic Science Conference in the Soviet Union
For June and Stan, this first international forensic science travel together was a very expensive trip at that particular point in time. Our international adventure cost June and Stan over $989.31 per person (Total $1978.62 ) from Kennedy Airport in New York. There were additional travel expenses from Minneapolis to New York. This cost was considered a substantial sum of money in 1969. The present day frequent "good deals" on travel were unheard in that day and age. In 1969, the Berg family income and funds were mainly being used to pay the children's college tuition's. David and Dan were both enrolled at the University of Minnesota at that time. Money was not available for trips of this kind. This trip however appeared to be a rare opportunity that should not be passed by. Money was borrowed from the cash value of a Stan's life insurance policy in order to make the trip. (Such loans were at low interest.) The loan was later repaid and such loans were never again found to be necessary in future and later years. Our two sons David age 22 and Dan age 20 were young men at the time. Only our daughters Julie age 11 and Susan age 16 still required parental guidance. Such guidance was provided by June's mother Haldis, the children's grandmother who stayed at our home during the time of our trip..
June and I departed New York City via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on a Friday in early October on the way to Amsterdam. There we caught a Saturday connecting flight for Moscow with a brief stop in Warsaw, Poland. June and I remember going into the Warsaw air terminal building and seeing a balcony lined with curious Polish people staring down at the strange Americans.
The Soviet American 1969 Conference in Photographs
(Photo on the below right - June on far right - with some of her forensic tour friends - out for a shoot with the Tsar's Cannon. Largest Howitzer ever made. Commissioned in 1586 by Russian Tsar Feodor. Caliber is 35 inches.)
June and Stan arrived in Moscow that same evening. June and our luggage was quickly checked through the Russian customs with an unsmiling armed guard standing by watching the proceedings. Even June's million dollar smile could not coax a change in his stern sober and unfriendly countenance. June and the forensic group were then bused to and promptly checked into the Hotel Rossia (adjacent to Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral) for their Moscow stay. The Rossia was said to be the world's largest hotel with 5000 rooms taking up an entire city block.
One day while June was out of her room, her luggage was secretly inspected. When she returned to the room, she found that the lock on one of her pieces of luggage was damaged (pried open) to the point where it could no longer be used. Nothing had been taken, just inspected. That event certainly added an air of intrigue to the day and the trip.
While a number of sight seeing tours were arranged for the entire group, there were also special meetings and conferences arranged between individuals in the group and their similar counterparts in the Soviet system of Forensic Science and the Law. Visits were made to Medical Examiner type facilities (Morgues) as well as a rather unique type of bone bank for transplants. We were not aware of similar such bone banks in the U.S. medical system.
June and Stan had visits with Vladimir Nicolaichik who was professor of Criminal Law at Moscow University. A special meeting was also arranged with Boris J. Shevchenko who was Professor of Criminalistics at Moscow University with a specialty in Forensic Ballistics or simply "Ballistics" as they called it.
It was interesting to note that while Professor Nicolaichik had a specialty in Criminal Law, he was also a part of the Moscow University's "Institute of the United States". In other words, Moscow University had a special Institute with a study focus on the United States. That probably explains why June and I saw Professor Nicolaichik on more than one occasion.
(Photo below right is June on Moscow River embankment across from the Kremlin)
June and Stan were awakened early each morning by martial music piped into the room. June could also hear the daily early morning sounds of marching Russian soldiers on the opposite bank of the adjacent Moscow River. This served as a daily reminder that we were in a country with a heavy military presence.
At the same time of day, peasant dressed Russian women could be seen sweeping the streets and sidewalks with straw brooms straight out of a Charles Dickens story.
June saw all the normal Moscow sights including, Gorki Street with monuments of Yuri Dolgoruky, Maxim Gorki and Alexander Pushkin. The Academy of Sciences, the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre and Tolstoy's house.
Also included was a visit to view the body of Lenin at the Lenin Mausoleum. (Tomb) Lenin was laid out in a glassed over and lighted casket. His face although well preserved, had a shiny almost lacquered appearance. June and I were a part of a long, slow but continuously moving line that started outside the Mausoleum and extended for at least a block. We were told that a million people visited Lenin's tomb every day. (Later mathematical calculations made this number appear impossible to achieve based on our observations and the time necessary to pass through the Mausoleum.) A small incident took place while we were in the line waiting to enter the Mausoleum. It was a chilly day and I was walking in the line with my hands in my pocket. An armed guard (Russian solder) motioned to me to take my hands out of my pocket. At first I did not know what he meant. June understood and interpreted for me. I was not about to get into an argument with an armed Russian soldier. I am not sure what he thought I might do or why he considered my hands in my pocket to be a threat. Needless to say, I quickly removed them. June, apparently wiser than I, did not get into such trouble.
June and Stan also had a visit to the Kremlin and Moscow University. In addition, June and Stan saw the Grand Palace, the Armory Museum, the Tretyakov Art Gallery, the Archangel, the Annunciation and Assumption Cathedrals, the "King of Bells" (200 tons) and the Tzar Cannon. June and Stan enjoyed an evening at the opera with a performance of "Dr. Faust" by the Bolshoi at the Palace of Congresses. On another evening, June and Stan saw the "Moscow Circus" perform some almost unbelievable aerial acts of daring and skill. June and Stan also spent an afternoon experiencing the Moscow subway trains with their elaborately decorated subway stations.
Moscow which was the largest city in Russia, had a 1969 population of 6,590,000 people. Moscow was founded over 800 years ago (1147) by Prince Yury Dolgoruky on a low hill, the present site of the Kremlin. Overall the Soviet Union had a total population of about 239,000,000 people. Leningrad the 2nd largest city in Russia had a population of 3,752,000.
(Photo below right is June with Guide Ksana in the Moscow subway)
1969 was a critical year in the United States relationships with Russia. In the previous year Russia had invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia. The United States responded by suspending any further U. S. - Soviet diplomatic intercourse. Earlier in the year during the annual Moscow "May Day" parade, the Soviet anti-American feeling was expressed by a float in the parade depicting the United States as a fierce octopus. However 1969 did show signs of future improvement and a thawing in U. S. Soviet relations. Consideration was being given to a Soviet proposal to open a Soviet Consulate in San Francisco in return for an American Consulate in Leningrad. When that happened, it would be the first such consular missions since 1948. In the month in which June traveled to Russia, (October) both nations were proposing a draft treaty in regard to the nations agreeing to bar nuclear weapons. The proposal was to be submitted to the Geneva Disarmament Conference. In the following month of November, the historic SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) discussions began in Helsinki. While it was a critical time in the United States and Soviet Unions "Cold War" relationship, a brighter day appeared to be on the horizon. Before June left home to travel to Russia, some of her friends had expressed concern for June's safety in making the trip to Russia during this tense time period. June herself never at any time expressed such concern to me. I think that June looked at this trip as an adventure with a touch of intrigue. I think that June just had faith that I would not subject her to any danger. I never had any real concern for our safety. I felt that because we were a part of an international cultural exchange, our safety would be a Soviet priority.
The so called President of the Soviet Union at that time was Nikolai V. Podgorny. The Chairman was Aleksei N. Kosygin and the Secretary was Leonid I. Brezhnev. (Brezhnev as Secretary, was head of the Communist Party -CPSU and the Russian strong man.)
Note: There is an interesting story about the funeral of Brezhnev following his death in November 1982. The funeral held on 15 November 1982, is said to have been one of the largest and most impressive funerals in the world. Brezhnev's wife Victoria, during his funeral and just before the closing of the casket,was said to have reached in and traced the sign of the Christian cross on her husband's chest. This would appear to have been a major act of civil disobedience in this citadel of Atheism but a most touching story of love and hope! The Brezhnev children Galina and Yuri were present with their mother at the time. Victoria and Leonid were wife and husband for 54 years. (During her final four years Victoria lived virtually alone, abandoned by everybody. She had suffered for a long time from diabetes and was nearly blind. Victoria Petrovna Denisova who was born in Kursk, Russia 1908, died in Moscow on 5 July 1995.)
Time magazine reported the Leonid Brezhnev funeral: "As an orchestra played Tchaikovsky, the committee members lined up in front of the catafalque where Brezhnev lay amid wreaths and flowers, with row upon row of medals pinned to cushions below his feet. After a brief formal tribute, Andropov led the Politburo members toward the dead man's family. He bent over and kissed Brezhnev's widow Victoria, 75, through her veil. She lifted a hand to her cheek to wipe away tears. Andropov bent to kiss her again, then kissed Brezhnev's daughter Galina. Kirilenko, a leading contender for the succession until sidelined in the past year, burst into tears as he spoke to Brezhnev's widow."
(Photo below right is June with a Russian lady who is an English teacher. June met her on this Moscow street while looking for directions to the Berioska (dollar) store. The lady was very friendly. June learned from the lady that she was from the Ukraine and had been teaching English in Siberia. She had recently transferred to Moscow)
Many tours were arranged for June and her conference group. The guides were all provided by "Intourist", the official government travel agency. It was rumored that the guides were all undercover agents of the KGB whose duty included keeping an eye on the activities of the group. The rumor was intriguing but never verified.
The Chief Guide was Larisa Eisenberg. Her husband was a surgeon in Moscow. They did not own a family car. June did not meet anyone that did own a car. Traffic on the streets in Moscow and Leningrad always appeared light . One of our most frequent Moscow guides was Ksana Khaimusova, age 27, whose husband was an electronics engineer. A third Moscow guide was Nina Boguslavsfya whose husband was a musician playing a violin.
June was advised that when seeking information or directions on the street, go to a younger person. June and I were told that English was the number one foreign language taught in the schools and that most young people would know and speak some English.
Weather during the visit was good but a few snowflakes in the air one brisk afternoon hinted that the Russian winter was not far behind.
(Photo below right - June on a Moscow street - out shopping)
June and I fared well on the Russian food. Boiling hot tea was always served in a glass, making it a little hard to handle. A thin (frequently borscht) soup usually accompanied the meal. Three cold liquid refreshments were a part of most of the lunches and dinners. Two large glasses were used for a fermented type of fruit juice along with a beer or a wine. A cute small glass perched on top of a long stem would contain pure vodka. June did not acquire a taste for pure vodka and always donated hers to others who did. The Russian delicacy of caviar also was not one of her favorites. The dark black sturgeon caviar (very salty) was the most common. One variety was bright orange rather coarse salmon caviar.
June and our last night in Moscow was a banquet in a Georgian restaurant with ample servings of both kinds of caviar. At the end of the meal the group started singing songs. The evening ended with a rousing rendition of "God Bless America" to the curiosity of a group of Russian onlookers.
Our room in the Rossia was a small to medium sized room. The furniture appeared to be a simple Danish type style or design. There were small pictures on the wall. A music or audio system was built in. The blankets for the bed were encased in a sort of jacket made up of the top sheet of the bed. A large oval hole was designed in the top center of the sheet jacket to permit the insertion and replacement of the blanket. This does seem to be a practical way to protect the blanket cleanliness. The pillows were huge. The bathroom tub was very deep. The shower was provided by way of a hand held sprayer. The toilet was flushed by a pull chain that was connected to the flush tank mounted high on the wall alongside the toilet stool. When one would pull the chain to flush the toilet, it would do so with a loud roaring sound as the water rushed down. I am sure that stopped up toilets were rare with this arrangement.
(Photo below right - June - end of a long day - Hotel Rossia - in bed - her hair up - busy updating her trip diary)
The keys to the room were huge and connected to a heavy ball. I am sure they were designed that way to prevent their being taken with one when leaving the hotel. The keys were kept by a floor lady who sat at a desk at the end of each floor. This lady had the responsibility of watching the rooms and the keeping and giving out of the keys.
One of the older floor ladies came to June's and my rescue early one evening. June and I had inadvertently crashed a dance party that night. June heard this music being played in a ballroom just off of the main lobby. When June and I went into the ballroom to investigate, we were accosted by a guard standing near the door. He spoke only Russian. June was trying to explain why we were there and he was telling us in a loud voice and gestures to leave. The older floor lady heard the commotion and rushed down the stair case and over to help us. She appeared to be telling him "what for" in a loud voice. The end result was that June and I were permitted to stay. June and I then spent the evening both dancing and just listening to the music. It was pleasant music for both dancing and listening.
June did some shopping for family gifts while in Moscow. She shopped at the vast state department store called GUM, in Red Square, opposite the Lenin Mausoleum. It is an elegant turn of the century shopping mall. It was designed and built during 1890-1893 by Alexander Pomerant. It is the "State Department Store." It takes up almost the entire east side of Red Square. (1200 shops.) GUM is a collection of individual state owned shops. It is considered Moscow's liveliest markets. It has a mile and half of counters and over three miles of shelves. The system of purchase was somewhat complicated. One must first select an item at a sales counter and secure the price. The next stop was a cashier's line to pay for the item and to secure a paid receipt. With the receipt in hand, June would return to the original sales counter to claim her purchase. No calculators were in use. Much to June's surprise, the cashiers used the rather primitive manually operated abacus.
American visitors are all encouraged to use the Berioska (dollar) store for shopping. This is a government owned and operated store designed to accommodate the American tourists and their dollars.
(Photo lower right - June in front of her Leningrad Hotel the Europeiskaya)
On an October afternoon following a week in Moscow, June and I took a Russian Airline (Aeroflot) flight to Leningrad. (Now called St. Petersburg.) June was not impressed with the Russian airlines. The above seat luggage carriers were simply a fabric netting attached to pegs. The air pressure control was very poor, requiring frequent clearing of ones ears.
Leningrad is located at the mouth of the Neva River on the Gulf of Finland. It was the former Capital of Russia and the site of the famous "October Revolution" that brought to an end the regime of the Czars and established the Bolsheviks or Communists in power.
The "October Revolution" brought Lenin to power. The Czar had earlier abdicated at the February (1917) Revolution. He and his family were all imprisoned. It was following the October Revolution that Emperor Nicholas II (Romanov), his wife Alexandra, his son, his four daughters and their entire family staff were all killed on the night of 17 July 1918. The event was orchestrated from Moscow by Lenin and the Bolslhevik leader Sverdlov.
A ship that is docked on the waterfront has been made into a Museum. The ship is named the "Aurora" It figured prominently in the revolution and was said to have fired the first shot of the war. Local tourist can be seen in groups having their picture taken with the ship in the background.
Leningrad is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the north because of the several canals in the city. It has a unique beauty not found in Moscow.
June's primary guide in Leningrad was a young lady named Tamara Utina. Her husband was a building engineer. Our guide for our visit to the world famous Hermatige Museum was Nadya Ukhina who was an art expert. Her husband was a ship building engineer.
The few days in Leningrad were spent at the Hotel Europeiskaya. Sight seeing in Leningrad included Nevsky Prospect, the Hermitage Museum, Petrodvoret (Czars summer palace), the Grand Palace, Pushkin Theater and the Neva Fountain. June also attended the evening Ballet. June loved dancing. In both Moscow and Leningrad, we danced to the music of Russian Orchestras at evening performances in the hotels.
The site of the Winter Palace is the centerpiece of the six buildings that make up the Hermitage Museum. It is one of the largest Art Museums in the world. The works of art consist of over 3,000,000 pieces. The items cover the development of world culture from the stone age to the 20th century. In 1764, Russian Empress Catherine the Great purchased a large collection of western European paintings which laid the foundation for the present Hermitage Museum. The front entrance has a huge magnificent and beautiful stair case leading to the 2nd story. June walked up this staircase. It was said that at the time of the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks rode their horses up the staircase.
(Photo below right is June one evening at a Leningrad Restaurant with a local Balalika Orchestra in the back ground)
June and I were entertained one evening at a local Leningrad fine restaurant that featured music and singing. Most of the instruments in the orchestra were Balalika's. This is a very popular Russian instrument and has the appearance of modified guitar. The singers and players were seated on an elevated stage in which the floor of the stage was lighted. Two different male vocalist's entertained the group. June noticed that both of the singers had a large medal on their suit jackets. Medals were noted to be very popular adornments in Russia. June and I were able to dance to the music during the course of the dinner.
June later accompanied me on a visit to a small Russian Gun Shop in Leningrad. Yes, believe it or not, there are guns shops in Russia. They are not like the gun shops in the United States. Handguns, pistols and revolvers are not available for purchase. Russians can buy shotguns if they belong to a hunting club. A special permit is required. Hunting rifles can be purchased with permits under certain circumstances and after a period of time with a favorable history as a hunting shotgun user. There were no provisions for Russians to buy firearms for self defense. I saw nothing but shotguns in the store we visited. The only guns on display were approximately 20 shotguns. All of the shotguns were double barreled of both side by side and over/under types. Half of the side by sides utilized the old style exposed side lock hammers. No rifles or pistols of any kind were displayed. The store had a stock of various types of shotgun ammunition. No rifle or pistol ammunition was available. A few reloading supplies were also displayed for shotshell reloading. A few paperback books on hunting were also on display for purchase. Some trapping supplies and hunting clothing made up the balance of the stores stock. None of the typical U.S. colorful type advertising was in evidence.
On leaving Leningrad, June and I took another Aeroflot connecting flight via Moscow to Budapest, Hungary for additional forensic meetings.
When June and I traveled from Moscow to Budapest, one could not help but feel a more relaxed and freer atmosphere on the plane. While June’s stay in Russia was a friendly and an enjoyable visit, one could not forget that Russia was at that time a “Police State” and that knowledge always lingered in the back of one’s mind. It was as if one was escaping confinement. Perhaps some of that feeling was also fueled by the comments of the friendly and helpful flight attendants (The flight crew was from Budapest.) who reminded us and assured us that we were going to Budapest a place very unlike Moscow or Russia. While at that time, Hungary was one of the “Iron Curtain” countries, there was a decidedly different feeling generated by the Hungarians. Perhaps it was feeling of a greater zest or joy for life. What ever the reason, that feeling was definitely a part of that flight.
When in Budapest, we stayed a few days at the Hotel Budapest. While in Budapest June visited both the Buda and the Pest sides of the Danube River and the Buda Hills. June also visited the Museum of Fine Arts, the National Art Gallery, Heroes' Square, Town Park, People's Stadium, Parliament, Margaret Island, a Roman Amphitheater, Buda Castle, Matthias Church and Mount Gellert. One evening featured a "Goulash Party" while another evening had Gypsy music with dinner at "Gundel". On the day of departure from Budapest, June and I were introduced to our first taste of the delightful flaming "Crepe Suzette" dessert, served with the lunch. This colorful desert was prepared with considerable flair by a friendly and delightful waiter.
The visit to Budapest did permit a personal meeting and discussions with Professor Somogyi at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Budapest.
It was on a bright October afternoon, that June and I left Budapest by Hungarian Airlines for two days in Vienna, the "City of Music and Art". The cab ride to the Budapest airport was a memorable one. The cab driver drove like a maniac. The airport was temporarily closed down because of an arrival of a high Communist Official. The cab driver engaged in a shouting match with the airport security guards and June and I wondered if we would ever be permitted entrance. All ended well and we were soon on our way to Vienna.
(Photo below right - June and I and the Strauss Statue in Stadtpark, Vienna, 1969)
While we were in Vienna, June and I stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental.
One evening was spent in a small city park listening to an orchestra play the beautiful Strauss Waltzes.
A tour of the city included time for coffee, pastries and newspapers at a Viennese Coffee shop.
A brief visit was also made to the Criminal Technique Central Laboratory (Kriminaltechn. Zentralstelle) in Vienna.
A meeting was held with Albert Lindermann a young Firearms Examiner in the laboratory.
June and Stan ended their first European adventure with a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight to Amsterdam and then on to New York.
While this was a three country forensic science tour, the bulk of the time was spent in the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, June's and Stan's homecoming was a sad event. June learned on our arrival in Minneapolis, that her father Henry had passed away from a heart attack during our stay in Moscow. His funeral and burial had already taken place. Our son Dan had made attempts to call us at the Rossia Hotel in Moscow but Dan was not successful in making a connection...langage and other difficulties made the connection attempts a failure...in looking back, perhaps it was overall for the best in considering the logistics of arranging a return trip. June later had guit feelings when she checked her trip diary and found that she had made a notation on the day of her father's death to the effect this was the best day of her stay in Moscow...
Gill Denman - Essex, United Kingdom - (8 February 2014): "You have written history Stan. It is a valuable commentary on a world which has changed. Obviously you didn't use the Russian airplane toilet, I'm sure you would have mentioned it. When I was on a Russian internal flight not too many years later, it was situated in the tail of the plane, bare fuselage, hand holds all the way back, and there were hand holds to keep you in place as it was right by the tail controls and you got thrown about a bit. After that trip down Memory lane, i'm off to bed, nearly 2.00am over here, Stan."
Sheila Leers Nilsen - Samish Island, Washigton - (8 February 2014): "Thank you very much for sharing your beautiful story and photos! June's smile...priceless!!!"
Catherine Jones-Hatcher - Richmond, Virginia - (9 February 2014): "As usual... it is so easy to get drawn into your stories of travels with June! What a fascinating trip... and yes... I DID enjoy the photos. I was sorry to hear that the trip ending with news of her father's passing... but in a way.... it may have been better that she learn that news once home as It is hard to be that far away and able to do nothing. What a whirlwind of a life you two shared!"
Humberto Ruiz - North Salem, New York - (9 February 2014): "Thank you for sharing these moments and the memoirs. It is history lived amidst very trying times. I have learnt from it. I have enjoyed reading it.
Beth Ann Doucette - Lino Lakes, Minnesota - (11 October 2014): "Very nice. Wonderful memories of June visiting all of these countries. My husband spent time in Russia and I was able to visit Austria and it was wonderful. Thank you for sharing as always."
Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (31 July 2015): "Fabulous read Stan...what an exciting life you and June led ...no doubt but for June's diagnosis ...you and she would have gone on to have many more adventures...not many can say they had a life with no regrets...I think that's wonderful Stan."
Bridie Breen - Manchester, United Kingdom - (31 July 2015): "Stan, what a flurry of forensic activity for you and such wonderful travel experiences for June and yourself."
Reader's Notes: Readers are encouraged to read/review other chapter's (31 chapters) in this story of June K. Berg's life. (Reminiscences of June, a Traveling Grandmother) Each chapter is intended to be a capsule view of a small segment of June's life and travels'. It is also intended to be a small segment of history from a time period of World War II and the periods both pre and post World War II. You will find the history is accurate and continues to be updated as new records and photographs become available.
June, a very humble person would never consider her life worthy of a story. To me June has been a lady for "All Seasons". A very unique, bright and highly principled Christian lady. While June like everyone, has likes and dislikes, I have never found her to be uninterested or bored with any thing that life has presented her. June was well traveled. She traveled to Europe eleven (11) times and made at least 100 trips in and around the United States. June would be included in Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation."
It has taken the horror of Alzheimer's to awaken me to finally plumb the depths, and scope of June's Character, Spirit and Being. After battling Alzheimer's for almost 11 years, an exhausted June was finally called home by God on October 23rd, 2008.
June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - Click on: