About the Book

“Mrs. Newton? This is I.P.C. New York. We’ve made arrangements for you and your daughters to join your husband. There are five tickets being held for you at the TWA counter at the Los Angeles International Airport. You leave the day after tomorrow.”

My mother often told me that she “never said ‘no’ to anything in her life”. So 36 hours after that phone call, with four young daughters aged three to eight in tow, she boarded a plane and embarked on a five-day journey to join my father in the oil fields of Kirkuk, Iraq.

Life in the Middle East in the mid 1950’s was as unstable then as it seems to be now. We went through two revolutions, were the foreigners in a strange land and my mom carefully chronicled these stories on tapes from whence this book was born.

She’d always wanted a grand adventure. The Middle East was not exactly what she’d had in mind, but it would do for a start. To a Midwestern small town girl, who had never even been on an airplane, the prospect of journeying to live in Iraq fit “exotic” to a T. It conjured up visions of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, markets filled with silks, gold and spices. She embraced her fate with gusto, later telling me that her fears were small compared to the excitement she felt.

And that’s one of the wonderful gifts for which I’m grateful to my mother… not to let my fears stop me, but use my excitement to propel me forward. Whenever I travel and I am able, I reflect on one of her many stories, and visit a church to light a candle for my mother and express my gratitude for the things I learned from her. 

This book reflects her journey, my own, and may prompt a few memories from your life as well. If it sparks some remembrances of your own mother, pages are designed in the book to give you space to capture those recollections and then pass it on to your mom or members of your family to enjoy.