A Christmas Story, Part I


Recently I received an unexpected, but heartwarming, letter from a young woman.

First, the backstory.  Several months ago I gave an evening presentation about Odd Nansen and his diary.  After the talk, reception and booksigning were over, this young woman, who worked at the venue, had the task of closing up the facility and ensuring that all was in order.  As she was helping me to my car, she told me she had very much enjoyed learning about Nansen, and was interested in reading his secret diary, but was not in a position financially to purchase a copy.  I reached into the trunk, fished out an unsold copy, inscribed it to her, and handed it over, asking her only to send me the purchase price when she could afford it.

Often times since then I would think back to that event, and wonder how my young friend was faring.  Here is the text of the letter I received (edited to protect her identity):

               “Dear Mr. Boyce,                                                                                                                                                The night you spoke at . . . will always remain a special memory for me.  I was struggling in many ways outside of work.  When you gave me the copy of From Day to Day, it was a major boost in my faith and trust in humanity.  I sat and cried in my car for quite a while after I returned home, vowing that I would be able to repay you someday.                                As you can see from my address I am no longer in . . . .  I took a new job with . . . .  My fortunes have dramatically improved since we last met.  Please accept this belated payment.  I hope you continue to meet good people in your journeys and are able to share the story of Odd Nansen far and wide.                                                                                                                           All the best”                                                                                                                                               /Signed/

Yes, dear letter writer, I have met many good people (like you) in my journey, and yes, I will continue to share Nansen’s story far and wide, and I in turn wish you all the very best as well.


Subscribe to My Blog

Get an email notice when a new blog post is published.

Upcoming Events


Book Signings

  • February 25, 2020: Osher Life Long Learning, Duke University, Durham, NC
  • March 12, 2020: Renaissance Institute, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, MD
  • March 13, 2020: Sage Academy of Lifelong Learning, Goucher Collge, Baltimore, MD
  • March 26, 2020: Illinois Holocaust Museum, Skokie, IL
  • April 16, 2020: Polhogda, Lysaker, Norway
  • April 26, 2020: Chicago Sinai Congregation, Chicago, IL
  • April 26, 2020: Hidden Children, Chicago, IL
  • April 27, 2020: Shorewood Glen, Shorewood, IL
  • April 28, 2020: Admiral on the Lake, Chicago, IL
  • May 7, 2020: Notre Dame H.S. Alumni Club of DC, Washington, DC
  • May 14, 2020: Sons of Norway, Grand Forks, ND (Gyda-Varden Lodge)
  • May 15, 2020: Norwegian Heritage Week, Thief River Falls, MN
  • May 16, 2020: Sons of Norway, Red Wing, MN (Lauris Norstad Lodge)
  • May 17, 2002: Sons of Norway, Fargo, ND (Kringen Lodge)
  • May 18, 2020: Sons of Norway, St. Cloud, MN (Trollheim Lodge)
  • May 19, 2020: Tuesday Open House, Mindekirken, Minneapolis, MN
  • May 19, 2020: The Waters of Plymouth, Plymouth, MN
  • May 19, 2020: Sons of Norway, Austin, MN (Storting Lodge)
  • May 28, 2020: Augsburg Lutheran, Baltimore, MD
  • May 29-31, 2020: Georgetown University Bookstore, Washington, DC
  • June 2, 2020: JCC of Central New Jersey, Scotch Plains, NJ
  • June 3, 2020: Bet Shalom Hadassah, Jackson, NJ
  • June 4, 2020: The Adult School, Bernardsville, NJ
  • June 7, 2020: Regency Hadassah, Monroe, NJ
  • November 15, 2020: Kristallnacht Commemoration, Congregation Or Shalom, Organge, CT
  • October 19, 2021: Shalom Club, Great Notch, NJ

People are talking

"A thousand thanks for your most wonderful lecture on your beautiful and informative book. What a labor of love you have undertaken for the world. . . . I still regard the lecture as one of the most perfect I have ever heard, and since I became 84 in the past week, that amounts to many thousands, mostly in an academic atmosphere."

- Nan Bentley Director, Wednesday Forum University Unitarian Church Seattle, WA

For more posts please see our archives.


On This Date

< 2020 >
  • Count Folke Bernadotte’s meets with Himmler to negotiate the release of Scandinavian prisoners
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history