Victoria Dougherty is one of those classy people that make me want to be a better person. If you take a look at her work, I think you’ll agree.

Cold

2010-07-27 23.55.01 A couple of days ago – on May 1st to be exact – my mother ambled over to me and eased  herself down onto our living room sofa, where I sat reading.

“It’s my anniversary,” she said.

Knowing that she and my late dad had been married in November, not May, it was clear she didn’t mean that anniversary.

“May 1st is when I celebrate going to jail,” she clarified.

In 1958, when my mother was nearly sixteen, she was caught trying to escape Communist Czechoslovakia and imprisoned. My grandfather, who had snuck back into his former homeland to retrieve his daughter, was roughed up, handcuffed and dragged into custody. In fact, he was hauled into the same cinder-block interrogation facility where my mother was locked up.

They’d been separated for ten years already at that point. My grandparents, who were viewed unfavorably by the new Czech regime (not only because they were…

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