Memory is a double-edged sword. Some people are haunted by it. Others, comforted. But in my life, I have learned one very important thing: without it, we have nothing.
As years go by, I find myself looking back more and more. What I see unfolds before me like a great untold story. And so I set about the task of putting those memories down for the record. What I envisioned was not a story of spies and espionage, of prison escape and bank robbery, or even of the long hard road to parole. And certainly not a Lifetime Network cancer triumph book. In the end, what I envisioned was a love story. Because the truth is simple. I have always loved Christopher Boyce.
Together, Chris and I traveled a road so long and treacherous that when we finally reached its end, it was only natural that we should marry. It hasn’t always been easy, and intrusion into that private sanctuary that so many people take for granted has come in many forms, both good and bad.
We have been blessed with well-intentioned people, with family and friends who stepped forward to offer Chris support in this new life, and with the rescuers who were there during my cancer treatment and who gave Chris the comfort that he needed when we did not know if there would be a future at all.
But life is never one-sided. For every step forward, there has always been someone or something willing to push us two steps back. The judgment of total strangers. Angry people who feel Chris should never have been released from prison – or worse, that he should have been executed for his crime. Those who wish to attach themselves to us for one reason or another. Women who once communicated with Chris and perhaps see the possibility of reconnecting; old boyfriends of mine resurfacing like so much long-ago released baggage; parole officers who found it hard to let go, even after Chris was no longer a ward of the state.
With the recent interviews on CNN has come a new flood of support and friendship, along with the familiar detractors and their cries of “shame on you” – disappointed family members or friends of family members, old school chums, and people from the past.
“Glad you’re out of prison, please stay silent.”
“Never speak of it – at least publicly – again.”
Gain, loss, gain…
The bad. “What provoked me to write to you was the phone conversation you had with a reporter about Edward Snowden. I get that you were a kid when this happened. But you’re not a kid anymore. And it seemed like all you talked about was what you went through and not what you put your family through.”
The good. “I enjoyed your CNN interview and giving the expert analysis on Edward Snowden that no one else can give. Though I oppose your selling secrets, I have been your biggest supporter.”
Over the past 11 years, Chris and I have received marriage announcements, birth and graduation announcements, and the standard Christmas form letters boasting the acquisition of material possessions nobody else really cares about (a new boat, a new sports car, a dream home). We have been happy for each and every person that has included us in their lives and have always wished everyone well.
Now it’s our turn for an announcement, to our family members, close friends, neighbors, and work associates. We have written a book with our co-author, Vince Font. Those of you who follow this blog will already know the book is called American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman. The book is our baby, our graduation, our boat. It is our turn for the happiness and joy, and we hope that each of you can share in our incredible sense of accomplishment at reaching the end of a very difficult task.
Memories can be painful as well as pleasant, and we have experienced both. But for us, setting the record straight after having lived with lies, innuendo and outright garbage since 1977 has been a cathartic experience.
While this book may not be everyone’s cup of tea and may anger some simply for the fact we chose to write it, your life is a life that you control. Leave your baggage at the curb and board the flight. On that flight, if you should you encounter something that you don’t like, change the channel. If country music happens to blare out through my car speakers as I’m scanning stations, I don’t write a letter to demand that they stop playing it. Instead, I change the channel.
With that one small action, I control my own destiny.
Thank you to those who have shown your support for our efforts. And thank you, just as well, to our many detractors. Maybe the truth will change your minds and maybe it won’t. But it sure feels good to be able to tell it.
Cait Boyce is the co-author of the book American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman. The book was also written by her husband, Christopher Boyce, and author Vince Font.