March 8th when I came home from work, there
a letter on the kitchen table. It was from Uzbekistan! It was from
the 3rd son of Mookudin Umurdinov. In part, he wrote:
of the photo's sent to the author of Hero Umurdinov in his
"I am going to tell you that we were much surprised on
receiving your letter! We had never imagined that we would once
correspond with a citizen of America! Upon reading your letter,
we were very pleased that you are interested in our father and wanted
to write a story about him. We are very grateful to you and we will
tell you about our father's postwar activities with pleasure."
father returned from the front to Tashkent in 1944, after which
he worked as an assistant director of a fire team. Later the First
Secretary of the Central Committee of the Uzbek SSR called him out
and asked if he knew where he had been born and spent his early
years. Father answered that he had lost his parents too early and
he did not remember his home place. Usman Yusupov advised him to
find his kishlak (Uzbek village) and to work for the benefit of
his home place."
"In 1945, father found out where his birth place was; he went
to the kishlak Boyiston and met his own sister there. In 1946, father
was appointed chairman of the collective farm "Namuna"
and in the same year, he married the secretary of the village collective,
"In 1947, the state of his health made him leave that work
and to start working at the Fergana bread factory. In 1950, he returned
to Boyiston where he began to work as a radio technician and equipped
the kishlak with electricity. At the general meeting of the collective
farm committee in 1959, he was elected chairman of the revision
commission and worked there to the end of his life."
my father died of throat cancer and was buried in a local cemetary.
In 1989, mother also died and was buried beside him. They died and
left six sons and two daughters."
of the USSR Umurdinov's final resting site. Notice the Young
Pioneer guards who were assigned to watch over and maintain
I immediately called my friend and told him the story. He was incredulous.
And then he said, "If it means so much to you, I'll sell you
the medal! Besides, I saw something on ebay that I really want!"
I sent the Mr. Umurdinov's son a box of candies and some photos.
He sent me a big box of nuts and photographs
in his later years, and also one of his grave. He also enclosed
color snapshot of his family. Regretfully, I have since learned
that after the Hero passed away, the award was returned to government
officials and stolen. Some how made its way to a European dealer.
A happy ending though, One
of his daughters is learning English; she wants to become an English
teacher. She and my daughter are now corresponding. This is an excellent
way to learn each other's culture!
authors daughter pictured with author Henry Sakaida and
the very nice reply he received from a new friend in Uzbekistan.