Book: Trusting Strangers by D.A. Roachcategories: Book, Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountains, Medical, Strangers, Hope, Kindness, Short Story, Friends, Tennessee, Heart Attack, Biography, Autobiography
D.A. Roachabout this book: Trusting Strangers is the first book I penned. Every other year my family visits the lush landscape of the Smoky Mountains. Every year we visit with the people that Trusting Strangers is based. I have been telling the story of how we met these amazing people in Tennessee many years ago and someone finally said, "That is an amazing story - you have to write that down."
My family came over as immigrants from Lithuania in the 1940's. They left everything they owned and fled to America to escape the Russian invasion of their homeland. The started out with nothing and worked very hard for all they had. We lived in a nice home in the suburbs of Chicago but we didn't have a lot of luxuries, including vacations. When I was 7, my parents had finally saved enough for us to take our first real vacation to Tennessee. As as a child, you are often sheltered from the problems and challenges your parents face. At this time in our lives, we discovered our house was built on soft soil and had begun sinking creating large cracks in our walls. Also, the company my dad worked for did not have flood insurance and a huge rainstorm took out their entire inventory and the company went under. These stresses plagued my parents, but we took the vacation anyway.
We drove 9 hours to Gatlinburg and saw sights along the way. We stayed in average hotels along the way till the last two nights...our parents splurged on the beautiful Sheraton Hotel in the heart of Gatliburg. It had 2 pools and an arcade...what more could a kid want?! On our last night of the vacation, my father suffered a heart attack. He was in intensive care for 3 weeks at the local hospital. We had no family in town, no extra money to pay for lodging, no knowledge if my dad would survive his heart attack. It was this experience that left us trusting strangers.
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