Happy Birthday, United States of America! Happy Birthday, David Oddstad!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GOOD OL' USA!

OUR NATION CELEBRATES ITS 237TH BIRTHDAY TODAY! I wonder if the founding fathers (and mothers) had any idea we’d last this long. I wonder how far into the future we’ll last, given the state of dysfunction in Congress. I have a feeling that we’ll muddle through as we always have, pulling it out of the fire to chug along another 237 years.

This is an emotional day for me. I have such deep and tender feelings for my country that just looking for stars and stripes type images for the banner above made me cry. The photo service I use had hundreds of pages of US flags flying, flags out flat, flags with fireworks. Flags with eagles superimposed on them. With eagles, fireworks and the Statue of Liberty. Stylized flags. Country style flags. Grunge flags. If I’d looked at too many more patriotic pages, I’d be flat on my back boo-hooing.

I’ll spare you that and just say, “It’s a grand old flag and I’m glad I was born under it. Whatever faults our  country has, it has virtues twice as strong.”

This is an emotional day for me for another reason. My brother’s birthday was July 5th. When I was growing up, my family had the biggest honkin’ birthday party for him every Fourth of July. It started about 10 AM with a six hour water polo game. This was followed by the mother of all barbeques. EVERYONE came––all my aunties and uncles, cousins, my grand parents, and dear family friends. That party was the heart and soul of my life. Everyone I cared about was there.

David and Sandy Oddstad hugging at Christmas. He must be in his late 20s. I'm in my 30s.

The gigantic feast, weighted far too heavily with protein, took up a couple of hours in the late afternoon. That was followed by dancing, for those who could still stand. And finally! The grand finale: fireworks. Enough to burn up the entire town. Those remaining trickled away in the late hours with another birthday bash for our country and my brother under our belts. Good days that seem magical in retrospect.

For years, my brother didn’t know that all the Fourth of July hoopla wasn’t for him. That’s a nice, innocent way to be; the outside world didn’t intrude on his personal reality much.

My brother died tragically and unexpectedly in 2007. To me, he was always the adorable, glowing healthy young boy that these photos show. Please join me in greeting David Oddstad:

David Oddstad - Junior Muscle Man

Andy Oddstad, our dad, was a wrestler, body builder, water-skier and all round athlete. He encouraged all  the boys in our social circle (and family) to work out, wrestle, and water ski. David was no different, caught here a pose my dad loved. Isn’t he adorable?

David Loved His Go Cart

One of the happiest days in my brother’s life was the day our dad brought home his go cart. An empty lot was next door to our house. David roared around it from dawn ’til dusk. Or until someone called the cops. The thing was noisy. My brother’s answer to a dream drove the neighbors crazy.

The police were different in back then.  I remember one really nice officer coming by on a complaint. “A lot of doctors live around here. You have to be quiet. They need their sleep.”

My brother will always be that eager, blue eyed kid. I loved him very much.

David and my grandmother, Stephanie Ingeborg Oddstad. David had the bluest eyes. He's suffering from "red eye" here, but trust me, you've never seen a more gorgeous blue. My grandmother was the heart of the family and a real lady. I never saw her without jewelry, gloves and a hat. I never heard her say a negative word about anyone. She and all the Oddstads were of 100% Icelandic stock.

I took my brother’s death hard, as you can probably tell reading this.

David didn’t die completely. I’m a writer. My grief became a book. It’s sci-fi, about a dying United States (and earth) two hundred or so years from now. Themes and elements of his life are woven throughout the book. It won a lot of awards, including the Gold Medal for Visionary Fiction in the IPPYs, the oldest and largest competition for independent publishers.

I’d like to introduce you to my brother, David Oddstad, and the book my love for him created:

The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy - Dedicated to David Oddstad - We're changing the cover to this one. It may not be up yet. The book is the same regardless of cover.

Here’s a press release about it. More information is available here.

CALIFORNIA  – The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy is Sandy Nathan’s new science fiction/fantasy novel. Of the special genre of books and films that include 1984, A Brave New World, Brazil, and The Prisoner Series, The Angel takes the reader to a dark future world that’s not so different from our own. In the late 22nd century, people are continually watched, disappearing off the streets and from their homes. A shadowy but all-powerful government calls the shots; war rages while the authorities proclaim the Great Peace.

All is not bad in this fictional realm, for the angelic extraterrestrial, Eliana, appears on the streets on New York City on a mission to save her planet.  As radiant and pure as the world around her is tarnished, Eliana must find the Golden Boy. He turns out to be Jeremy Edgarton, a tech genius in a world where technology is outlawed, a revolutionary, and the FBIs most wanted. They find themselves caught up in an explosive adventure when Jeremy decodes new transmissions and discovers that a nuclear holocaust will take place the next morning.

The themes of The Angel read like pure sci-fi, but author Sandy Nathan explains, “I’m a former economist. While the love story between Jeremy and Eliana enchants, the back-story–the hideous world around them–is the product of my economist’s mind interacting with current events. We’re in the worst economic melt-down since the 1930′s, with no end in sight. Some seemingly far-fetched events in The Angel are based upon history. Germany’s economic distress during the Great Depression allowed the rise of Adolf Hitler. In the book, a similar totalitarian state arises when we fail to recover from the Great Recession of the early 2000′s. Our recession. The Angel’s world is just a heartbeat from our own. I want to challenge my readers to discover solutions so that the fictitious situations in The Angel don’t become real.”

Happy Fourth and best wishes the rest of the year!

Sandy Nathan

5 Responses to “Happy Birthday, United States of America! Happy Birthday, David Oddstad!”

  1. The Blue-Eyed Boy of your title is amazing. I enjoyed his adventures in Angel and in Lady Grace. Your brother David would be so proud of what a wonderful author his sister became.

  2. admin says:

    Thank you, Kate. I think he was proud of me, possibly giving me more credit than was due.

  3. Thanks for sharing a little of your family history with us. You’re a very inspiring woman, turning your grief about your brother into something positive. By the way, I love to pound the weights myself. Your father and I would’ve probably got along great!

    • admin says:

      That’s great. My dad would have approved. I need to get to the gym more often. I sit here, pounding keys. I probably have very strong fingers.
      This always is an emotional day for me. Those parties were FUN! Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you liked the article.

  4. Hey Sandy, I feel good when I see you still have the sharp memory about your blue eye boy. Yes, I have read on your book that you was trying to express your personal emotions on your post and also in your book. It is true that it couldn’t be possible to lost your brother memory from your head. Because It starts from there when our country was started at 1776 on 4th July.
    I didn’t want to say anything just like that thanks or pleasure that kind of phrase about your post. I want to give you a respected salute for your article and also your emotions.

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