In May of 2010 David Hecker traveled to the homeland and village that his Great-Grandfather Martin Hecker had immigrated from to the United States in 1891. Munchen, a once prosperous farm community, was located ninety miles rth of Odessa, Russia and had been colonized by Germans in 1809. Now this village in present day Ukraine is a battered remnant of its former self after the pillaging of the Bolshevik Revolution and Stalin's collectivization program. This journey to Munchen ended a twenty-four year search into family roots that had started in 1987. Along the way Hecker found out that he was a German from Russia American, that he was a fourth generation Hecker in America rather than a third generation American, and that his great-grandfather and family had lived in the United States, both in Texas and North Dakota, and he didn't find out that fact until he was forty-seven years old. In addition Hecker learned about his extended family's forced migrations, their patterns of life that included Catholicism, arranged marriages, and intense ethnic affiliations as well as their flourishing in present day United States, Germany, Canada, and Argentina. These discoveries about roots had serious implications for Hecker since he had accepted and freely used the freedoms that America offered in social mobility, career opportunities, religious views, and social patterns. The kwledge of his roots and family history led him to write poems, travel narratives, a historical vel, and this memoir.
David A. Hecker earned a Ph.D. in American Studies, an interdisciplinary program including American History and American Literature. He created and coordinated a program in American Cultural Studies for undergraduates. He also co-founded and directed a writers' conference that included an annual publication titled Signals. He currently lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington where he participates in local writers' groups and has written a collection of poems, stories, a memoir and a historical novel.