A week ago, my wife and I had the rare privilege to visit an exceptional place and to meet some of its wonderful inhabitants: Ülo Tuulik and his wife Mari, together with their grandson Alexander. With the kind assistance of Governor Kasema, Mayor Tiidus of Kuresaare, and the Estonia Coast Guard , we were whisked off from Kuresaare to Abruka on an overcast morning and met pierside by our Abruka hosts. Riding in an old trailer pulled by an even older Russian “jeep,” we were treated to some poignant insights into life — and death — on a small island of people with big hearts.
Ülo gave me a few hand- written pages recounting some of his experieneces on the island, along with the permission to publish them in this blog. I was greatly moved by this thoughtful and gentle man and his great eloquence and I am grateful for the opportunity to have met him and members of his family. In so many ways, Ülo Tuulik, and his brother Jüri, who are both important Estonian writers, represent the soul of a country buffeted by greater and more powerful forces throughout history. They seem never to have lost their own faith and hope in the ultimate triumph of humanity, reflected in today’s reborn and reindependent Estonia.
So, my next three blogs will be dedicated to the Tuulik family and Ülo’s notes which he handed to me on Abruka’s small cemetery at the gravesite of his parents and his little brother Vaino. Thank you, Ülo Tuulik.