Return of the Native: Stalin Grandchild Back in West
--The 14-year-old American-born granddaughter of Josef Stalin returned to her Quaker school in England, tearfully embracing teachers and classmates and saying her mother was sorry she made her move to the Soviet Union. “It’s a very emotional moment. I didn’t think I’d get back,” said Olga Peters in the assembly hall of the Friends’ School in Saffron Walden, 12 miles from Cambridge. She flew from Moscow to London escorted by two Soviet diplomats. Olga left the boarding school in October, 1984, when her mother, Svetlana Alliluyeva, abruptly left her home in Cambridge and took Olga to the Soviet Union. Life in the nation her grandfather ruled for 29 years was strange for a girl raised in the United States and who spoke no Russian. From the outset she wanted to return to the school and friends she knew, Olga said. But in general, she added, “It was a great experience and I don’t regret any of it.” Meanwhile, Swiss sources said Alliluyeva has left Moscow for Chicago, via Zurich, Switzerland, and will eventually settle in Switzerland. Olga’s father, William W. Peters, who is divorced from Alliluyeva, an American citizen, lives in Arizona.
--Entertainer Ray Charles, honored by Florida lawmakers, says he remembers coming to the state capital in Tallahassee in bare feet to listen to Cannonball Adderley and other great jazz and rhythm and blues artists. Charles, who grew up in the panhandle town of Greenville and overcame blindness and poverty, visited the House and Senate, which gave him a resolution in Braille lauding his accomplishments. “It’s a wonderful thing to come back to where it all began,” Charles said. “You do have my heart.” Charles then serenaded the legislators with “Three-Quarters Time.”
--As a pick-up band of postal workers played “Pennies From Heaven” and “King of the Road,” about 15,000 last-minute tax filers posted their returns and partied in a late-night “mail-in” at the main post office in Springfield, Mass. “It’s become a happening,” said Springfield Postmaster Jon Steele, who said the post office handled more than 75,000 tax returns by midnight. “It’s crazy,” said South Hadley Postmaster Jack Barry as he led his four-piece combo of mail handlers through a variety of “relevant melodies.” Postal worker Sue Henry, who climbed into an eagle suit for the occasion, danced with celebrants as the crowd spilled out of the lobby and into the warm, spring night. Andrea Silver sent her dog, Albert, to the window with her return. “This is like a reunion,” she said. “You see the same people--the procrastinators--down here every year.”