Marija Platace Futchs Fine shared part of her life and journey to find her roots during a book signing hosted by the Rotary Club of Matthews the evening of Nov. 5 at Levine Senior Center in Matthews.
In addition to introducing people to “Wide Eyes,” the book Fine wrote about her work unlocking her Latvian roots, the event raised money through book sales for the Rotary CART Fund and Rotary Foundation.
The CART Fund provides funding for Alzheimer’s research while the Rotary Foundation raises money for service projects around the world, according to an event flyer.
“I think it will appeal to a lot of people and I love meeting people with similar stories to mine,” Fine said when discussing her book.
While still a baby in 1944, Fine was taken from her family by Nazi soldiers. She later lived in orphanages in Latvia and Germany before being adopted by a couple in the United States. As a result of the Cold War and Soviet occupation of Latvia for many years, Fine was not able to learn a lot about her family and what they went through until she was in her 70s. In 2014 she visited Latvia where she was able to find a surviving member of her father’s family and begin gathering information about her family’s history. Since then, she has continued to learn more about her family and Latvian heritage and compiled what she found into her book, “Wide Eyes.”
“I think that it’s an amazing, inspiring story that she’s able to give back to the community,” Barry Steiger, president of the Rotary Club of Matthews, said.
Carl Fisher, a retired pastor from Cross and Crown Lutheran Church and member of the Rotary Club of Matthews, has known Fine for more than 50 years and first met her while they were both doing missionary work in Malaysia. He helped get the Rotary Club involved in hosting the book signing and fundraiser Fine participated in on Nov. 5.
“It will be a wonderful event,” Fisher said slightly before the book signing started.
Fine sold and signed copies of her book for $20 to those interested before showing a short documentary about her life and journey to find more about her family and answering questions.
“I have a very large blended family and I enjoy getting to meet them.” Fine said in response to a question about her keeping in touch with the family members she’s met during her search.
Many who attended the event said they found Fine’s story interesting and looked forward to reading her book.
“I have always been fascinated about that time period (World War II era) and I feel the telling (Fine’s story) is amazing,” Sandra Rogers, who attended the event with her husband, Fred Rogers, a member of the rotary club, said.
Fine has signed and sold her book at various events. The book can be purchased on Amazon and following the Nov. 5 Rotary Club of Matthews’ event, the club still had some copies of the book available. To learn more about the book or to purchase a copy of from the Rotary Club of Matthews, email Steiger at firstname.lastname@example.org.