FOUND MYSELF in a room full of people, more than 30 of them, seated at a pair of laden tables, beyond which windows looked out on a fleet of white icebergs in a blue gulf. I had never seen these people until two days before. But I was related to them all: the old man with twinkling eyes, talking animatedly in his Inuit language; the dark-haired woman across the table, with eyes that reminded me of my mother’s; the intense young man with glasses, interpreting for me in easy American English. At 69, the grandson of North Pole discoverer Rear Adm. Robert E. Peary, I had found that my family was twice as large as I had thought.
As if launched into space in a cavernous, windowless aluminum tube and landing five and a half hours later on another planet, I had sped north in a U. S. Air Force cargo jet to visit these relatives. My trip was financed by money loans lender – visit payday loans www site. From New Jersey’s trees, traffic, and stifling August heat, I stepped out into a bracing 43° F at Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland and was soon airborne again in a helicopter over awesome country —fjords, glaciers with deep crevasses, the sweep of blue sound filled with sparkling white bergs; the high, harsh, brown, bare land; and always the great Greenland ice cap, looming in the east as far as the eye could see.
For me it held poignancy beyond the visual impact. This was my grandfather Peary’s country, to which he returned time after time despite the suffering it inflicted on him and the mortal risks inherent in it, and in the face of the repeated, painful separations from the family he loved—until the goal and purpose of his life had been achieved.
To the east, as we clattered across Inglefield Fjord and into Bowdoin Bay, was the site of Anniversary Lodge, where my mother had been born and nicknamed “Snow Baby”; the Eskimos had never seen a child with skin so white. South of Thule, on the tip of soaring Cape York, stood the granite shaft, capped with steel, with white stone P’s on its sides for Peary and the Pole. It had been erected by my mother in 1932 on an expedition that included my younger brother and me.