It’s Too Familiar

Yesterday, I touched a bit on my own experience with the immigration process, through my father and his third marriage. I’ve been using this blog to share, politics, writing, my occasionally complicated life in a way that I hope will help people in some small way.

Just as it has for many others, this election cycle has triggered me in many ways but one that might not be as familiar to many is Melania Trump and her rare public appearances and defenses of her “Donald” whom she calls both a gentleman and at the same time similar to her young son. What that reminded me of was how my dad’s third wife spoke and her characterizations of myself, my family, and my father. The letters that are attached were supposedly written by my father and were part of the “immigration process” that is the fiance visa:

These are the only two documents I have related to the INS file. I wish I had more and I truly wish the INS had even once contacted me since I was called out during the “incident” where Yuliya was arrested for spousal abuse.


TO:                Whom it may concern

FROM:          Robert H. Lessard                    

SUBJECT:      Separation and Divorce from 2nd Wife

The court granted me a divorce form my 2nd wife in February of 2002

(approximately 2/26/02). The official date of the divorce does not reflect the fact that the original petition for the divorce was issued on 2/17/00. I have enclosed a copy of the petition to verify this fact. It took over 2 years to complete the divorce proceedings because of the complexity of the financial arrangements between my wife and myself. It also does not reflect the fact that I officially became separated from my 2nd wife in September of 1998 and that I had been living with her in a nonconjugal relationship for 4 years prior to this time.

When I started to communicate with Yuliya in April of 2001, I sincerely believed that the divorce proceeding were on the verge of being finalized. I was wrong. I did not tell Yuliya of my marital status because I did not want to destroy the relationship that I was building with her. I was constantly being told by my lawyer that the divorce was only days away.

I decided to proceed with the courtship in a normal fashion and to marry Yuliya as soon as the divorce proceeding were finalized and at the time that we could obtain a fiancée visa. I truly love this woman.

I recently informed Yuliya of the official date of my 2nd divorce. She has excepted my explanation of why I did not inform her of my marital status and we are moving on with our lives.

I intend to marry Yuliya Hulevska within 90 days of her entry into the United States. I have both adequate finances to support her and a large home for us to live in.

Yuliya is a  citizen of the Ukraine. We met as a result of her registering with an agency and subsequently being posted on a web site. I subscribed to the services of this agency and was able to obtain her address. I wrote to her and she responded. We soon were corresponding with each other via E-mail and by telephone.

1 was attracted to Yuliya because she believes, like myself, in the importance of living in the context of a traditional family system. She does not drink alcohol, smoke, or do drugs. I do not smoke, do drugs, and only drink once or twice a year (and only one glass of wine during those times.) She is mostly a vegetarian but will eat fish and poultry occasionally. I only eat fish and poultry and fresh fruits and vegetables. She does not drink coffee and neither do I. She is a classical pianist and I love classical music. We both are teachers. She teaches the piano to young children and I teach at the college level. I currently teach geology and astronomy on a part-time basis at Santa Fe Community College. I also am a retired professor of geology from New Mexico Highlands University. I obtained my BS and MS degrees in geology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California and my Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am currently getting my MS degree in astronomy from the University of Western Sydney in Australia. (This degree is offered over the web.) My hobby is collecting paintings, sculptures, ceramics, toys, etc. I also like to traveL

Yuliya’s and my courtship has consisted of writing virtually hundreds of E—mails to each other, talking to each other twice a day over the phone, and meeting each other on three different occasions in France. Our trips to France demonstrated to both of us that we are very compatible and feel very comfortable with each other when we are together.

Yuliya Lessard    095-244-782 Question # 7


TO:       INS

FROM:     Robert H. Lessard

SUBJECT: Arrest of Yuliya Lessard

I, Robert Lessard, am the husband of Yuliya Lessard. I would like to comment on the unfortunate events that resulted in the arrest of Yuliya Lessard. And I would very much like to request that you disregard this event in considering her application for the renewal of her Green Card.

I would first like to emphasize that on the 16th of June, 2003, the complaint filed in this case was dismissed without prejudice by the District Attorney’s office.    have enclosed a copy of the dismissal order at the end of this letter. It was realized that a major misunderstanding had occurred.

Yuliya is a musician who received her education in classical piano at an advanced conservatory in the Ukraine in Eastern Europe. She taught classical piano at a music school in Lvov, in the Ukraine, for 23 years. She taught piano, to her young students, with an extreme passion and carries this passion into every aspect of her life. Her students all loved and respected her.

The cultural setting in her country demands that children have the utmost and greatest respect for parents, teachers, and all other adults. The events that took place that led to the arrest centered on her interaction with my daughter and the feeling that that type of respect had not been extended to her by my eldest daughter. My daughter, who is 36, lives in Boulder, Colorado. She paid a surprise visit to Yuliya and myself on the evening before the incident occurred. Yuliya extended a very warm welcome to her. My daughter apparently wanted to talk to me privately and asked if I could go out to dinner with her without Yuliya. Yuliya became offended by this request in that it did not fit in with the cultural respect that she is accustomed to in her country, especially after she had given her such a warm welcome.

This cultural insensitivity on my daughter’s part and my own insensitivity to how important this event was to Yuliya led to the next day’s events. The next day Yuliya was very upset and constantly reminded me of the previous day’s event and asked that I acknowledge that my daughter had been wrong about her treatment of her. I was looking at the situation from another perspective and was honestly not sensitive to the deeper cultural sensitivity that it had engendered. This led to a series of confrontations that resulted in Yuliya slapping me twice on my arm- I was confused by these events and went to my neighbors in order for them to help Yuliya and myself mediate the situation. They unfortunately called the police. Yuliya does not understand English too well and was arrested by the Police because they thought she was not cooperating with them even though she thought she was doing everything that they requested.

Yuliya, and I, after the incident, immediately went to see a marriage counselor, Dr. Patricia Brown, in Santa Fe, NM. Yuliya and I spent many sessions with her and were able to learn a lot from them

I very much regret that this situation arose. It was due to my own and my daughter’s cultural insensitivity’s.

Yuliya and I have moved forward since this situation occurred in the early part of 2003. We are constantly working to build a strong and healthy marriage.

In June of 2003, we bought a large rental complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It consists of 2 houses, a 4 —unit apartment, a 6—unit apartment, and a 10—unit apartment. It was in a terrible state of disrepair. We have put a tremendous amount of effort in improving this property so that it will become a pleasant and safe haven for the tenants who live there. We have put a tremendous amount of effort in improving this property and our own money to do the repair work. And we have spent as much as 6 days a week at the property to achieve our goals.

Yuliya has begun, this last year, to teach piano once again. She teaches one student from Church for free. And she has one paying student.

We are also traveling, when possible, to places in both the United States and Europe, as well as Mexico. We always have a wonderful time on these trips. We have visited San Diego and Los Angeles, Acapulco, Mexico, Italy, and several places in the Ukraine, which is Yuliya’s home.

We do not socialize too extensively. Yuliya does not drink, and I only drink a glass of wine once or twice a year. We try to live a very healthy life style. We eat healthy foods and enjoy exercising on a daily basis.

Yuliya and I love each other and are doing all in our power to have a successful marriage.

Sharing this is deeply personal and also, I’m hoping, cathartic. Despite appearances to the contrary my father didn’t write these letters (or at least not the majority of the content in them). If you had a chance to know him you would know that this was not how he spoke.

When you read it, think of Melania and how she speaks, acts, and reacts. There is I think a similarity there. I don’t know what it means, nor of a relevance to the election, if any, but it feels… interesting.

My dad’s third marriage is a tale of abuse and manipulation and of a system that did not work to protect my father or my little sister, who was – at the time – in high school.

I wrote a bit about the incident that is referred to in The Trip and The Trip, Part 2. One thing I’m not sure that I made clear in those blog posts was that the neighbors referred to in the letter above did not call the police – my dad did.

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