For those of us old enough to have grown up watching Rocky and Bullwinkle constantly clash with (and always prevail over) Russian spies Boris and Natasha (shown above), news that a Russian spy ring was rolled up comes as no surprise. While the accents and trench coats remain as comical today as when the cartoons were produced back in the early 1960s, today they offer a glimpse into how the Cold War was a dominant theme in almost every aspect of our lives, from children’s entertainment to space exploration.
As for the recently arrested Russian spies, I found two Lowell connections. One of the accused, Donald Heathfield, is a graduate of the mid-year Masters Degree program at Harvard’s Kennedy School. According to today’s Globe, one of his classmates was Craig Sandler of the State House News Service. In the early 1990s, Sandler was the City Hall reporter of our local newspaper. The Globe quotes Sandler as saying that Heathfield was “friendly, intelligent, thoughtful, low-key, engaging, and, sure, a little bit mysterious.’’ The Globe also reports that at his arraignment yesterday, the Federal Public Defender assigned to represent Heathfield was Catherine Byrne who was a fixture in the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Lowell office for more than a decade in the late 1980s and early 1990s until she departed for Boston and her current position in the Federal system.
More proof of my theory that no matter what happens in the world, there’s always a link back to Lowell.