A single dad puts together a family

Crossing the railroad tracks and turning onto the riverside street, we see the Penobscot River—still partially frozen—just beyond the neighborhood backyards. Fifth house on the left . . . white with black shutters . . . garage under construction. And a huge maple striped with nailed-on rungs—for kids to climb up. This has to be it. We pull into the driveway.

Robert Klose, six-foot-three in his stocking-feet (and he is in his stocking-feet) comes from the back door to greet us. Alyosha, the 16-year-old, will be along soon, he tells us as he leads us up the back steps and through the "mud room"—a necessity in Maine this time of year.

Klose settles us down at the kitchen table with cups of blackberry tea and pastries. Right on cue, Alyosha, his Russian-born, adopted son, shows up at the back door. Alyosha's smile fills his whole face. For years I've read about this young man in the essays Robert Klose publishes in The Christian Science Monitor, chronicling his nine-year venture into single parenthood. While Bob goes to pick up his new son, Anton, at kindergarten, Sentinel photographer Ari Denison and I chat with Alyosha—soccer player, basketball player, driver-in-training. And to me, longtime celebrity. Alyosha explains how his dad handles the language gaps with Anton, who is almost six and has only recently come over from Ukraine. Bob says the Russian word and follows with the English one. Body language plays a big part. And when Bob's Russian runs short, Alyosha is there to help.

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Raising a grandson
April 8, 2002

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