During the second half of 1942, Ursula lived in the same boarding house as Eden Pond in the St. John's neighborhood of Portland.
Her father was a lawyer and member of the Russian professional class. He and his wife fled in 1918 in the wake of the October Revolution. They eventually reached America, settling in Portland, but struggled to make a place for themselves, managing only low-paying jobs. Ursula’s mother died giving birth to her in 1922, and her father died in 1926. Four-year-old Ursula ended up in the care of a neighbor woman who treated her as an unpaid servant.
Struggling and feeling victimized, she ran away in 1936, eventually winding up making her living in Portland's skid row as a prostitute. In 1942, when the U.S. Army shut down all sex work, she got a job at the shipyards, though continued to ply her former trade on the side.
Though her parents were Russian Orthodox, the woman who raised her was Catholic, and Ursula adopted the faith. Still, while she nominally believed in God, she was never a devout practitioner.
Date of Birth: 3 July 1922
Date of Death: 24 Dec 1992
- Murder at the Shipyard (working title), Eden Pond Book 2