Ulla Morris-Carter

Ulla Morris-Carter, née Ursula Agnes Anne Marie Kirschbaum, 1933 Düsseldorf, Germany,  currently resides in San Mateo, California.


 Ulla, 1945. Drawing by painter Herr Grulich.

Born just shy of the beginnings of World War II, she subsequently spent most of her youth and early young adulthood in the throes and then the aftermaths of the deadliest and most devastating global conflict of modern times. From early bombardments in Düsseldorf, to extended school evacuations in the countryside and away from family, to postwar country-wide devastations and severe austerities, she survived  these turbulent times to go on and forge her own way, despite family protestations.

“No Decent German Girl Goes to the Orient!” proclaimed her distressed mother— as a young naive woman in her early 20s Ulla set out for new horizons to Cairo, Egypt in the mid 50s.

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Ulla in Cairo, early 1960s.

She worked and adventured in Egypt, experiencing its ancient wonders, exotic beauty and personal and political crises, (a close brush with ‘white slavery’ and the Suez Canal Crisis) before meeting a young American foreign correspondent, at the time working for New York Herald Tribune and based in the Middle East, Joe Alex Morris Jr.  They married and established a family life first in Cairo, then Beirut, Lebanon, while Joe worked for Newsweek and then the Los Angeles Times as Middle East Bureau Chief. Moving on to Bonn, Germany for a few years and excitedly being transferred back to Beirut 1974 , they were eventually forced to evacuate to Athens, Greece due to the escalating Lebanese Civil War in the mid 1970s.

In 1979, at the outbreak of Iranian Revolution, the tragic shooting of Joe Alex while covering the Iranian Air Force rebellion battle, forced Ulla and two of her daughters to move to Los Angeles, California (the eldest already being at college on the East Coast). Ulla later moved up to the Bay Area, where she still lives today with her second husband, prominent photographer, author and jazz musician Bill Carter.

Ulla has lived and experienced many countries and cultures over multiple decades, speaks several languages and has an extensive historical and political understanding, especially of Germany and the Middle East. After moving to California, she worked in Public Relations at the Los Angeles Times and later as a research assistant and German translator at the Hoover Institute, Stanford, assisting on a 3-volume comprehensive history of modern Germany.


Ulla in Italy, late 1980s.

Always a great storyteller, Ulla has for years captivated dinner guests at the table for hours with her intricately detailed and intriguing stories. She finally put pen to paper and recorded a few of her tales. In early days, Joe Alex used to tease, “Oh The Perils of Pauline”. . . .

This is her second (much more detailed) memoir.


Ulla& Piano

Ulla and The Piano, Los Altos Hills, California, 2014.

I Am A Piano is her first short story, chronicling the story of Ulla’s life from the perspective of the piano, also created in pre-WW2 Germany by a Steinway protege, that traveled with the family over continents and experienced some of the joys and tragedies of Ulla’s life.