Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mama and I spent part of the evening looking at the few remaining family photos - my mama when she was little, her parents, my mama as a student in Nizhyn, and later, when she was already working in Sevastopol.

I knew all these photos by heart when I was a kid. I had stories attached to them, the stories I'd invented, in addition to the real ones.

Then we kept losing them, with all the repairs and moving around. At some point not long ago, I realized I craved to see them again, and today mama has found them, at last.

These photos reveal so much - but they keep silent about even more things. It's overwhelming.

I wish I could be more specific, but it doesn't seem right to talk about my grandparents, for example, now - right after I've spent a few hours looking into their eyes. It'd be like talking behind their backs. And some of it is too personal, way too personal.

I wish I had a scanner nearby so that I could at least post a couple of these pictures now...


Our family is like an iceberg - and there's no way to see what's not on the surface. Most of the things I can only guess - and it's an amazing feeling, so much freedom and so very few allegiances to keep. Even the obviously wrong guesses are worth thinking about and are totally enjoyable - and what if... no, definitely not... but it would've been so cool if...

And to my family now adds Mishah's - with all their stories. And they do know and remember a lot more than we do.

All in all, it feels like I've just discovered a treasure I'd been sitting on for the past few decades, without realizing it. And that's not the first time I feel this way.


I've also found two notes written by my mama to my papa in January 1974, from roddom, right after I was born.

They are terribly moving. Masterpieces.

They also say so much about that period. Here're just a couple lines:

I don't need any food. Well, just lemons, maybe. Perhaps Vasya's mother could find some. Take as many as possible.

Lemons were hard to get then, defitsit. Hard to believe now.


The two roddom notes were written with a pencil, not a pen.

In one, I'm referred to as Nika (Neeka) at the beginning and as Stasya at the end. On Jan. 10, when I was 4 days old, my parents were still undecided on whether to call me Veronica or Stanislava...


  1. melt the iceberg and find what creatures lurk below..

  2. All the grandparents have stories. Only two weeks ago I`ve received the fotos of my grandfather during his military service in WWI, he on a boat on the Volga. He talked a lot about this time but never in details. Yes, it is overwhelming.

  3. The lemon note is indeed very touching... Awww... I wish you could post the original in Russian/Ukrainian as well.