Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Back to the Future

(originally featured on Blogs)
My mother was nine months old when her parents decided to leave Russia.

My grandfather had been a soldier in the Russian army, and when he returned home and tried to buy a parcel of land for his new family he was told that 'Jews could not buy any land in Russia.' He turned to my grandmother and announced, "I'm good enough to die for my country but not good enough to live here? Pack up! We are leaving!"

I remember as a little girl sitting and learning the songs of his homeland. I remember hearing the stories about his little village of Sheletz, and how they only had permission to have one cow. When she gave birth to a calf, the authorities came and took it away! My grandfather told me how they brought that cow into their home in the winter so she wouldn't die in the cold.

Every grandchild knew that Sheletz was "tzen viorsts fun Mogilov...ten viorsts from Mogilov" - the capital of Mogilovsky Gubernia! I grew up listening to old records of Caruso and Chaliapin, of Yiddish spoken more than English and an occasional splash of Russian for emphasis.

What is bringing all these memories back to mind right now?

Three days ago my oldest son landed in Moscow for a short work-related trip for five days. He called home and told us he was in Red Square. He was cold! He was at the Kremlin! When I learned that he was about to go to Russia, I ached to pick up the phone and call my Mother and my Zaidi, but neither were alive. So, instead I phoned my Tanti in Mother's sister who is eighty-five. So many stories. So many memories. My heart smiled and my eyes teared.

Many people have gone to Russia to visit, but my son is the first in my family since 1924. I never ask anyone to bring me back anything, but this time I needed to touch something that came from there. I don't know what he'll bring, but who cares? It will be just what I needed. I bet my parents and grandparents are smiling right now. I know I am.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.


At 10:49 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

I loved reading this! Let us know what he brings back. Blessings from Oklahoma!


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