Past, Present and Future….

I think it’s time for new post, in which I will introduce my self and my family to you.
I was born to my wonderful parents Mikhail and Nina 7 years after my brother.
My dad Moishe (his Jewish name) was born to his parents Solomon and Sofia. I never met my grandfather. He died at the age of 32 during WWII.
My grandma Sofia was always very ill, it was the results of the butchers surgeons back in the old country.
I was not very close with her and I am not really sure whose fault was that, but anyway she was gone by the time I was 17 years old and now when I am older I wish I knew more about her and her family.

My Grandma Sofia.

My mom’s real name is Minna, which in the Russian language means grenade, so being a child of war she changed her name to Nina to avoid any bullying from her friends. But the real meaning of her name as I recently found out from my friend is “the child of the red earth”
My both parents went through WWII and they were both evacuated to deep, deep part of Soviet Union. My mom was evacuated to Kazakhstan and my dad to Abkhazia. Recently this region of Russia is constantly on the news, this is the place where another “terrorist” war is going on, but this one is involve Russians.
I never heard my mom talk about people where she spent few years of her childhood, but my dad was very close with his evacuation family throughout all his adult life, and I remember when I was a little girl he used to show me pictures of women and children, with whom he spent 1942 and 1943, before going back to Moldova.
I never forget what he told me:  “They were Muslims and we were Jewish but we all lived like one big family, they sheltered us, shared their food with us and no-one ever felt hatred toward each other”. I am trying my best to teach my kids the same, but it’s very difficult… living it through 9/11.

Back to my parents.

My mom’s parents were Pearl and Mehel.

My grandparents Pearl, Mehel and my mom at the age of 17.  

My Grandma and my Mom!! The most important women in my life.

My grandma Pearl was my favorite grandma. She was the picture perfect in every way and most of all she loved my brother and I to death. She lived on the outskirts of our city, where I spent my summers and absolutely loved it. When she got ill she moved in with us. Her death was very difficult for me to accept. She died exactly one month after my first son was born. I felt as thou she was making room for him in this world. My grandpa Mehel went through WWII, he went all the way to Berlin. When I met him he was already ill, the last few years of his life he spent in the chair, unable to move or speak, my grandma took care of him until he died in 1978.
Here is the interesting fact about my babushka! She did not like her name Pear. She thought it was way to Jewish for her, so she changed to Paulina. When the Russians came to her village in 1928-1929 they decided that there is no such name is Paulina and changed to Pelageya (it’s old Russian way). In 1995 when I got my citizenship I choose Paulina for my middle name in honor of my grandma. Back then I did not know that her real name was Pearl, if I knew it , Pearl would have been my middle name.
My parents got married in 1959, my mom was 25 years old and my dad was 27 years old, by Russian standards it was very, very late especially for my mom.

My beautiful parents on their wedding day.

My brother was born in 1960, when they still live in the dorm (back in the late 50-70 soviet government placed people in a family dorms where they shared bathrooms and kitchens, everyone had one room no matter what was the size of the family),  and as I mentioned before I was born 7 years later.

My mom, dad and my brother Jake! 

and finally I arrived.

By that time my mom, dad and my brother already lived in one bedroom apartment. Both my brother and I grew up and matured there all the way until we both got married. Despite the fact that we were all cramped in one little space I had a very nice,careless childhood. We maybe did not have a lot of materialistic things (no one had back then) but we were loved beyond love. Our parents, especially our mom showered us with love. It was tough love, but we both knew we meant the world to them and they would do anything for us. Like any kids we were not perfect and sure we would get punished, mostly my brother 🙂 (love you bro).  He would get punished for the both of us, but none of us ever would think that the punishment we got is somehow is abusive. We as kids would never even think that we could call Police (militia in our case ) and to complain on our parents……
My brother, even when he was little always knew that he would leave USSR. Back when he was in the Soviet Army (every 19 year old  boy had to serve) he told his officers not to assign him to any secret subjects, because his girlfriend is waiting for him in Israel and as soon as he is done here he would move there.
You can’t imagine our father’s face when he heard that story?  By the way my brother did not have any girlfriends in Israel, he just always knew one day he will be out and he did everything to speed up the process, eventually he was the first in our family who immigrated here back in 1989.
By the time he left I was married to my wonderful husband who was also my brother’s friend. Our town was a little town and every Jewish family somehow knew each other if not directly, then indirectly. My brother’s friends potentially were all my “suitors”, but I chose the best one out of all of them. And here is the love of my life,

oh  no he is not the love of my life, my son is,

or no my other son is.

There!!!! All the people without whom I can’t imagine my life, without whom I can’t function, without whom I would not be who I am today.

It would not be fair not to mentioned my mother and father in law and I will do this in my next column.


About Ariana

I came to USA about 20 years from former USSR. I am an American Citizen with a heavy Russian Accent. My two boys always make fun of my English. I love to write, I usually do it for me, but if you would like to stop and leave a comment it would be great! I ‘d love to share with you my American World with the hint of my Russian Personality.
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