Tovarish Brezhnev vs. President Clinton.

A few weeks ago WordPress asked us to Describe our first encounter with a celebrity. I was not ready then between Mother’s Day, Victory’s Day and my birthday.  I could not concentrate on any celebrities, but now I think it’s time I share two different experiences in my life and it’s not really about any celebrities…..

First one happened when I was 7 years old. One autumn morning our elementary school teacher announced that in the next few days there will be no school because a very important person will be visiting our town and our street. That important person was non other than Leonid Brezhnev. You could not imagine the little girl excitement!!!!. Tovarish Brezhnev himself will be right here on my street and I will be able to see him and talk to him and he may even stop and personally greet me and my mom and dad!!!!!!

For the next few days all of us adults and kids worked together to make our little town look spotless, we scrubbed and cleaned our streets, yards, parks……. I remember my friends and I would dream about how he was going to get out of his car and would give us candy and gum ( because this is what kids in USSR would dream about more candy and more gum, maybe not all the kids, but we did).

We completely ignored the fact that our teachers taught us that gum was a very bad American tradition associated with capitalism and Soviet child would never go that low is to chew a gum.

We also completely forgot about another fact that our teacher taught us: in case Tovarish Brezhnev would stop to talk to us we should tell him about how we the future of our country will be building socialism and communism.

(i am one of the girls behind the car)

Well needless to say Tovarish Brezhnev drove by  and we saw him for exactly 7 seconds.  He did not get out of the car, he went straight to the airport without making any stops at all, but we were still so happy and proud that he chose our street instead of any others, so what if we did not get what we wanted. After all we are Soviet kids and we don’t chew gum!!!! After his visit our life went back to the same routine: we stopped dreaming and started building our future, which you already know did not turn out the way it was planned.

Now, on my second life time experience. I was in Arizona on a business trip.  The meetings were done and we were getting ready to go home the following day. On that day we were having breakfast in the beautiful hotel when all of sudden we see people in black on the roof and in every corner of the hotel.  We decided to ask our waitress what was going on when she casually replied, that president Clinton was staying there. He came in town for the Democratic convention and was just about to leave the hotel and if we would like to meet him we should hurry up.

I could not believe this!!!!!!! This was déjà vu all over again!!!!!! I will be meeting a President of the United States!!!!!!…….And I did! I shook his hand and he shook mine, I said to him: Mr. President it’s an honor to meet you and he said to me No, it’s my honor to serve you. The moment I shook Bill Clinton hand I called my mom to tell her about it and she reminded me about our Brezhnev fiasco.

Now remembering these 2 episodes made me think about the differences in the country I used to live in and  the country I live now and without a doubt I can tell you I live in the best country in the world where the President of the United States of America  can shake the hand of the Russian immigrant.


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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2 Responses to Tovarish Brezhnev vs. President Clinton.

  1. Leah says:

    Very touching story! You always get me to reflect on being an American when I read your posts. What happiness you must have felt to shake President Clinton’s hand. We do live in a great country where that is even possible. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: Obsession. | Pearl's twirl

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