Guide The Children of Perestroika: Moscow Teenagers Talk About Their Lives and the Future

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US UK. Thank you for subscribing! Please check your email to confirm your subscription. There was a beautiful orchard behind the house. There was a variety of fruits there. When I was in Chernigov with my daughter looking for Jacob's grave, I was shown the street where my grandfather had lived. Strange as it may be, I found grandfather's house surrounded by new multi-storied buildings. I entered the yard and recollected everything: the place where pen and coop were, the summer kitchen etc.

The orchard had turned into a jungle, teeming with weeds. It was fall, and there were big piles of apples and pears under the trees. I wanted to get in and ask the new hosts to see the place that had been dear to me since childhood, but nobody was in.

The ''Children of Perestroika'': Moscow Teenagers Talk About Their Lives and the Future

I picked up an apple and enjoyed its familiar fragrance. There are certain scraps of my childhood in my memory. I remember my grandmother to cook cherry jam in a huge copper basin. I reached to pick a cherry and scalded my arm heavily.


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I was taken to the doctor and I remember how he praised me for not making a sound during the treatment of the wound and bandaging. I remember how Grandfather used to send me to the bakery for challah, and I removed the crunchy crust and ate it on the way home. Maybe grandfather got so mad because the challah was meant for Sabbath. I don't remember my grandparents to celebrate Sabbath at home; frankly speaking, I preferred to spend time with my cousins rather than with the adults.

Once, my grandfather gave me a pocket watch. I was keen to know why the hands were moving, so I dismantled the watch into tiny pieces. Grandfather scolded me, but my grandmother stood up for me. She picked up all the parts and took them to the watchmaker, and they were put together again. Grandmother forgave her grandchildren entirely no matter what we did. We were very rarely punished. I remember how I lolled out my tongue in front of my grandmother. Late at night, after Uncle Solomon came back from work, he flogged me for lolling out my tongue.

Such little incidents were not in the way for my love for my relatives. I always kept in touch, called and sometimes came for a visit. Once, my grandparents came to Kharkov to see us.

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They spent a week and left. All of us talked them into staying longer, but grandmother didn't want to leave her household for a long time. I was six, when I visited my grandparents for the last time. I came to them from Moscow before schooling. In my father was transferred to the Ministry of Chemical Industry in Moscow. My father left by himself. My mother and I followed him after he had been given the apartment in Moscow.

The apartment was located on Krasnoprudnaya Street. We had a two-room apartment with all modern conveniences. It was a separate apartment, which was a rare thing back in those times. Most of the people continued living in communal apartments. My father's apartment was on the 3rd floor, but we changed it for the 5th floor as one of the residents asked for it because it was hard for him to climb the stairs. My father wasn't against it.

The Children of Perestroika: Moscow Teenagers Talk About Their Lives and the Future

He thought he wasn't entitled for a better living than others. Later, in my father was offered a four-room apartment in the center of Moscow, on Ananyevskiy Lane. Father tried to persuade mother's brother Mikhail to move to Moscow. Mikhail didn't want to move, so Father turned down the apartment saying that there was no use in such a big apartment for us. When we moved to Moscow, my mother started working. She worked for some company for a while, and then she was offered the position of an economist in the planning department of the Ministry of Foreign Trade.

Mother worked there until her retirement. She was loved and respected. No matter that my mother was offered to join the party for a number of occasions, she refused it saying that she was apolitical.

We were well- off. My pre-war childhood and adolescence were the best period of my life. I was closer to my mother than to my father. She was an open-hearted and benevolent person. I always felt her love. Father was different. He also was very decent and honest, but he was constantly busy and he couldn't find time for me. Mother also was very busy. Before the war, I saw my parents once a week, on Sunday.

They went to work two hours after I left for school. When I left, they were asleep. When they came back, I was asleep. Nevertheless, I think my parents taught me a lot, and influenced my mettle. One could interminably reiterate that you should be decent, honest and fair, but without setting one's own example all that nurturing would be futile.

My parents should be given credit for all good things I have as they taught me with their good example to follow. Of course I wasn't on my own.