Archive for October 16, 2008

Unedited Versions of TWO More Babushkis Stories

Lidia Timofeevna

When this woman got into the classroom it was obvious that she used to be very active during the Soviet times. This was true as she told us about the being an A+ student in the morning and looking after the cows in the evenings. She was born in the 1939, just before the WWII started and she had clear memories of her father leaving to the front in 1941. It is obvious that her parents were very strong people. They used to live during the hardest times of the history: WWI, Famine of 1933 and WWII.

For the Lidia the WWII ended in the 1941, when there was a big battle very close to the Moscow between Soviet Union’s and Fascist forces. Soviet Union put all its power to win this battle and actually did it. At that time the war was over for Lidia.

Lidia’s father died on the front leaving her mother with 4 girls. In 1946 when Lidia went to the school they had nothing to write on and with, they didn’t have a backpack, no notebooks and no books, they didn’t have a library, but they were happy.

It was clear that although Soviet times were hard, she misses them a lot. She told us a story when she lost a herd and was very afraid of what would be done to her, but people from her village saw these sheep walking without her and put all of them to own yard, so that no sheep would be lost. Lidia says that people were more honest before, but “now their idols became money”. She talked about the friendship that the war created within the country. She said that they were taking blue bread to the school to share it with other classmates.

She had a very successful career in the textile plant and used to be very nervous. She became ill with cancer and had overall 8 surgeries. She said that God helped her to go through everything. Lidia kept repeating during her speech this phrase, which I think reflects not only her personality but the mentality of people in Soviet Union: “Always work with conscience”.


Galina Alayevna

Galina Alayevna was born in 1932 in Ashkhabad, the capital city of the Turkmenistan. Her mother was Russian and father Turkmen. Her mother was sent there to work in the tuberculosis hospital.

Galina has told us a lot about the living conditions during those times. She said that there were no rich people, no differentiation by income. People could be differentiated on the base how close to the party they were, because these people were the ones that got apartments and all other privileges. Others had to live in the “komunalka”, a prototype to the dormitory. Women had only one dress to wear and sometimes no underwear. Her father once presented her mother a chintz shawl; it was a very expensive gift for that time period. Galina describes the life in Turkmenia as very hard. They lived on the backyard of the hospital where mother used to work. Unfortunately her parents got divorced and mother took young Galina to the Orenburg.

When the WWII started Galina was 9 years old, her mother had to work in the hospital, taking care of the injured soldiers, while young Galina was taking care of their home and Grandmother.

Galina graduated from musical school and college and then moved to the Almaty to study and work here. She has worked as a teacher of music for almost 30 years, she started to work in 1951 and until 2005.

Galina’s either uncle or grandfather (she doesn’t remember herself) was killed during the time of repression and his monument is in Ashkhabad city.

I was very expressed by the fact that Galina’s mother working in the tuberculosis hospital at the age of 30 also got ill with this disease. I think that I would never want to work somewhere always being disposed to this disease.

In the end Galina said happily: “I have everything”.

Lidia and Galina had very different life stories, they are different a lot from one another, but what makes both of them similar is their strength. However I am more impressed by their parents, because these are the people who actually were very strong and brave. This makes me think how easy is my life in comparison to what these people had to go through.


by Mahkfirat

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