This post marks the beginning of my brief chronicles during a five week trip to Russia.
Made of wood, the first low wall around Moscow was put in place some 840 years before I was born. At the end of the 15th century, masters from Pskov and Italy directed the construction of the walls and towers I explored during my journey. Growing up in New York City, the questions always was, “How much to do you remember?” Even though I left for the states as a ten year old kid, I remembered, surprisingly, a lot.
I could recall the two houses my grandparents owned across the yard from one another. One was pre and the other was post World War II. I could easily remember the ducks, chickens and pigs on the plot of land out back. To the right, I can even now see the potato field that served as the outmost border of their land while tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, onion, garlic, radishes, cilantro and dill filled in the rest. A short drive away on my grandfather’s motorcycle another plot of land was used for growing corn, watermelon and pumpkins. As a man who worked in military administration, my grandfather regularly received gifts of grain and wine. Finally, across the river, we gathered apples and from he front of our yard, cherries, raspberries and blackberries. The water was pumped from a well my grandfather dug himself. Are these the memories people want to hear when they ask me how much I remember? I could also recall the lilac picked for our teachers on the first day of school, our neighbor’s horse and eating watermelon with black bread that was smeared with garlic. I only have memories along those lines to offer. I don’t remember much about Gorbachev or Yeltsin or the perestroika – sorry.