I took these photos of my grandma (“babushka” in Russian, emphasis on the first syllable) 3 years ago. She is turning 93 this November. In bright mind, she still lectures me every time we talk on the phone on my life’s choices, and like with any Jewish grandma, it usually boils down to what I should eat, emphasizing that my mostly vegetarian diet and lack of soup consumption is slowly killing me.
She was born on November 7, 1917. A year before World War I ended. Those of you familiar with the Soviet history will recognize that it was also the date of the October Soviet Revolution, which brought about the civil war and, five years later, formation of the Soviet Union. The official Soviet version of events says an assault led by Vladmir Lenin was launched at 9:45 p.m. signaled by a blank shot from the cruiser Aurora in St. Petersburg. We like to joke in the family that it was the sound of the shot that made my grandma’s mom give birth on that date. Ironically, when we all emigrated from the Soviet Union at the very beginning of 1992, my grandma in tow (or, was it me in tow?), the Soviet Union fell apart. Is it just possible that my grandma was that invisible glue that kept the whole country together for 80 years?