For all of you that know (or might not), Zhenia and her family emmigrated to the United States in 1989. This would be her first trip back in 17 years….
I had many fears coming to back to my old apartment building and the playground where my sister and I spent many afternoons giggling and amusing ourselves. It had been so many years since I walked down Zakrevskoya Ulitsa or had caught the tram that zipped down this street. I feared that my childhood, safe in the confines of my memory, sheltered me and also made me a bit naïve to all that might have changed since I left. But as I jumped off the bus, I began to remember everything.
Zhenia walking down Zakrevskoya Ulitsa midst the blooming lime-trees and horse chestnut.
The tram still works but will soon become obsolete and replaced by the tram-bus. It is as if the tram was waiting for my arrival!
The old brown soviet-type building is a food market that has been slightly changed on the inside. Sasha, do you remember how we took that baguette of bread without paying and mama made us go back and apologize?
Ice cream in a cup with Little Mermaid wrapper. What more can a girl ask for?
The road to my apartment building was paved with these great big cement blocks, too big for a 7 year old to have to tackle on her own. I used to hold my mothers hand and jump from block to block. It felt so good to hop from block to block by myself.
I grew up on the 8th floor, 8th window from the right in apartment 93. In the main lobby downstairs there are still two elevators (one big on the left and one small on the right) which rattle and clank whilst in mid-air.
The stadium can still be viewed from the balcony of the building.
“Zhenia’s coming home tour” would naturally end in this spot, my old playground. It isn’t much by the look of it but does hold many fond and innocent memories for me. I couldn’t hold back the tears.
Sasha, do you remember the jump rope we would tie around the cement columns and compete for the fanciest jumping combination?