Thursday, August 29, 2013


     My sister, who lives in Denmark, called me in the morning. She was doing something in the house and her TV was on. Suddenly, she heard a familiar voice. It sounded like our aunt, who lives in Moscow. But it couldn't be, right? 
     Wrong! It was her, our auntie, Ella, and her granddaughter, Anya, on the Russian program, The Fashion Verdict! Apparently, Ella doesn't like how her granddaughter dresses. That program is a fashion intervention. Anya brought with her some girlfriends, mother and a three years old baby. Her husband was there too but he was on the auntie's side, wanting Anya to dress better and more sexy. 
     Here is the link to the program. If you don't speak Russian, you are out of luck, but at least you can see my antie (she is the elderly lady who is called to the podium to speak first) and Anya (a young blond lady who seems to be the center of all the trouble).
     I coudn't believe it! I didn't see Ella since 1982, when we left Russia. She kept in touch with my parents and sister, but I never thought to see her again. 
     I don't recall if I ever told you how the last conversation with Ella went. I just started to work with the Amway, and Amway just started to work in Russia. Here in the States, we were looking for some contacts there, to invite them to the opening event of the Amway's activities. I called everyone in my parents' address book and woke up a few strangers as well. I, myself, stayed up most of the nights because of the time difference between Russia and Moscow. 
     One evening, my sponsors in the Amway and I gathered in my house to do some calling. Mostly, they were watching and cheering me  and another Russian speaking friend on. I found a phone number for auntie and dialed. She answered. Sometimes, there is that feeling that I get before a bad news, when I excitedly greet someone on the phone and they keep silent. Its like talking in a vacuum. One time before, I answered the call from my sister-in-law in Japan. As I babbled on, I was aware that she is about to drop a very bad news. It turned out that her four years old son with the Down Syndrome died recently. 
     It was the same kind of silence that greeted me now. Ella was not interested to talk about going to an opening event. Her son, my close cousin, was dying in the hospital from aneurysm. She ended up bitterly blaming me for only trying to contact them when I needed something. I could not argue with her: it was true, I never called before. As everyone around the table looked on, I couldn't cry or faint or anything. That's how we left things with my auntie.
     I would've never recognized her in a little heavy but bright and courageous woman in the TV program, if I didn't see her name written on the bottom of the screen. She came to the podium, told the audience about her  granddaughter (my cousin's 23 year old daughter) with clarity and aplomb. The family looked like they love each other and have a sense to laugh at themselves. Besides being out of my mind with excitement of  unexpectedly seeing my relatives, I was so moved to hear them talk about their lives and what they went through! This was a great opportunity: how else would I find out, what was happening with them and what they were like? 
     Auntie looks a lot like my mother. She talks and reasons like my mother. It was a little like seeing my mom !

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