As parents, we try to shelter our babies from harm, but as they grow older we realize it is impossible to protect them from all the evils and dangers in the world. I have thought about my worries as a parent and wonder what my grandparents must have felt as all their plans unraveled around them. Would they be thinking, “if only we didn’t leave New Jersey?”
When they left Novgorod four months ago, did they even have a destination? They knew Dad had to go to Moscow to get his passport to return to New Jersey, so when did they realize that being in Kuibyshev would afford them the best access to an American Embassy?
When they got back on the train after learning about the Peal Harbor attack, they were still heading further away from Kuibyshev. Was that intentional? Perhaps my grandparents knew they had to travel further east before they could turn westward.
They did not reach the next station- Kirov- for three more days. The long waits at some stations prior to moving on to the next was frequently because transporting military personnel and supplies always outweighed the need to move civilian passengers. The only food at that station was some black bread. I am sure that Aunt Anna did not have a very high opinion of that city.
During the next several days, conditions were somewhat improved. They got a pot of soup and some meat at one stop, but since Anna and Helen were unable to find any bread, Anna gave that stop a rating of “bad.”
If only they had not left New Jersey, their lives would not be spinning out of control.