Category Archives: The Diary

While digging around my father’s dresser, I found an old diary whic spans a time period between 1931 and 1945. It begins on a journey between New York City and Leningrad in the former Soviet Union. It ends with a notation on July 7, 1945 back in the United States. Here I will explore what was found among its pages.

The Creativity of Poverty

When you have no job, but you have six children to feed and clothe, you get creative. My Irish grandfather had beautiful handwriting, so he parlayed that skill into a job making signs around town. My Russian grandfather did odd … Continue reading

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Kuibyshev at Last

For three weeks after my grandparents and aunts arrived at the Sverdlovsk Station on Christmas Eve 1941, the diary reported nothing of significance. At some point, they must have heard that the capital had been moved from Moscow to Kuibyshev, … Continue reading

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Reunited

I imagine that my grandmother and aunts were frantic with worry not knowing what had happened to my grandfather. At the next station, two of my aunts, Helen and Nancy, got off the train to look for him, leaving my … Continue reading

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Going from Bad to Worse

It was now December 16, 1941- four months since their forced-evacuation from Novgorod, and my grandparents and three aunts had traveled more than sixteen hundred miles. The journey was not over. My grandparents were able to obtain some salty pea … Continue reading

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Moving Further Away

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 … Continue reading

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Continuing to Push Eastward

Learning about my grandparents and aunts being pushed eastward, with gunfire and bombs exploding nearby, was so disturbing to me. Then I read about the heavy winds and temperatures which dipped to as low as -40° F/C and I not … Continue reading

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Dodging Bombs on the Train

Dad’s parents and sisters never knew what to expect from one day to the next.  My Aunt Anna seemed to be the optimistof their family as they fled to safety from the Germans. On December 1, they were “riding on … Continue reading

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