Our Pop’s story continued…
This is our Pop’s story dictated verbally by him a few years ago. I’ll be sharing excerpts every Tuesday. When I add to his story or explain a photo I will Italicize my words. Our Pop’s words will not be italicized. Our mom does not come into Pop’s story until “Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 9” even though I’ve posted photos of her before #9. I have very few photos from our parents’ life in Russia and Persia. At the end of my Tuesday posts I’ll add links to all the other posts.
Our mom here with her friend Zena. She got into big trouble with her father when he saw this photo of her with lipstick on.
When the harvest was finished, on a Sunday afternoon after church, Nadia and I took a walk in the forest. It was then that I confessed my love for her and asked her to marry me. She told me to ask her mother. But I wanted to know from her – would she marry me if permission was granted. She said she’d think about it. I told her that as her husband I would do anything she wanted. By this time we had returned back to where she was staying. Nadia did ask her mother but she replied that this decision was her father’s. Nadia relayed that message to me. That was good enough for me – so far.
Our Pop, Moisi, with our uncle Paul, the future brother-in-law he went to town with.
The next day I, with my brother-in-law, had to go into town to take care of some business. On the way I told him that I was getting engaged to Nadia and was going to telegraph her father to come to the wedding. According to Russian custom whenever someone was met with good fortune, he had to treat his friends. This was called mahareech. So when we went to lunch at a local restaurant, I bought a bottle of Iran’s finest fire water along with the lunch. As we were eating, a buddy of ours from our village happened into the restaurant. Seeing the bottle on the table he asked what the occasion was. My brother-in-law explained that I was getting engaged to a city girl. He couldn’t believe my good fortune and so ordered another bottle and joined us. So after eating lunch and downing two bottles of alcohol, we three were definitely two sheets to the wind. We headed for the telegraph office. The telegram my future father-in-law received went something like this: “Papa, please hurry and come to my wedding: Nadia.”
You can just imagine his reaction. He went to his friends and acquaintances to try and find out what was going on. He couldn’t believe his daughter would send such a telegram and was quite offended that she would do something like this without his permission. Of course he could not know that she had nothing to do with the telegram.
Realizing there wasn’t much he could do about the situation from Tehran, he came out to our village. For some reason there were quite a few of my contemporaries who were against our marriage. So when he arrived, he was met with a barrage of gossip claiming that I was unfit for marriage, I couldn’t have children, I wasn’t a Christian, etc., etc. But Nadia and I stood firm in our commitment to each other.
I’m adding this photo of the Shvetzov and Katkov families because it’s one of the only photos I have of our maternal grandfather. He is seated next to our Babushka on the right. He was killed in Persia after my mother and father immigrated to the U.S. Later our grandmother immigrated with our Uncle Paul and Aunt Nina (they are standing behind my grandparents in this photo far right). Zena, who was in the first photo in this post is in the back row on the left holding her daughter Tamara. She married a Katkov. The Shvetzov and Katkov families all immigrated to the U.S. and we remained close going to the same church and future marriages intertwined our two families closer together. Our Aunt Nina was one of the Katkov girls. The three young girls in this photo are the only ones still alive in the southern California area. My cousin Alex who is standing between my maternal grandmother and grandfather (Uncle Paul and Aunt Nina’s oldest son) was killed tragically in a car accident in 1979. His three siblings, our cousins, who were born after our aunt and uncle and Alex immigrated are still living in southern California and Florida. Our babushka and babushka Manya, sitting next to her, lived out their lives as widows in apartments next door to each other in Los Angeles, a few doors down from our Russian Baptist church.
This is a photo of our babushka Vera and Babushka Manya Katkov in the United States.