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.
On April 25, 1944 our first daughter was born. She was the ideal baby – beautiful, happy, loveable. Then in early 1946 she contracted dysentery and died. Our hearts were broken. In addition we as parents were blamed for her death because we didn’t have a dedication ceremony for her when she was born – neither in the Baptist or the Molokan church – because we could not agree as to what church should conduct it. This guilt added to our grief. But fortunately, it was mitigated with the birth of our second daughter, Kathy, in May of 1946.
At this time in our lives, my parents began to cultivate closer ties with our relatives in the U.S. In so doing they asked them to sponsor our family into the U.S. (Sponsoring was necessary back then.) And they agreed. As it turned out, only the siblings who had families and my parents had emigration status. That meant that my sister’s family and mine were the only ones who could leave. My parents decided not to come with us because they did not want to further divide the family. Because my father was a spiritual leader in the Molokan church, the immigration officer at the American Consulate advised us to have our American relatives to sponsor him as a pastor which would expedite the emigration process for him and the rest of the family. And so it did for they all arrived two years after we did.
We ourselves left Teheran for the United States on September 3, 1947. I will give the details of our trip because it is different than how we would travel today. Our plane was a twin engine Red Cross cargo plane. There were no seats – only benches – and who needs seat belts? Some of us sat on the benches while others laid on the floor. Because our flight altitude was relatively low, we were able to discard Kathy’s dirty diapers out the window. Opening and closing them did not affect cabin pressure. Here is our itinerary. From Teheran we flew to Cairo, Egypt, refueled and flew on to Rome, Italy. We spent the night in Rome. From Rome we flew to London. We were not allowed off the plane and only stayed for lunch. We flew on to Scotland and stayed overnight. From Scotland we flew to Iceland and had lunch. From there to Greenland where we spent the night. From Greenland we flew to New York. We arrived in New York late Saturday night, September 6th. We were planning to take the train from New York to Los Angeles that night. However, all our money was in travelers checks made out to my brother John. Union Pacific would not take those checks. So we were stuck in New York for the night. We had the name of a Russian pastor and two kind ladies from Traveler’s Aid helped us locate his church. When we arrived he was just locking the doors of the church for the night. He took my sister’s family and the three of us to a hotel which did accept our travelers checks. In the morning Nadia woke up and was scared to death because of the height of the room. All she saw were people the size of ants below and this frightened her.
It being Sunday, we went to this pastor’s church morning and evening. On Sunday night one family took my sister’s family and another took ours for the night. Monday morning we notified our relatives of our plight. They wired us money for the train and so we left for Los Angeles. We arrived in LA on September 12, 1947.
My parents with our oldest sister Kathy the second in Los Angeles. Mom is pregnant with our sister Vera in this photo.
Kathy (the second) at a park in Los Angeles. I asked my parents a few years ago why they would name their second daughter Kathy since that was the name of their daughter who died. They looked at me puzzled and said, “It’s a good name”. So we have 2 sisters named Kathy. One deceased and one alive and well living in Southern California.