Tuesdays With Moisi ~

From Russia to Iran to Los Angeles to Colville.

Next to our grandfather (Dzedushka) to the right in the center of the photo is Michael Ivan Voloshin. He was the son of Moisi’s sister who died after the birth of her 4th child in Iran. The child also died. Our Pop’s sister’s name was Akcenya. Michael’s brother Bill Voloshin is standing in the back row on the far left. Next to him is his brother Alex who our grandparents adopted and raised after Akcenya died. Sometime after this photo was taken in the Los Angeles area Michael Ivan Voloshin was married and had children.

Now fast forward many years from when this photo was taken in 1955 or 1956. Michael’s daughter Akcenya (named after her grandmother, my aunt) married a Russian fella named Steve Filipoff in 1994 in the Los Angeles area. They eventually moved out of California to Oregon. After being in Oregon for a while they decided to re-locate to Colville, Washington. They have lived in Colville now for 7 years. I had no idea that I had a cousin once removed who lived in Colville. Akcenya who goes by the American name Cindy was contacted by her sister Manya letting her know that she thought from my facebook posts that I was living in Colville. Cindy and her husband Steve have a painting business and they were contracted to paint our church addition. Cindy asked our pastor if I attended his church and he told her that Dear and I did. Our pastor informed me that he had met my cousin and I was a bit skeptical. I went to church on the day they were painting and we put two and two together and connected the dots to exactly how we are related.

Akcenya, our pop’s sister is the one in the top row with the dark scarf on her head. Her husband must be the one on her left. (Leonard, if I’m wrong with any of my info please correct me)

While my cousin Jim was visiting the last several days we decided it would be a good time to have Steve and Cindy over since Jim had never met Cindy who is his cousin once removed, too. Jim’s father Alex, our pop Moisi and Cindy’s grandmother Akcenya were brothers and sister.

One of Steve and Cindy’s three sons, Nicholas, was able to have dinner with us, too. Me, Nicholas, Steve, Cindy and Jim.

It’s a small world for sure. We marveled that after all these years we could meet and get to know one another in Colville.

Tuesdays With Moisi

All the photos in this post were taken in the 50’s.  I believe this photo was taken after my parents bought our home in Montebello Gardens/Pico Rivera, 4635 Oak St. These are all family and friends who immigrated from Persia to the United States. Russian Baptists and Russian Molokans together. Moisi (Pop) is in the front row with his head on Nadia’s (Mom) shoulder.

The photo above was also taken on Oak street. Our mom is standing on the left. Our aunt Anna is standing on the right. Kneeling, our mom’s cousin Luba, and our aunt Nina. I recognize the lady in the center standing but her name has slipped my memory. Maybe my brother Leonard or sister Vera can leave a comment with her name. 🙂

This is a very rare photo of our mom and our aunt Ouiliana with trousers on. Our aunt Katie is in the center. Both of these aunts are from our Pop’s side of the family. One married to Uncle John and one married to Uncle Alex.

Aunt Zena, our mom, and aunt Ouliana in the back. Aunt Nina(our only aunt on my mother’s side of the family), ?, Mrs. Hamzieff, and Aunt Luba. We called most anyone our parents age aunt and uncle.

I’m not sure where photo was taken. Possibly it was at our Uncle Pete and Aunt Anna’s house since she’s the one with an apron on. Yikes! Is that a cigarette in our Pop’s hand? He did smoke for a while but always kept it a big secret from us kids. Generally you can tell who is Baptist and who is Molokan by whether or not the men wear ties. Ties were not a common dress code for Molokans.

Our maternal grandmother, babushka Vera with her dear friend and the mother of our Aunt Nina, babushka Manya.

The photo above is taken in front of our driveway at 4635 Oak Street.

Front yard of 4635 Oak Street. Moisi (Pop) is holding me.  I’m guessing this is Easter 1952.

Our sister Vera’s birthday since she’s holding the cake. This must have been in February in the early 50’s.

Easter on our driveway.

The same Easter but at our Uncle and Aunt’s home. Our maternal grandmother lived with Uncle Paul and Aunt Nina for many years before she got her own apartment a few doors down from the Russian Baptist church in Los Angeles.

We took a few camping trips to Big Bear with our cousins on our mother’s side of the family.

The photo above is a favorite of mine with our Pop working on a jigsaw puzzle while we were camping. He spent many hours working on jigsaw puzzles before he died.

Besides camping we’d drive to farms to pick berries and cherries for mom and pop to prepare for canning.

January of 1958 our brother Tim was born. This was in our living room on Oak street.

I’m guessing this is my seventh birthday.

Easter 1958 at our cousin’s home in Maywood, California. Our maternal grandmother lived with our Uncle Paul and Aunt Nina so we visited them regularly.

This photo above is from a road trip we took to Oregon stopping at Crater Lake.

Christmas 1958, Tim was 11 months old and we all needed to protect the tree from his curiosity.

This must be Easter 1959 at our Uncle Paul and Aunt Nina’s home in Maywood, California.

Backyard on Oak street after a deep sea fishing trip Pop took for yellowtail.

I’m guessing the photo above is from 1960 at our Uncle and Aunt’s with our maternal grandmother because our brother Steve was born in December of 1959.

The kitchen at a birthday for me just before we moved to Montebello. I’m guessing this is my 9th birthday. The next photo is of the same kitchen from a realtors more current photo. Looks like the kitchen has not been updated much from the 50’s!

Another photo from our backyard on Oak Street.

This is a historical post for my kids so I’m adding the three school photos I have from Montebello Gardens Primary School here, too.

And here is a current photo of what our house on 4635 Oak street looks like now.

This is the backyard now. Where this storage shed is today there used to be a pigeon coupe that Pop built.

This realtors shot of the hall to all the bedrooms in our house looks so dismal. I can see now why it was easy for us to jimmy up the walls since they were so close together. I ran down this hall one Easter or Christmas morning and slipped and slid into the cabinet of that utility room you can see at the end of the hall and broke one of my toes. I had to wear a slipper on that foot for church that day because of swelling, so embarrassing.

As I find more photos from our family’s time on Oak street I’ll add them to this long post. In a future post I’ll cover the time our family spent at 305 Los Angeles Avenue in Montebello.

Hope you all have a good Tuesday.

Tuesdays With Moisi or Nadia

IMGP9094

The first part of this post was written by our daughter Katie a few years ago. I’m featuring Nadia (babushka) today instead of Moisi for Tuesday With Moisi. The photo above was taken in 2013.

    • Gimme my Babushka’s cooking and I’ll be content

    • The sort of Russian/Persian cuisine that my Baba (Grandma) makes… I would be a happy camper for a year with yummy borscht, galupsi, kulyich, syrny paska, lapsha, varenky, shashlik, and a million other treats that I would butcher just as badly trying to spell in English…I can say most of them but they’re sure hard to type. Just make sure you give me a good supply of sour cream, and can I bend the rules to include my Mom’s “green borscht” which is spinach soup we chop up hardboiled eggs in? I was never entirely sure where that soup’s origins really lay…I could never get sick of all the lamb and cabbage and butter filled goodness, heck I even like the Russian candies my Deda (Grandpa) keeps around though none of my cousins do. My mouth is watering already. ~ Katie
    • borsch-snoqualmie-001
    • Many Borsch recipes include beets in them. The familiar Borsch that we grew up with and that we had at Molokan Church Meals did not have beets in it. Here is my mother’s recipe. Our people don’t pronounce Borsch with a “t” on the end.

      Nadia’s Borsch

      For the Stock:
      1 Seven Bone Roast or Chuck roast if you can’t find Seven Bone
      1 onion
      1-3 celery stalks with leaves
      2-3 carrots
      2 bay leaves
      5-10 peppercorns
      Salt to taste

      Salt and pepper the roast and sear it on all sides. Put the roast in a stock pot and cover with water. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook until roast is fork tender. Remove the meat and set aside. Discard the stock vegetables.

      Soup Ingredients:

      1 head of cabbage shredded (green is what we use)
      1-3 carrots grated
      1-2 onions diced
      1 bell pepper seeded and diced
      2-3 stalks of celery diced
      1 jalapeno seeded and diced (optional)
      2-3 potatoes diced
      2 cans stewed tomatoes blended in blender (we have those that don’t like chunky tomatoes)
      1 can tomato sauce
      1/2-small bunch of dill (to taste)
      1 handful of chopped Italian parsley
      salt and pepper to taste
      1 can of garbanzo beans drained and rinsed (optional)

      Saute onion, bell pepper, celery and jalapeno if you are using one until onion is translucent.
      Add these ingredients to a blender along with the two cans of stewed tomatoes.
      Blend and add them to the beef stock along with all the other ingredients.
      Bring to a boil, then simmer until cabbage, carrots and potatoes are tender.
      Taste and see if the soup needs more salt or pepper at this time.

      The Borsch is ready now.

      My mother doesn’t include this in her recipe but when she made borsch at my house once I saw her add a half a cube of unsalted butter at the end. :) My mother mashes most of the potatoes to thicken up the soup a bit.

      You can serve the roast alongside the borsch with a good loaf of bread and of course…sour cream.

I made this pot of Borsch on Sunday and we’re enjoying it again today. I also took a couple of containers to Dan and Jamie’s today. We watched Addy while Dan and Jamie made a trip to Spokane to do some shopping.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 3

The 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.

Eventually, another group of people decided to make a second try for Iran.  But, unknown to us, it was a plot engineered by the GPU-the Russian Secret Service.  They formed a group of which my sister and her husband, Simyon, were participants. My mother decided to send only two of us with this group while keeping the younger children.  So one evening the group, with my brother Michael and I, left. As we made our way out of the city, we walked up a small hill and down the other side. As we were descending, we were suddenly surrounded  by the militia, ordering us to put up our hands. In so doing we dropped all of our possessions. We were then ordered to march in a different direction, leaving all our possessions behind. We were all loaded onto a truck and taken to the local GPU headquarters.  When we arrived there, Simyon was taken inside and we were all herded outside underneath the open window of the room where he was being interrogated. We could hear everything that was going on inside. This was done purposely to intimidate. The interrogator showed no mercy.  Simyon was ordered to empty his pockets. Among the items in his pockets was a handwritten book of hymns. The interrogator used the book to slap Simyon across his checks repeatedly and threatened to execute him if he lied in any way. The interrogation lasted four to five hours.  Simyon was taken to a holding cell. A soldier then came out and mockingly shouted at us “Now you can go back to your dad.” We were released and went back home. My mother was naturally shocked to see us. We told her what had happened and that Simyon was now in jail.

To add to my mother’s increasing woes, my brother John was suddenly arrested one evening without warning.  His job was a source of income for our family. We were now left totally destitute. My mother in desperation would go to the railroad yards and sop up spilled oil with rags.  She would then wring out the oil from the rags into buckets and sell the buckets. She also used it as heating oil for us. This was an incredibly difficult time for us. We became intimately acquainted with hunger and cold.  When we had absolutely nothing to eat, my mother would go to the local brewery and there beg for the mash that they discarded as pig feed. She would again go to the railroad yards and scratch for the spilled flour in the dirt.  She would then combine this flour with the mash and so bake a sort of bread with these ingredients. It was very difficult to swallow this sort of food. We would soften it with our saliva and swallow it whole. We couldn’t chew it because of the dirt.

As a result of our desperate situation, I came down with a serious case of pneumonia.  My fever rose to such a degree that I became delirious and my mother lost all hope that I would survive.  But eventually I did come out of my delirium and remember very clearly my mother and another woman standing over me.  My mother was crying and the other woman was comforting her. They gave me some soup and I began to improve. Eventually my health was slowly restored.  So the years 1931 and 1932 were especially difficult for us.

Since John was mentioned in this segment, I added the photo above of the surviving Bogdanoff’s in the 1980’s with their spouses. Uncle John is the one on the top right with the beard.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~1

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 Pop is the boy on the right standing next to our paternal grandmother babushka Martha. Our Aunt Anna who is the one remaining family member alive is on the left side next to our paternal grandfather Timofey.

In his own words as translated into English from Russian:

My name is Moisi Timofeyavich Bagdanov.  The name Moisi is the anglicized version of Moses.  In the Russian language it is pronounced as Moses. I list my birth date as May 25th, 1923.  I’m sure of the year but I’m not sure of the actual day of my birth because I was born at home and no records were kept in those days.  All that I know was that I was born sometime in May, according to my mother. We lived in a village called Saleem in southern Russia about 200 miles south of present day Rostov.  Our village was in a network of about 30 other villages mainly inhabited by Russian Molokans. And that is who we were.

I was born into a large family – twelve children altogether – and we never seemed to have enough of life’s necessities.  My earliest memories involve my cousin Michael and me. We were inseparable playmates. One day we went into the fields where watermelons and cantaloupes were growing.  We had a knife between us and so decided to check out how the fruit was ripening. I very much remember the verbal tongue lashing I received as a result of our informal field testing!  Another time I remember being chased from my grandfather’s bee hives because of the mischief we were causing there. In the spring of 1928, at the ripe old age of four, I was placed on my first plow horse and thus began my career in farming.

In the spring of 1929 I remember the agricultural advances that were made when our village and two others invested in a tractor, threshing machine, and a combine for the wheat harvest.  By today’s standards they would be very primitive, but at that time they were a godsend. The whole village participated in the harvest with singing and gratitude because of these labor saving devices.  I also remember a very small dairy near our village which produced cheese, cottage cheese, and butter. We kept these products from spoiling by packing our underground cellars with snow in the winter. We poured water over the snow turning it to ice.  That small cellar served as our refrigerator for the entire year.

(Seven of the 12 siblings remaining together in the USA in 1982. Jim, Vasilli, Pop Moisi, Anna, Mikhael (Mike) who was visiting the U.S.A. for the first time, Alex, and John.) The next photo has the spouses added. Aunt Anna’s husband was deceased already. Uncle Jim was divorced.

Mikhael did not imigrate to the USA like the rest of these siblings in the photo. After escaping to Persia with the family and living there for several years he heard things were better in Russia so he returned. He was immediately arrested and sent to Siberia. Miraculously he survived his time there. He applied to visit the U.S.A. many times and was finally granted permission in the early 80’s when these photos were taken. The U.S. family had not seen Mikhael for 40 years and this visit was such a happy reunion for everyone. When my parents took their trips to Russia and then returned as missionaries to Russia in the 90’s they were able to have many good visits with Mikhael and his family.

Uncle Mike center top row next to Pop(Moisi) and sister Anna with babushka Martha (Moisi’s mother) sitting in front of them. All my brothers and sisters. Six of us were already married in 1982. Leonard and Lana, the twins were not married yet. Several grandchildren and great grandchildren not born yet.

Steve, Len, Greg, Ellen, Leonard, Uncle Mike (Mikhael), Moisi, Aunt Anna, Lana, Mom, Nick, Vera

Kelly, Kathy holding Melissa, Tim, Nina (Tim’s first wife who died in the early 90’s from complications of Cystic Fibrosis), Babushka Martha, Aunt Maria(Uncle Mike’s wife), Baby Stephen, Sandee, Fred

John, David, Michelle, Josh, Daniel, Debbee, Danielle, and Michael

Moisi’s kids, my brothers and sisters and me are in bold print.

Some details and history about Molokans from an earlier post of mine can be found here.

O, Come, Little Children

img493

Oh, Come, Little Children

Oh, come, little children, oh, come, one and all,
To Bethlehem’s stable, in Bethlehem’s stall.
And see with rejoicing this glorious sight,
Our Father in heaven has sent us this night.

Oh, see in the manger, in hallowèd light
A star throws its beam on this holiest sight.
In clean swaddling clothes lies the heavenly Child,
More lovely than angels, this Baby so mild.

Oh, there lies the Christ Child, on hay and on straw;
The shepherds are kneeling before Him with awe.
And Mary and Joseph smile on Him with love,
While angels are singing sweet songs from above.

Words: Christoph von Schmid, 1794

A friend of ours faxed me the music and words for O Come Little Children in the Russian language. I learned this song by heart in Russian and it’s been fun to sing it this week. We have started the Advent Season and I’ll be posting Christmas Music for the rest of the month. Some of the words in Russian translate different than the English version.

Getting to Know You…

I enjoyed reading Eileen’s Getting to Know Me and Mildred’s, too, so I’m answering the 25 questions.
1. What is your middle name?: 
I do not have a middle name on my birth certificate. In my Russian culture I would be introduced as Ellen, Moisi’s (daughter) Bagdanov. Everyone would then know that I was Moisi’s daughter not Ivan’s daughter.
That’s my maiden last name in Russian on my paternal grandparents’ gravestone.
2. What was your favorite subject at school?:
Any class where the teacher made me feel like they appreciated having me as a student especially my English teachers in high school. I enjoyed Home Economics and ended up majoring in Home Economics.
Mrs. Nicolaus was my favorite primary teacher.
3. What is your favorite drink?:
Morning: coffee  Cocktail: Gin and Tonic
4. What is your favorite song at the moment?:
Adore by Chris Tomlin
5. What is your favorite food?:
It’s hard to beat a good Ribeye steak or Osso Bucco or Prime Rib. I can’t narrow it down to one. My easy go to comfort food is probably Mexican food but I love finding good Persian restaurants that take me back to my food roots. I’m going to say my favorite food is food!
6. What is the last thing you bought?:
A large angel at Homegoods today.
7. Favorite book of all time?:
Yikes! Another hard one to narrow down. Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter Series.
8. Favorite Color?:
Blue
9. Do you have any pets?:
No
10. Favorite perfume?:
I don’t wear perfume and if you do please spray lightly. Thank you. 🙂
11. Favorite holiday?:
Easter is my favorite.
12. Are you married?:
Yes, this month we’ll celebrate 44 years!
13. Have you ever been out of the country?:
Yes. Great Britain seven times, Italy (Milan) once, Mexico once, Canada too many times to count.
14. Do you speak any other language?:
I can speak Russian poorly. I understand it better than I can speak it.
15. How many siblings do you have?:
Eight, 4 brothers and 3 sisters.
This photo is from my sister Kathy’s wedding. The groom and best man that are flanking Kathy aren’t part of the my 7 siblings and Dear is standing next to me. All the rest are my brothers and sisters who are now 44 years older! Kathy, Vera, Fred, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Lana and Leonard. The last two are twins.
16. What is your favorite shop?:
Homegoods
17. Favorite restaurant?:
For a nice hunk of meat, Metropolitan Grill. My all time favorite places to eat are Pubs in Great Britain.
18. When was the last time you cried?:
Last week. I cry easily during worship services.
19. Favorite Blog?:
I like a variety of blogs and especially enjoy visiting blogs that don’t bombard me with ads. I’m sad that a few of my favorites aren’t up and running at present.
20. Favorite Movie?:
The older Pride and Prejudice series with Colin Firth. Does that qualify as a movie?
21. Favorite TV shows?:
Great British Baking Show, Alone, Top Chef, Project Runway, Live PD, Survivor, NCIS, just to name a few.
22. PC or Mac?:
PC
23. What phone do you have?:
Samsung 4 or 5 , probably time to upgrade.
24. How tall are you?:
5′ 4-1/2″
25. Can you cook?:
Yes I can and I’m part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. My mother was a great Russian cook. Her love language was to cook for others and to feed them. She loved to listen to cooking shows on the radio and try to write down the recipes. Since she didn’t know how to write in English this was a challenge for her. She enjoyed trying new things and inspired all of her kids to cook. The photo above is from our humble home in Montebello at a dinner prepared for the cheer squad by my mom, Borsch, Meat and Potato filled Perishky and Blintzes. My parents modeled hospitality even though they always struggled financially while we were growing up.
Thanks for visiting today. We are hoping our counters will be able to be cut and installed on Monday!