…Very few will inspire you.
And even fewer will care about you.
Maria was born in an ordinary working-class family. She was not the only child. She had an elder sister Taisia. Everybody had eagerly awaited the arrival of a second child. It had no matter a boy or a girl would be born. The main thing was that Taisia would not be alone.
Maria was born a small weak child with congenital heart disease. Her life was hanging by a thread and it could be stopped at any time. Many foods had not been assimilated in her body. Even when she was 2 years old she had been fed small portions like a little bird. It was not possible to have a medical checkup at that time, because it was the time of the restoration of the Soviet Union after the Great Patriotic War in the 1950s and 1960s. Doctors had reassured relatives that everything would be all right and Maria’s body would be stronger with time.
The troubles were rapidly growing in the family. In 1962 when Maria was not even five years old her father and grandfather died together. The grandmother took on herself the upbringing of 2 young children: Taisia, she was an 8-year-old girl, and Masha, who was a 5-year-old girl. The mother of little girls moved to the edge of the city. The truth which had really happened in the family was kept from the girls by their grandmother, because it could be very traumatic for children.
The grandmother’s caring for her granddaughters made her life happier and longer. Her older children helped to raise Taisia and Maria. Once one of the daughters noticed Maria looked bad and pale. She took Maria for visiting to a doctor. The surgeon who examined Maria said that she could have died for hours. It turned out that Maria had fallen from a higher height and her diaphragm was damaged (the diagnoses were diastasis recti abdominis and epigastrocele). Maria had needed emergency surgery.
The complicated medical operation took place under double anesthesia. It was necessary to bring Maria out of anesthesia for 24 hours but 30 hours had passed, then 36 hours. All doctors of the regional hospital had struggled to save a little girl’s life. They had tried different ways to bring Maria back to life even hitting her across the face with wet towels. Everybody had hoped for the best and suddenly her eyes have been opened. It was such moment that horrible to remember. Everyone was sobbing. But those were tears of joy. For a long time Mary lay on her back. Doctors bandaged her up, turned slowly on her sides from time to time so that there would be no bed sores.
And then Maria learned to walk again. The grandmother and her daughter stayed up nights caring for her. Maria was checked out of hospital in a month but full rehabilitation was continued for the next six months. Her thoughts were only about her mother who was absent from the sister’s life. Then Taisia took Maria by the hand and with her grandmother they went to see their mother. Leaving the children with the girl’s mother the grandmother returned to the city home as it was necessary to look after a small household as well as look after the house.
Maria and Taisia’s mother began drinking and leaving children alone, and their grandmother did not know about. Children were often hungry and dirty. One source of life for them was the river where children learned to fish and near it in the forest to collect berries, mushrooms.
Seeing the children hungry the neighbors fed them milk, cottage cheese, bread, everything they had. Since childhood Taisia and Maria had realized what life was and they developed a love for people and animals.
The Grandmother accidentally found out the children were in great distress and their life had to be saved. Her decision was to take the children to her by depriving their mother from her maternity rights through the court and became a real mother for children. When Maria and Taisia went to school, her grandmother was worried about what would happen next and what to expect.
But grandmother’s anxiety was in vain. Granddaughters studied with great desire and helped her because they understood how hard was for her to raise them when she had so little money. All people received products in stores by ration cards (food cards). Once a month their family received 1 kg of groats, sometimes sugar and vegetable oil. And to get the ration people had to stand in line all day and night long.
It was the 60s. The girls had begun to work weeding tree seedlings (poplar, elm) to facilitate the life of the family. It was a difficult work but it was not forbidden for children. They had received long land strips of seedlings which were often full of water. Taisia kept an eye on her small sister because sometimes Maria fainted from weakness with accompanied by bleeding at the nose. Bringing Maria to normal she finished her work. They did not tell anything about that their grandmother as they were afraid to upset her, but most of all they were afraid that their grandmother could forbid their working.
The first wage of Maria was 21 rubles at 7 years old and Taisia — 38 rubles at 10 years old. That was an unforgettable moment in their life when they got the money, clamped it in their hands and brought it home.
Life had improved over the years. The land tax was abolished, more industrial goods and products began to be produced; factories started working again. Grandmother began to receive a survivor’s pension — 16 rubles for her husband, who was The Hero of the Soviet Union. Having 16 rubles = 1600 kopecks at that time it was possible to live safely. Matches cost 1 kopeck, a black loaf of bread — 16 kopecks, sugar cost 78 kopecks (1 ruble = 100 kopecks).
The school also did not stay away from raising girls. From the parent committees of the school children were given winter clothes (coats), shoes, free breakfasts.
Maria had not immediately entered a university after finishing school, because she went to work in a knitwear factory. It was necessary to help the elder sister, who was studying at a secondary technical school at that time. Grandmother was almost blinded then and she needed care. The house where Masha grew up was large. To heat it firewood and coal were needed since there was no gas in the houses. To solve all the problems was easy for Maria as hard living had strengthened her resolve since childhood. And only after 10 years she entered the college and then entered a university.
The grandmother passed away when Maria was 20 years old. Maria was quite prepared for adulthood.
When the story was written from the words of Maria she was asked how Maria would like to live a new life again if she had such a chance. She did not think a lot and answered that she wanted to live her life with difficulties again because life could not be without difficulties. The most important thing is that everyone in the family is alive and well. Life must always be multidimensional and interesting. But for it you do not waste your time.
Best regards, Bobo145