Life is full of surprises or robbers, where are you?! (Part 2)

Here is part 2 of “Life is full of surprises or robbers, where are you?!
I want to clarify here that at time of our emigration people in the USSR were forced to refuse from citizenship and to pay 900 rubles for every member of a family (an average monthly salary of an engineer was 120 rubles). It gives a hint where robbers were at that time.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

I slowly drank cold orange juice. My wife and children (15 and 9) were looking at me and at the parcels.

My wife said: “I am sure you are very hungry. Dinner is ready.”

“No, I can’t eat now. Please place some vodka on my hands, face and neck. I burnt them during the day. Let me relax. I’ll eat later.”

She gently treated me and said: “I wonder what is in these heavy wooden boxes?”

“I thought about it many hours. Oh, I also got 4 letters from our mothers. Here they are. Please read them.”

My wife read all letters aloud. They were very sad. Our mothers were sure that they will never see us again and they were very worried how we would be able to cope with all difficulties of life before we reach America and after it. They knew that Soviet authorities allowed us to…

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Life is full of surprises or robbers, where are you?!

If you missed it you must read it! It happened in Rome and Lido di Ostia.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

At that time we lived in Lido di Ostia and were waiting for American visas.

One gorgeous sunny day I went to the Central post office in Rome to get correspondence from the Soviet Union (only our parents were brave enough to send us letters).

A smiling postal worker looked at my ID and disappeared.

When I saw him again he was not smiling. He told me something in very fast and unfriendly Italian and all people around started to laugh.

Then the guy gave me 4 letters and I turned to leave.

Somebody said in English: “Wait, wait!.Prepare yourself!”

Six large same size wooden parcels appeared on the counter. The weight of each was 11 kg.

It was a huge heavy surprise! I could not carry more than one parcel at any moment but I had to transfer six of them to the railroad station in Rome. Then I had to…

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Life is full of surprises or robbers, where are you?! (Part 2)

I slowly drank cold orange juice. My wife and children (15 and 9) were looking at me and at the parcels.

My wife said: “I am sure you are very hungry. Dinner is ready.”

“No, I can’t eat now. Please place some vodka on my hands, face and neck. I burnt them during the day. Let me relax. I’ll eat later.”

She gently treated me and said: “I wonder what is in these heavy wooden boxes?”

“I thought about it many hours. Oh, I also got 4 letters from our mothers. Here they are. Please read them.”

My wife read all letters aloud. They were very sad. Our mothers were sure that they will never see us again and they were very worried how we would be able to cope with all difficulties of life before we reach America and after it. They knew that Soviet authorities allowed us to take only $400.

In the last letter from my mother there was a sentence: “I’ll do everything possible to help you!”

What did it mean? We knew that she could not help us.

It became very cold in our apartment in the beautiful marble villa. When we rented the apartment there was a very warm day and we knew that Italy was a sunny, warm country. We had no idea that it might be cold in March and that the apartment had no heating.

I ate dinner and drank a glass of vodka. We could not open parcels (to pull nails from them). We had to resolve the mystery in the morning. So as every evening before we put on everything that could protect us from cold, lied down in a huge bed and fell asleep.

It was very cold in the apartment when I woke up. I climbed out of bed, dressed up and made tea. My wife and children were still asleep. I drank a cup of tea, took one parcel and went out.

I went to a neighbour who lived in an apartment house. He was a very friendly Italian and lived in a heated apartment.

I greeted him with my best smile. Then I showed him the parcel and nails in it.

He smiled too and brought several instruments. I gestured that I had 5 more parcels and that I needed to take instruments with me. He nodded. I took everything and went back to the cold of a beautiful marble villa.

To be continued

Life is full of surprises or robbers, where are you?!

At that time we lived in Lido di Ostia and were waiting for American visas.

One gorgeous sunny day I went to the Central post office in Rome to get correspondence from the Soviet Union (only our parents were brave enough to send us letters).

A smiling postal worker looked at my ID and disappeared.

When I saw him again he was not smiling. He told me something in very fast and unfriendly Italian and all people around started to laugh.

Then the guy gave me 4 letters and I turned to leave.

Somebody said in English: “Wait, wait!.Prepare yourself!”

Six large same size wooden parcels appeared on the counter. The weight of each was 11 kg.

It was a huge heavy surprise! I could not carry more than one parcel at any moment but I had to transfer six of them to the railroad station in Rome. Then I had to bring them to our apartment in Lido di Ostia (it was 17 blocks from the station).

There was just one small problem. I had only a train ticket to Lido di Ostia and a handkerchief in my pockets. No money at all!

I had to improvise, to think about logistics.

So I took the first parcel, made 20 large steps and placed it on the floor. Then I took one by one 4 other parcels and put them one upon another. Finally I went to the counter, took the last parcel, went to its brothers and sisters but did not put it down.

I made again 20 large steps and only then put it on the floor. Then I returned for five other parcels.

Everyone in the post office was enjoying my approach to problem solving. I suspect that none of them had so much fun the rest of their lives.

It took me only five 20 steps’ moves to get out from the post office’s building.

Sunny warm Rome greeted me and the six parcels.

I had hours to think about people and life that day.

Yes, initially I thought about leaving five parcels near the post office. But curiosity won. “What could be in these parcels? Are they important for our survival?”

In an hour I remembered an old  movie. It featured energetic, innovative Italian robbers who did almost impossible tricks to relieve foreign tourists of their burdens.

I was moving parcels from one spot to another and I thought: “Where are you, robbers? You don’t need any experience! Just come and take parcels! Help me!”

When I reached the railroad station I placed all parcels near a men’s room and went inside. I spent a lot of time washing my face and hands and hoping for a miracle. Finally I went out. All parcels were waiting for me!

It was easy to bring parcels in the car as the train was leaving in 15 minutes.

One station before Lido di Ostia I loudly asked passengers if anybody understood English. No response!

I had to act. To use my knowledge of Italian.

I shouted: “Mamma mia!”

All passengers looked at me.

Then I shouted: “Bambino!” and showed how hungry a child was.

Several people cautiously approached me. Train started to slow down.

Then I shouted: “Pronto!” and picked up one parcel. Warmhearted Italians picked all others. The train stopped and we left it.  All parcels were put on the platform and passengers returned in the car. I showed a sign of victory and shouted: “Grazie!”

Red Rose by Amit just Amit

Red Rose                by Amit just Amit

…It was dark when I knocked on the door of our apartment. My wife looked at me and did not say a word. She brought a glass of cold orange juice and a bottle of vodka.

I asked our son to get out and to bring in the parcels.

“What could it be in them?”

 

To be continued.