Биографическая справка. Выпуск Б-02а [22авг08а]
MEMOIRS ABOUT OUR PARENTS
In lieu of Olga Dimitrievna Miroshnichenko's obituary
August, 27th, 1914 – July, 30th, 2008
Dedicated to all parents who lived through the anguishes of XX Century
On July 30th, 2008, after long illness, Olga Dimitrievna Miroshnichenko (Ольга Димитриевна Мирошниченко) has died, my dear, precious and beloved mother. She was one month away from turning 94 years old. Mama lived a long and complex life, a life of Russian refugees - the second generation of White Russians. From godless authorities it was necessary to flee two times.
Mama's obituary is impossible to write without mentioning historical events, a life of the whole family and certainly our father. Therefore I also named this work "Memoirs of our Parents". This work also has historical value since some forgotten and little known facts are described.
Papa's obituary (1907-86) was written by mama earlier and is in separate work (М-04).
<< Pictures on the left are from (1972). Papa was 65 years old, and mama 58. Father just retired and they went to Yugoslavia to look at places where they lived many years. To enlarge photo, it is necessary to click on a mouse, and to increase even more, below, in the right corner there is target and then it is necessary to click on a mouse once again.
1. Beginning of Her Life in Russia (1914). Mother was born in Odessa on August 27, 1914, in the day of Forefeast (Предпразднства) of Dormition of Most Holy Virgin, into the family of Russian officer Mitrofan Andreevich Shunevich (Митрофан Андреевич Шуневич) and mother Anna Vikentievna Shunevich (born Senitski) [Анны Викентиевны Шуневич (ур. Сеницкой)]. Mother was the daughter of general Vikenti Vikentievich Senitski (Викентий Викентивич Сеницкий) (М-01).
2. Emigration to Yugoslavia (1919). In 1919, mama left Odessa as a five year old child with her mother, sister Ira (10 years) and brother Igor (7 years) to "Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes" (later Yugoslavia) (М-09) (М-06). Mama's mother, Anna, was the first generation of white emigrants who left Russia, and mama with sister and brother, are already the second generation. The father of my mother remained in Russia, to fight in the ranks of the Voluntary White Army.
Although the country was very poor and just started to recuperate from the First World War and unification of three peoples, despite this, King Alexander's accepted Russian refugees (White Emigration) and did everything he could to organize their life. Russian people - military, intelligentsia and others - humbly and heroically undertook any kind of work. One of the primary goals for them was - to save the children and youth. For them, new schools were organized, and "Kadetsky Corpus" and "Institute for Girls" who left Russia continued their operation in exile. In such difficult conditions, this Russian youth received excellent secondary education, upbringing in people loving Orthodox-Christianity and love for their long suffering native land. The girls from such Institute, and boys from "Corpus", who are now (2008) in advanced age, many of them already passed away. They, together with their husbands, became the basic support of Russian Diaspora. Our deep bow and big Russian Thank You to mentors, teachers and all personnel of these schools, who in difficult conditions were able to provide proper moral guidance and excellent education.
3. Institute for Girls and Cadet School (1919). In Yugoslavia, my mother, together with her sister, entered "Mariinsky Institute for Girls" in the city of Bela Tsrkva (White Church in Serbian) (М-10). Brother Igor entered Cadet School in the same city (М-07). Since these schools left with teaching personnel, school curriculum and textbooks, they continued to do their work in a new place. In this, one can see God's Providence which in these children, the future adults have kept love for Russia, Russian people, culture, language and obviously humane (человеколюбивое) Orthodoxy. Graduates of these schools hoped to go back home, to their homeland. But it did not happen. Instead, the Lord God told them to become the foundation of Russian Diaspora. Many of them, being from all corners of the world, contributed their free time to churches, Russian schools, youth organizations, clubs, societies, libraries, newspapers, wrote, were engaged in creative work etc.. All this was occurring when in the USSR the word "Russia" was forbidden[*].
[* Before the Second World War the official ideology was strongly Marxist, godless and russophobic (anti Russian), with the idea of exporting revolution all over the world. At that time Russian Diaspora was acting as a depository of Russian Culture and Religion and preserving them for future free generations].
4. Peaceful Life under the King (1919-41). Later my mother married, Nikolai Aleksandrovich Miroshnichenko, the young Civil Engineer, who formerly graduated from Crimean Cadet School in Bela Tsrkva. The difference in ages between them was seven years and consequently father for mother was always a great authority. He loved her very much, which later became obvious, when we were moving to Canada. They lived in accord and I never heard talk about adultery or divorce - these words and concepts in our family did not exist.
In 1932 was born daughter Galina, and 1933 son Alexander, this is I. My father as the young Civil Engineer, was sent to remote places of the country to build the railway. Obviously, his family was always was with him. We lived among Serbs, in places where there were almost no Russians. Prior to the beginning of the Second World War the life was peaceful and tranquil. Galia and I started to attend Serbian Elementary School (in Serbian "Osnovna Shkola"= Basic School[*].
[* Children received full secondary education after twelve (12) years of school: four (4) years of "Osnovna Shkola" ("Basic School", Elementary School) and eight (8) years of "Gymnasia" (Middle and High School)].
At that time living conditions were difficult. The kitchen stove burned fire wood. In houses there was no plumbing and water was brought from the nearest city pump. There were no refrigerators or freezers. The laundry was done by hand. The house had no bathtub. There was no toilet in the house, the outhouse was outside. There were no cars available and everything had to be carried by hand. Obviously all this impacted and complicated the life and work of a housewife, our mama.
5. German occupation (1941-44). Difficult times, the beginning of the Second World War, found us in the south of Yugoslavia, in the city of Prishtina. Father worked there on construction of a tunnel. With arrival of Italians, and then Germans, the life became very troubled and father decided to move his family away. According to God's Providence, he was offered a job in Petrovgrad (Петровград) [under Germans Bechkerek (Бечкерек), and under Communists Zrenjanin (Зрењанин)], north of Belgrade and we moved there. It was a small industrial city, with 40.000 residents (inhabitants) and several factories. Father went ahead, and mother with us, children, came later, by ship, on the river Tisa. I remember how on the way, in water were floating corpses of killed or shot people.
At that time our grandfather (М-13) served as a priest in the Serbian Church, in a Serbian village, in the south of Yugoslavia, and lived there with grandmother. In our city there was a small Russian community, there was a Russian Club, a small Russian School and a Russian Church. In the church there was an opening for a priest and grandfather was assigned to serve there by the Synod of Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA). They have moved to our city and we were all together.
We somehow settled down, but the life under the German boot (regime) was difficult. Germans governed by cruel force and intimidation of the civilians. They were not interested in making friends. In the city center there were gallows and there, on a regular basis, hung some unfortunate one, and near him was a German soldier on duty. Behind the city often there were executions by firing squad. To this show local German youth were brought regularly, to temper them and to make good soldiers out of them. After executions, bodies of killed unfortunates were carried on a cart, slowly down the main street, to intimidate the local citizens.
The Serbian resistance was unique and these days very few people know about it. Germans more or less felt safe in Belgrade and some of the other bigger cities. In other places, across the whole Yugoslavia, they were constantly hunted by Serbian partisans (guerrillas). When someone from Germans was killed, Germans in turn would get the nearest residents and execute them on the spot. For the lower ranked German soldier, ten people were executed. For higher ranks, a hundred people, etc. Also they would force their relatives to watch.
For example, in Kraguievats (Крагуjевац) 20-21st of October, 1941 Germans shot 2300 people, in punishment for 10 German soldiers killed and 50 wounded by partisans. Authorities posted posters with an explanation, that for one (1) killed German soldier 100 Serbs will be shot and for one (1) wounded German soldier 50 Serbs. People were rounded up on the streets, driven into one place, and then shot. Also, on October, 21-st, 1941 Germans rounded up all High School boys (Прва Крагуjевачка Гимназиjа) with their teachers and shot them all. The information about these atrocities can be found on the Internet.
Official pages on the Internet, of the city of Kragujevac state the following about this atrocity (translation from Serbian, the Serbian original below): "Executions in Kragujevac represent one of the greatest evil acts committed by Germans during the Second World War, both by number of victims and by the way it was done. Despite various data about number of victims, this in no way diminishes this evil act. German sources: major Kenig, captain Oto Von Bischovshausen (Бишофсхаузен) and later communications of their supreme command, speak about execution of 2300 people. The number shot from our sources during the war, irrespective of time of the incident and the origin of a source, is between 3000 and 8000 people. The State Commission for determination of atrocities committed during the war by the invaders and their helpers, in their message from July, 15th, 1945, informs that until then they collected data about 2323 shot men and women on October, 20th and 21. Meanwhile, at the Nurnberg Court, based on the witness of Zhivojin Jovanovich, the number of 7000 shot was accepted" ( http://www.kragujevac.org.yu/).
[Serbian original: "Стрељање у Крагуjевцу представља jедан од наjвећих злочина Немаца у Другом светском рату, како по броjу жртава тако и по начину извршења. Без обзира на различите податке о броjу жртава, они никако не умањуjу оваj злочин. Немачки извори: маjор Кениг, капетан Ото Фон Бишофсхаузен и касниjи извештаjи више команде, говоре о 2300 стрељаних люди. Броj стрељаних у нашим изворима у току рата, без обзира на време настанка и провинциjенциjу извора, креће се од 3000 до 8000 люди. Државна комисиjа за утврђивање ратних злочина окупатора и њихових помагаћа, у свом извештаjу од 15. jула 1945., наводи да je до тада прикупила податке за 2323 стрељаних люди и жена 20. и 21. октобра. Међутим, на суђењу у Нирнбергу, на основу изjаве сведока Живоjина Jовановића, прихваћен jе броj од 7000 стрељаних" ( http://www.kragujevac.org.yu/)].
Once, I was about nine years old, I was passing near a German school with a pitcher for the dairy residue after the production of butter (скалотины). It looked like there was a recess and German children stood against a wall of school and were warming themselves in the sun. I was walking quietly and looking at them. Suddenly one boy, about fourteen years old departed from the wall, approached me and gave me a strong slap in my face with words "Serbian pig" (Serbische schwein). It is necessary to explain, that in this part of Serbia (Banat), lived many Germans, Hungarians and Rumanians. Before the First World War it belonged to Austro-Hungary. These were local Germans who were now brought up in hatred of Serbs. Besides this they had many privileges.
In such a system, we were never sure that our father would not find himself in some round-up, for some retaliation and would be shot. Besides this, on our street, partisans could kill some German solder patrolling at night. Germans would then pull out some men from their beds and would shoot them right there on the spot. All this did not happen every day, but such cases did happen.
It is difficult to believe, that all this actually happened. No film that I saw could transmit this calculated humiliation of the people, xenofobia and racism. This did not happen during the Pagan Era, but in XX century, after 2000 years of Christian "love your neighbor" sermon. To enter somebody's house, rough them up, to order them around, to terrorize peaceful residents, to keep telling them, that Germans are superior race, and Serbs are lower and that is why they should submit. One does not know what to make of it - to cry or laugh. In such paranoia[*] an entire generation of Germans were raised. Therefore despite the fact that on their belt buckles was written "God is with us" (Gott ist mit uns), it could not be the Christian God of "love for your neighbor" and they looked at believing Christians with suspicion.
[* Mental illness in which the person lives in far-fetched illusionary world. His explanations of events and acts of people are deeply erroneous (unreal, not true)].
In this atmosphere our father, as well as all other people, continued to work, mother was struggling obtaining food and feeding us, grandfather served in the church, Galia studied, and I too studied and helped grandfather in the church. The parents and all adults tried to keep the children from all the horrors of the war and German occupation, but what they thought and felt, nobody knows except Lord God Himself. What does a person think who knows, that at any moment anything can happen both to him and to his family.
Germans trusted nobody. They were at war with Russians and therefore they did not trust White Russians also.
Serbs are Orthodox Slavs, and are not vindictive and this is why are not recalling all this, but one should know the history.
6. Liberation from Germans (1944-46). In this area (Banat), besides Serbian, there were also many German, Hungarian and Rumanian villages. Before arrival of Russians, hundreds and hundreds of carts (wagons), one after another, with German population were leaving to the North, for Germany[*]. They went day and night, for several months, down the main street of our city. Those who remained, were Serbs, placed in the camp and very few people from them survived.
[* Much later, in 1959, in Canada, I met one of them. With great pleasure he talked in Serbian (he German, and I Russian) and with great joy remembered life and people in Yugoslavia. He was telling that in Germany they did not meet them friendly, and did not consider them full fledged Germans and this is why he moved to Canada, where everybody was equal].
We, as well as all others, have somehow endured until arrival of Russian army. We were liberated early, eight (8) months before the end of the war, which was on May 9, 1945. In our city entered without especial resistance Russian troops on October 2, 1944. They were troops of the 2nd Ukrainian Front.
Pretty soon I heard from boys, that on the city's main road the Russians are coming. Really, in wide formation were marching soldiers, one battalion - probably ten (10) person by fifty (50) (=500). Each soldier had either a rifle or a tommy-gun (sub-machine-gun). They were marching and singing Russian military and native songs. People came out to look at them and gave them flowers. After three such battalions came guns (artillery), kitchen and provision. Each battalion sang a different song. Three such battalions had 1500 soldier (3x500=1.500). Then again there were new battalions, guns and trucks. Then again and again. And so they went on, and on, and on, probably for several hours. All by foot. They went North towards Hungary to Budapest, where there were very heavy battles. After one hour or so, I got tired and went home. Most likely, during one hour about 20,000 soldiers went by. From all this avalanche of solders, at this time, probably only few are still alive.
The majority of Russians evacuated together with Germans since they were afraid of reprisals for serving in Voluntary White Army. Our family remained in one place. Our grandparents were old, grandmother was sick, and to move into the center of war activities appeared like insanity, and our parents would never abandon them. The grandfather was the officer in the Russian Imperial Army, was fighting in the World War I, then became the mentor in the Cadet School, and did not serve in the White Army, but was a priest, and that also was not appreciated by atheists.
The majority of White Russians met Russian soldiers cautiously, but after a while they established good relations with them. There was a time when father lost his job and he would go to the railroad station to unload coal from railroad cars. Russian soldiers found out that and somehow managed to help us out. Once they brought Serbian rakia (a strong alcoholic drink made from fruits) and father was selling it. The other time they brought a whole pig and we could eat it. These were the front line troops. The military militia which came later started arresting and interrogating. As a result of this some people from our community were arrested and never came back. Some of them were members of some ethnic (national) organizations.
Serbs in their turn placed all Russians into camp, including grandfather the priest and grandmother. According to God's Providence, us, father's family, Serbs did not touch. In our court yard, which was surrounded with several one-story houses, the small group of Russian troops with truck and other equipment drove in, parked and made an encamping. At the entrance of the court yard they placed a military guard. When the Serbian partisans came to arrest us, he simply did not let them in. This is how we did not end up in a camp. By the way, Serbian partisans greatly respected Russian soldiers, and were retelling eyewitnesses stories about their bravery, but were afraid of them like from fire.
Thanks God, father's younger brother Constantine (Константин) was able to obtain a release for grandparents from Russian military authorities. They were released from camp and grandpa brought two girls, of our age, to mama and papa. Their father was arrested and never returned, and mother was in a camp. So in our two rooms there were now six souls, four children and two parents. Mama had to somehow feed six souls. Thank God, in one half of the year all Russians were released from camp and girls also returned to their mother.
7. New Government in Yugoslavia (~1946). War ended, Russian troops gradually withdrew and authority has passed to Yugoslav partisans, the Communists. Gradually life normalized, although at us Russians, they always looked with suspicion. Father worked, Galia and I studied, I became a radio amateur, and mother took care of housekeeping and fed us all. Often she went to the market to sell a piece of furniture or was dragging something from the market. She never complained and unfortunately I have to say, that we children did not help her in any way. The only chore that we had was to bring water from a street pump.
Father and mother were busy and were raising us mainly by personal example. My father was honest, decent, serious, hard worker, thoughtful husband, father and son. He was deeply Russian and obviously a believer. Until we were 15 years old he thought us the Russian language. This was not simple since we lived among Serbs and went to Serbian school. He did not interact with us too much, there was no time, but, during the critical moments he always appeared and pushed us in the right direction. He pointed us towards university, and later suggested that I become a member of a church parish. On holidays in our home gathered family Paganucci and Kostia, father's brother. Men played on musical instruments: papa on mandolina, Kostia mandola, Paul Paganucci guitar. Ladies, Nadia Paganucci and mama talked. They drank tea and ate bread with jam. The whole evening long there was music, Russian songs, old and new, together with Serbian. We children were nearby: Galia, I and Petia, Paganucci's small son. Conversations were about life, families, friends, their schools, youth, Russia etc. This was an important part of our upbringing (воспитания).
Mama in our childhood taught us how to pray and gave the basics of God's Law - the life of Lord Jesus Christ. She always told us not to forget that we are Russians and therefore we have to behave well and not to cast a shadow on Russia and Russian people.
8. Persecution of Russians (~1950). At the end of 1940s, the peaceful life of Russians unexpectedly ended and we had to quickly leave the country. Nobody was delighted to abandon everything and go into uncertainty, but there was no other way.
It happened this way. At the end of 1940s Yugoslavian leader Tito had a disagreement with Stalin and because of this, we Russians lost. The majority of us were anticommunists and if they were Communists, they were for Stalin, and not for Tito - therefore the authorities decided to get rid of us. The first thing that they did, was to take away Yugoslavian citizenship and then started to forcibly expel them. They would arrest the whole family and with several suitcases would bring them to the Romanian or Hungarian border and forced them to cross over. It slightly differed from city to city. All depended on local authorities. Gradually this process became more and more peaceful and civilized. They began to ask where do you wish to go to the East or on to the West and would give them exit visas where they requested. But still everybody was afraid. In our city there were several families who had enough of constantly being picked on and being forever a foreigner and they voluntary left for the USSR.
In 1950 our grandfather, the priest, suddenly received a paper that in 15 days he should leave Yugoslavia, since he is an undesired person (нежельно лице). Fortunately the French gave him entry visa and grandfather with grandmother and younger son Constantine moved there to a Russian parish in a small town Ozor-la-Ferrier, near Paris - position of a parish priest in Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA). The grandfather was 74, and grandmother was 65 years old. Certainly we young ones had to go after them and could not leave them somewhere abroad.
At the same time mama's brother Igor, who was married to a local Croatian girl, decided to remain in Yugoslavia. The sister, Ira (Irene) Fedjushkina (Ирина Федюшкина), with her husband Andrey (М-05). Once, aunt Ira, sent her poem "My Native Land" to mama for Easter of 1992 (М-11). It perfectly describes the mood and feelings of the first and second generation of white emigrants.
9. We leave Yugoslavia (1951). After our grandfather and grandmother left, we had no other choice, but to go after them. Father submits the application to leave, they are releasing us and on July 27, 1951, the day of Forefeast (Предпразднства) of Dormition of Most Holy Virgin and Mother's Birthday, we are leaving our city and Serbian friends to whom we got used to, and are going into full uncertainty, to Trieste, Italy. These days everything is much simpler, there is a lot of information, at that time nothing was known. Obviously with moving, mama was everywhere the prime mover and the worker. It is difficult to explain and value the fantastic work that she did by liquidating grandfather's and grandmother's household, and after ours.
We had an exit visa, and no entry visa to any country. Such people when they came to the western border of the country, on the other side were taken off the train and sent to camp for "displaced persons". Over there was a check and issue of new documents. Already here we felt western russophobia, that for us was unusual, since all of us idealized the West. After that the commissions from various transatlantic countries came and collected workers to South America, Australia, Canada, etc.
We enrolled to go to Canada and were accepted, but it was necessary to sign a contract that we will work on any assignments, in our labor classification, for one year. After that our obligations are ending and we can do, whatever we want. Father (44 years) has signed the contract that he will work as the "technical worker", Galia (19 years) will work as a maid, and I (18 years) as a laborer and we are being sent to various places in Canada. Here papa showed his special love and care for mama (37 years). Our future was totally unknown, all of us are going into different places, and father insists that mother should not sign any work contracts and that should remain in Germany until he sends for her.
10. Moving to Canada (1951-52). So, our family was broken into four parts and was transformed into some kind of levers, in some kind of country, in some kind of faceless machine. From pretty free people and citizens, we were transformed into a herd of sheep, whose desires were not considered and who were sent wherever they wanted. Certainly, it never entered our mind, that our young family will be separated and we will have to live without each other. But it happened and we were sent to different cities. Galia arrived first to Canada and started to work in a hospital in Montreal, PQ. Initially father and I were sent to Toronto, despite our pleadings that we be sent to Montreal, since Galia was already there. Later, with minor difficulties we were still able to move to Montreal. From there they sent father to British Columbia, the most western province of Canada, near Pacific Ocean, to work as a land surveyor. For me they could not find work and I was told, that contract cannot be implemented and therefore I am free to do what I want.
Our luck was that our good friends Paganucci (М-03) (Б-05) from Zrenjanin, were already in Montreal and we stayed with them. They were for us trailblazers. Gradually we all began to gather around their family. I was the first to move to their apartment, since they could not find work for me and I was free. This was Providential, since in September of 1952 I started attending university. If I would be on contract, the university in 1952 would be impossible. Then we found out that Galia could cancel her contract due to mistreatment and small pay and she moved to Paganucci. It was worst for our father. He had to fulfill the whole contract. For the whole year he lived in a tent, for the most part of a year in snow. They were surveying country for the future railway in northern British Columbia. But after the termination of one year contract in woods, he continued to work, but in the main office in Montreal and stayed there until retirement.
Owing to papa's push, in letters, Galia went alone to capital Ottawa and obtained a visa for mother. In several months mother arrived from Germany, obviously onto our temporary base, Paganucci's apartment. Soon mama, Galia and Nadezhda Paganucci obtained work at factory of jackets, and I on assembly of electronic equipment. We with Galia worked little, and due to father's insistence went to university to study, that we did not want very much. Our English was very bad, we were embarrassed to speak and we simply could not understand how we will be able to study, especially at the university.
11. Quiet and peaceful life in Canada (1953). Gradually our life was being settled and we began to obtain all the necessities. Mother rented flat under Paganucci's apartment, and onto third floor, above Paganucci one more Russian family moved in. So, in this three stories house everywhere lived Russians.
Galia and I started to study at the university and in doing so we opened the door to other Russian young men. Before there were practically no Russians there. Owing to father's insistence, after us Russian youth in Montreal was drawn into university. Soon papa returns back and obtains job in the same company, but in the central office in Montreal. After he brings his parents and brother from France. Little by little all our family gradually gathered, this took about four years. Finally parents buy a house, and mama gives up work in the factory.
So, owing to uncaring rules and heartless immigration officers our family was scattered in all directions. But, owing to prayers, freedom of action and the self-initiative, we again all gathered together.
Soon Galia marries, and I move to Detroit, Michigan, the USA (1963 ) to complete my studies. Galia has children and moves to the western coast of Canada, to Victoria, BC. When father retired they too moved to Galia, to Victoria (1972). In Detroit I marry (1964) a Hungarian girl Elizabeth-Aggie Simon (Erzsebet Ilona Simon), former tennis champion from Budapest. Soon I complete university studies, our son Alexandre, Jr is born and we move in San Francisco, California (all in 1966), a citadel of Russian Orthodox Diaspora and near the electronic center Silicon Valley.
We know mama as the exemplary Christian Russian woman, wife and mother. For her the whole life consisted from this. It is possible to say that she was professional mother and wife. Our parents had no such words or concepts as infidelity or divorce, they did not exist. Father worked as engineer, and mother created warm atmosphere and cared for all our needs, which during the occupation and Communism was not easy. These were constant queues (lineups) and worries "what I am going to feed them with"? I remember, when there was no money, mama would take items from our house to the market and sell them. Sometimes she would drag some piece of furniture. I do not remember that she ever complained at her destiny, or demanded something or accused somebody. She was always a deep believer, humble and she always had the evening prayer rule. She gave us the first steps to a prayer, Church and God.
This is in short is the background of all our lives. Papa was the main worker, and mama was the wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, housewife and when necessary seamstress in a factory.
12. Life after the Death of Father (1986-2008). As it was said above, the difference in years between my parents was seven years. As it was in the beginning of their marriage, papa was always arranging everything, and this is how it remained after. Mama was not used to an independent life, was terribly afraid to remain without papa and could not imaging how will she be able to live without him. So, papa passed away on July 26, 1986. Mama was in a shock and her legs were almost paralyzed. At that time my wife Aggie was still alive. All her life she worked with sick people and she insisted that I should bring mama to us. And so, I brought mama in a wheelchair from Victoria, to us in Sunnyvale. Aggie started to take care of mama, I took her to doctors, and also every day walked with her. At first little bit, then increasing more and more. At that time old Russian doctors, and even from Yugoslavia were still alive, and one of them quickly put mama on her legs. After one or two months in our place, mama went to Galia in Toronto, where she temporarily worked. There Galia also helped her to recuperate. After certain time mama came back to her home, to Victoria and started an independent life, a new period (stage) of her road of life, which lasted 22 years.
Right now she showed such strength of spirit (character), which nobody expected from her. She lived in her apartment alone, her daughter lived nearby, half an hour by car. Mama prayed a lot. She read Russian literature, history and Russian diaspora newspapers and magazines. Most of all she loved religious literature. She wrote to her girlfriends from Institute for Girls who were scattered all over the world. She wrote her memoirs, obituaries of her friends. Phoned her old friends and acquaintances. Here and there she gave small money for some charitable purposes. Certainly, her daughter Galochka visited her often, and I phoned her twice a week.
After 1991 in our emigrant newspaper Russian Life there were requests from Russia about help, or simply a wish to correspond with old emigration. I sent mama several addresses and she started to correspond with them. She described our family history, life in Yugoslavia and Canada, wrote historical and spiritual essays and guides. By ours, sister's and mine estimate, she corresponded with approximately 20-25 people. And that she wrote with love, worried about them, like about her own children. She knew their problems, knitted for children caps (шапочки) and scarfs (шарфики). Children liked these things from "Canadian grandma" and mama was pleased with this, and we children were happy with her. The most people will send $10-100, or will write several lines and that is all. Mama practically adopted them all, wrote to them letters, sometimes enclosed $10, sent small parcels with the same love, expressions and words that she used when she wrote to her own children.
I am recalling a special case of a young seaman, from a merchant fleet, who at work lost both legs. He was morally in a terrible atate, at home he crawled on a floor, collected stamps and corresponded. His request appeared in our local newspaper Russian Life, and I gave his address to mama. He wanted to exchange stamps and to correspond. Mama started to write to him, that his life is not over. I recalled well known book by Boris Polevoy, "Story about the real Man", about the pilot during World War II, Alexey Petrovich Maresev which I read in my childhood in Yugoslavia. He has lost both legs, but he learned to walk on artificial legs, and even danced and again became a pilot. The young man got this book from a library and read it. Later he obtained a wheelchair, married and even had a son, Alexander. I remember all this well, as we often discussed with mama on the phone his letters and mama's answers.
Thus my dear mama lived, after papa's death (1986) for 22 more years. What great strength of spirit (character) this small Russian woman had. She never complained, never grumbled, lived for her family and others and had a deep faith. When she could not serve any more her family, she started to serve, help and give moral support and as far us she could material help to absolute strangers.
13. Last Days (2008). Mama died quietly and peacefully in a nursing home (hospital, sanatorium) on Wednesday, July 30th 2008, early in the morning (02:40am). Three years before passing away mama fell and broke her hip. She got into a hospital, where they treated her, but her body has weakened (was exhausted) and then she was transferred to nursing home. She had a separate room. Galochka looked after her and all the time visited her, took her to doctors, to church, to her home for family holidays etc. In her room she made a small paradise. All walls were covered with her favorite icons, family and other photos. There was a shelf with her books, spiritual, historical and several Russian classics and a phone. She continued to live as she lived at home, but she had less and less energy. Her grandson Yura was visiting her. I phoned every day and came twice a year, rented a room close to mama and every day, most of it spent with mama.
Recently, I was told, that mama feels worse and I was with her almost a week. After that I went home and mama on the next day, early in the morning, quietly and peacefully left us. In couple of days I came for funeral service (похороны) which took place on Tuesday, 5-th of August, in Russian Orthodox Church of St.Sofia, and burial at Royal Oak Cemetery, near her dearly loved spouse of many years.
In Victoria there are nearly no Russians. But there were English Canadians who have got acquainted and have grown to love Orthodoxy and started to travel by ferry (Victoria is on a large island) to Vancouver, to Russian church, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) jurisdiction. After a certain time Metropolitan Vitaly ordained (рукоположил) one of them into a priest and they set up the Russian Orthodox Church in Victoria. All prayers, exclamations and singing, everything is translated into English language. In any case their priest provided spiritual nurture (care, окормлял) of mama and Galia's family. This priest performed burial and funeral service, everything according to the rules of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On this I am finishing these "Memoirs about our Parents".
Dear mama thank you and papa for everything,
with great love and affection your children Galia and Sasha!
Eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven!
Daughter G.N.Alpatoff, Victoria, BC, Canada
Son A.N.Miroshnichenko, Sunnyvale, CA, USA
On August, 14/27th, 2008
Forefeast of Dormition of Most Holy Mother of God
«Мамины записки» на стрницах Дорога домой
• (М-01) Мамин дедушка. Викентий Викентиевич Сенницкий. Генерал Русской армии.
• (М-02) Как мы жили последние 10 лет в Югославии.
• (М-03) Друг семьи. Профессор Пагануцци.
• (М-04) Памяти моего мужа – Н.А.Мирошниченко.
• (М-05) Муж маминой сестры Иры: Жизненный путь А.И.Федюшкина.
• (М-06) Эвакуация «Крымского кадетского корпуса» из Крыма (Федюшкин).
• (М-07) «Крымский Кадетский Корпус».
• (М-08) В разработке.
• (М-09) Как мы дети с мамой покинули нашу родину.
• (М-10) «Мариинский Донской институт» в Югославии.
• (М-11) Родина. Стихотворение (И.Шуневич).
• (М-12) Подруга. Светлой памяти Галины Николаевны Тыррас.
• (М-13) Наш дедушка. Протоиерей Александр Мирошниченко.
• (М-14) Двоюродная сестра папы. Нонна Белавина Миклашевская. Поэтесса из Зарубежной Руси (1915-2004).
Работы других авторов на страницах Дорога домой
• (Б-02) Воспоминания о родителях.
• (Б-05) Письмо супруге П.Н.Пагануцци.
• (Б-06) Русская Колония в Великом Бечкереке, Югославия (Петровграде – Зренянине).
• (ДД-04) Зарубежная Русь.
• (ДД-04.3р) Кадетские корпуса за рубежом (Забелин).
• (ДД-04.4р) Русские эмигранты в Белграде (Гайич, по-сербски).
• (ДД-59р) Русская Церковь в Югославии (1920-1940)(Косик).
• (ДД-59.2) Русская Сербия (Косик).
• (ДД-59.3р) Русская молодежь в эмиграции (Косик).
• (ДД-65) Подвиг Зарубежной Церкви.
• (ДД-70) Мариинский Донской Институт, г.Белая-Церковь (Памятка, 1975)
• Крагуjевац, 21 октября 1941 г.
• (SE-03) Learn Russian Alphabet in Two Hours
• (SE-02) Spelling Of Russian Names
• ON THE MAIN PAGE • UPWARD • РУС
(Б-02а), http://www.dorogadomoj.com/ be02mam.html, (нач:26авг04), (I-th вып:11авг08), 22авг08а