Today is the day that we celebrate the birth of my Papa. During my recent trip to Ukraine I was able to go to the village that he grew up in. Zelenyy Kut. It is a small village 10-15 minutes from Kotovsk. The village still has the dirt roads that he must have traveled. I used to joke as I grew up that when he told the stories about having to walk up hill to school freezing in the snow- he was actually serious. In visiting there I was able to see the house where he spent his years till joining the Soviet Navy. The structures were still there, though only echos of what they used to be. I could still imagine him and his sisters working the fields. Growing their crops and tending their animals that would sustain them through winter.
Walking the dirt roads
Papa and his sister
Papa's childhood home
Not far from down the road is the village graveyard. Here is where his parents, cousins, and two sisters are buried.
Anya and her Great Grandpa
Through a trying experience he came to the U.S. in the early 50's. Later he became a U.S. citizen and continued working hard in his profession as a mill worker. After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints he met my mom, they were married and would spend the next 33 years working hard on his land in Coos Bay.
Papa and his Naturalization papers
An instant family.
I never understood until later in my life how much he instilled from his upbringing into mine. I am grateful for learning of his love of the land and what it could provide. I love that in meeting his sister in Ukraine that I could see attributes and skills that they shared. Things that must have been taught in youth and passed on to other generations. I know he was happy that we went to visit his homeland. I felt him there. I also know he is bringing happiness to his family were he is now.
This is one of my favorites!
Happy Birthday Papa!