Before My Memories: Spring 1963

As a child, I had an outstanding memory. I remember some episodes of my life even before my first birthday. And since shortly after my first birthday, I remember more or less “everything,” meaning I remember my life as a stream of events. That was in part because my parents made lots of pictures, and I was often looking at them. 

That been said, that fact that I did not remember the earlier portion of my life, used to frustrate me a lot! I did not remember being in Estonia for the first summer of my life, and the pictures looked so lovely! 

I was born on January 19, 1963, and at that time, mothers in the Soviet Union didn’t yet have the option of staying at home with their babies for the first year of their lives. There was only the so-called “decree.” The name goes back to the early years of the Soviet state when the laws were called “decrees.” The decree which proclaimed the right of the woman to take eight weeks off work before the expected date of birth and eight weeks after went into effect in December 1917. For this whole period, women were paid 100% of their salaries. Later, women were allowed to take four more weeks off, but with no pay. What will happen if they won’t return to work? They would have to quit the job, which in turn will result in “interruption of work history” on their record, and that will negatively affect their state pension in the future.

However, they were allowed to make special arrangements at work, like “reduced workday” or “reduced workweek.” My mother took the latter one – she was going to work every other day (and received half-pay). She and my father lived in one room of a large apartment; my father’s relatives occupied the other three rooms. My aunt and great-aunt worked; My great-grandmother, as a matriarch of the family, was too important to watch the baby.

 Instead, my mother’s mother, Baba Ania, would take a one-and-a-half-hour trip from Sosnovaya Polyana (one of the city suburbs). She would also walk, with me in a baby carriage, to my mother’s work to take a bottle of pumped milk to feed me (my mother had time to pump during work hours, but there were no refrigerators). 

This is the only picture which I can attribute to that period, I should be about 4.5- 5 months here,

By then, it was almost summer.

The picture below twas taken in Sosnovaya Polyana, by the house where my grandparents lived. Baba Ania was fifty-one at that time, and I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I am now older than she ever lived. 

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

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