All the letters were dry by yesterday except for about ten or fifteen. I had to through away these because more than 90% of the text was non-readable, and I suspect that after the subsequent inspection, I will have to though away more.
The process took more time than I could imagine, and this week, it was more difficult than ever to find extra time. I thought that I would at least sort the dry letters by the addressee, but I didn’t have time for that either. I opened and reread some of the letters. Many envelopes appeared sealed because of the moisture, and I had this weird feeling that I open them for the first time.
In addition to the letters, almost all of my diaries were in the same box, so they also suffered some damage. And also, this box contained the Commander map case or tablet (komandirskiy planshet), an object of envy and desire for any kid I knew. Made of the highest quality leather, water, heat, and other elements-resistant, it was the coolest thing you could imagine.
I was given it to play when I was about nine or ten. I had an imaginary country where I was a ruler, and I used this case to carry Very Important Messages.
I was told that it belonged to my grandfather, but back then, I didn’t pay attention. Later I thought that probably that was a family legend because I could not imagine anything of his belongings could survive, especially this particular piece. I remembered that I knew it when I was a kid, but I forgot why.
After all, there were other military people in our family, and although I kept and treasured this map case, I was sure it belonged to the post-war times.
I also forgot that it had a name tag with the name covered by the leather flap. When I unbuttoned it, it saw my grandfather’s name there!. And then I remembered why I was sure that this map case belonged to him: the paper with the name is sewed it, and you cant replace the name without tearing the tag apart. Now I remembered why I never opened it again after the initial discovery: I could not replace his name with mine 🙂
Anyway, this was surreal. When I told Boris that the case is in remarkably good shape and I do not see any tear even in the parts which are usually worn out, he said: you know, it was not a long time when it was in use…