A story from private collections 

You know the old photos at once: the details which characterize the time are captured in black-and-white pictures. Knitted collarets, a whatnot with flowers, bonnets... Usually family albums are kept in book cases or in mezzanines. The faded thick albums in velvet and leather bindings remind a Persian carpet: in the middle the pattern is still guessed and closer to the edges the fabric is almost worn out. Will you agree that we recognize not all the characters in old pictures? Usually family legends retain only names
The experts say that the epoch when well-to-do people chose rich and imposing items for their collections, for example, sculptures with plenty of gilding, is nevertheless leaving. Today about two tens of the worthy thematic private collections of the postcards exist. During the last two years we regularly acquaint the readers of the magazine “Belarus” with one of such treasures — the collection of Vladimir Likhodedov. But no matter how convincing are the globalists nudging the mankind into the open society in favour of the formation of the world government and so on, people will hardly reject the national cultural values... Naive minimalists with the sense of optimism will always preserve historical subjects, family values reminding their native land. In the wide and narrow sense.

Nina Leonidovna Jakovleva, the guest of our editorial office, confirms this assumption. The intelligent Mink-dweller Nina Leonidovna also has a collection: the graphic chronicles of her family which started her father, our compatriot, a modest employee with a higher technical education, in the beginning of the century.

— Nina Leonidovna, not long ago collecting cards, herbariums in albums, wishes to remember... were considered as a bad taste which was called narrow-mindedness.

— Probably. But not in our family. To the contrary, my relatives thought that you shouldn’t ever throw out letters. By the way, those cards and photos were preserved because during the Great Patriotic War a German official of a high rank lived in our house in Lvov, in a private residence of the formerly famous lawyer Chudovskiy. The family legend says that the officer of the Wehrmacht planned that after the end of the war that fantastic structure of the XIXth century would remain after him and therefore treated carefully every piece of furniture in the house. As it turned out, Germans hadn’t even opened the bureau. We took the key with us during evacuation. If you remember history the German command has divided Ukraine just in the beginning of the Great Patriotic War… When the war began, I was 5 years old, but I remember well some episodes. My mum and grandmother left Lvov in the emergency and, certainly took only things of the first necessity in evacuation. Our family albums, letters, documents of the house, as well as bills for the public utilities remained during the war in that old bureau which we got together with the residence. We returned to Lvov after war.

— And how did your family get to Lvov from Belarus and later to Minsk?

— It’s a long story. After the graduation from the Gomel railway technical school, father was sent to work in an educational establishment in Dnepropetrovsk. And later, after 1939, he as a professional was transferred to Lvov. My father was Belarusian, Jakovlev Leonid Ivanovich, born in Vilnius in 1906, my mum grew near Mogilyov. In 1935 they got married and took my grandmother, a common country woman, with them. By the way, let me tell you about my grandmother’s impudence. Her name was Andreeva Eudoxia Jakovlevna.

The family legend says that grandmother, a common illiterate girl from the farm Pashkovo of the Mogilev province, was given to marriage at an early age to a well-to-man by force. Now they would say to a businessman from Mogilev. But about a year later, in 1905, she ran away from her husband regardless of the father’s will. She didn’t return home — that was a family shame! She worked in Mogilev, where she met my grandfather. By the way, the second marriage of my grandmother was recognized only after the October revolution. The church deprived her of the right to enter into a new marriage because of her impudence, but gave it to her abandoned spouse. In the metrics of my mum there was a gap in the section “father of the child”. However, my grandparents had a safe and happy life. Whatever you say, Belarus — is a country with a strong female dominant...

Now I terribly regret I haven’t kept all the memoirs of my grandmother, that I didn’t have time to put down some unknown family facts told by my farther. However, just a couple of years before father’s death, I asked him to write our family history... A book-manuscript appeared. He has been working intellectually all his life: he painted perfectly well, sang romances, wrote prose for himself and even kept a diary. I have brought his memoirs to the editorial office, it contains chapters about Gomel...

Me and my brother came to Minsk at different times, but being already adult people. We sold all our Lvov real estate which equaled only to a 2-roomed apartment in Nesvizh. This is a paradox! Living in Lvov, we wanted to see Belarus so much, though we knew the native land of our parents only from their stories. In 1960 after the graduation from the Lvov polytechnic institute I was sent to work in Minsk. How delighted I was at the time! Now I live with memoirs about Lvov, the city where I was young and happy.

Jeanne Vasanskaya.
Cards from collection of Vladimir Likhodedov
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