Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

Editor’s Note:  Rita grew up in Russia.  She has a very ‘unvarnished’ perception of the world.  And I thought it would be interesting to hear a little bit about her background.  And, it is!  Here is the first of a few bits Rita has sent me:

Life as I Know It

“What I’d like to know is how many people out there can’t remember their early childhood, or is there something wrong with my brain?
Because out of first 6 years of my life I only remember 4 snapshots:
A huge pink piglet chasing me every time he sees me, and I’m running away from him, screaming, scared to death. (I was avenged – I was told the piglet was eaten the following winter. I was glad at first, but later felt a bit sorry for him.)
 I’m sitting on the swing talking to a deaf and mute little girl, my mom stops by and asks me how I can be talking to her, and I’m surprised to learn of her condition.
My mom throws away my toy mouse because it has a big hole, but I still love that mouse more than anything in the world and nothing can replace it.
Being in the hospital with the pneumonia and screaming bloody murder every time a nurse has to give me a shot or give me a bath.
That’s all, just those 4 things and nothing else, absolutely nothing, as if I didn’t exist.
Is that weird or is it just me?
As I got older, I remembered a little more. Not much more, though. The first 6 years of school I only remember day one of the first grade and then a bit from this or that year, but no idea which year – only the event itself, and sometimes a name of some person to go with the event. Actually, no names at all for the first few years of school, no names come to mind until maybe 5th grade. Except our dog Tim, and my mom’s second husband, Aleksei Nikolaevich – they were obtained by my mom when I was in 1st grade. I liked them both very much, Tim a little bit more. When they got divorced, both left together, the man and the dog, and my mom wouldn’t let me get another dog until she got her 3rd husband. I wonder why buying dogs was always connected to her getting married?

Funny… Somewhere around 3rd or 4th grade I remember the name of the girl I wanted to be friends with: a popular blond girl Marina Mironchikova, but don’t remember the name of the girl I was friends with. Well, not really friends – I mean, she wanted to be friends with me, and back then you had to have a friend, if you didn’t, you were considered weird. So I basically allowed that girl to think she was my friend, just during school, but avoided her after school. I also remember Marina’s best friend’s name – Natasha Nikolayeva. Natasha jealously guarded her Marina, and during school wouldn’t let me near her. So Marina ignored me while at school, but outside of school, when Natasha wasn’t around, she cheated on her friend and played with me in secret from time to time. Marina liked me too, because we both were artistic, but she explained that, naturally, because she was friends with Natasha much before we met, she had to be faithful to Natasha and couldn’t be my best friend, and because Natasha was very possessive of her, we had to act distant during school. The friendships among girls were sort of mimicking marriages – all that loyalty and jealousy and cheating…
I kept watching Marina all day with admiration and thinking how unfair life was, because we were so much more alike than her and Natasha. More out of affection than animosity we kept fiercely competing at singing and drawing, and she kept besting me at singing, but I did at drawing. She hated me being better at drawing, because she wanted to be best at everything, and that bit of resentment peculiarly accounted for her spending a bit more time with me than she would otherwise. Natasha hated it all, because she wasn’t really good at anything, except she always did her homework and had decent grades. One time when I drew a picture for Marina to give her as a surprise present and put it in Marina’s desk, Natasha found it first, crumpled it up and threw it away, without telling Marina about it. I was very hurt, because I thought Marina threw away my drawing.” – Rita

Photo by Carl Nelson

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