Friday, July 20, 2018

#36 ~ Detroit ~ 1979 ~ On our Own!

So, here we are! Detroit, Michigan... middle of the winter...Snow, snow, snow everywhere.
Ida, Felix's Mom, rented an apartment for us in Pontiac and her friends helped us to furnish it. We had beds, some utensils, table and few chairs. It looked liked we had to start all over again and I missed my comfortable home in Hartford.. But I don't remember feeling sad or upset or deprived.  Always looking forward to a new day, new discoveries, new experiences.
The very next week Ida moved to Cleveland to start her new job in a private gymnastics club and we were ON OUR OWN!

Ida Davidovich with her new co-workers in Cleveland

I missed my friends and my warm American family from Hartford terribly. Evelyn and Diane called us every week to see how we are doing. Evelyn kept asking me when we are coming back home.
But we were determine to make it work.
I worked in the gym every day. My boss, Steve (who later became Director of Education for the US Gymnastics) and all the staff at the Gym were very friendly, helpful and supportive. They welcomed us, helped us with advice, encouraged us and of course helped with our limited English.
I started my Rhythmic Gymnastics Team right away. I was also teaching floor and beam for the Artistic  Gymnastics. Students called me "Ms. Body Wave". I was not sure if they made fun of me, just teased me or enjoyed my teaching.
We had to hire a babysitter and it broke my heart to see baby Elizabeth cry every time when we were leaving for work.
We took kids with us to the Gym every time we had a chance and everyone loved them.

Soon Masha joined a group of "Hot Shots". So she was officially taking gymnastics twice a week.
And she loved practicing her new skills at home...

Masha practicing her "bridge" at home in Detroit, MI

I was so excited to teach Rhythmic Gymnastics. I did what I loved and I was getting paid!!! Could it get any better than that? Every Friday weall went shoppimg and after that  drove to the bank to make a deposit. We were so careful with our spending... Still never allowed ourselves to go to the movies or to the restaraunt. Secreteley I was still afraid that all this will come to an end and we will end up going back to the Soviet Union.
In a meantime my Mom, Dad and my little brother Eduard were granted exit Visas and they settled in Italy to wait for the US permission to join us. Our little family was very happy!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

#37 ~1979 - Rhythmic Gymnastics Team

Back to the Beginning
Previous Post: 1979 - Becoming Americans!

Nobody knew what Rhythmic Gymnastics was. I was trying to explain, demonstrate, promise that it is a spectacular sport, that it has future, that it's for the girls who love to dance, express themselves through the movement. I managed to gather 12 girls to start a Rhythmic Gymnastics team. One of my most talented students was Michelle Berube. Strong, flexible, dynamic! She attracted attention of other coaches and judges at the very first National Championships in Boston in 1979.
!978 ~ Marianna Davidovich, age 5 performing ribbon routine for the crowd in the local mall (Photo by Maina Davidovich).
I was so happy to have my Mom and Dad living with us! We did not need a babysitter any more!!! Girls were growing so fast. Masha was so little, but already developed taste of performing and being the center of attention...
After 3 years living in the States, we went to the the movies for the first time ("Cisco Kid").  I loved it!
We enjoyed driving to the lake in the summer, picking apples in the Fall, but winters were cold, very cold.
In the summer 1980 we visited my college friend in Jacksonville, Florida. She introduced us to the owner of the local Gymnastics school. And that was the pivotal point in our lives.

Next: 1979 - Becoming Americans!

#38 ~ 1980 ~ DETROIT, MI

Our life was beginning to have rhythm, schedule, healthy beat and stability. Every day we went to work, on the weekends we played with kids and visited friends. Family Roost was one of the families that helped us. They had beautiful house, big and well behaved dog and always lots of treats for the girls. Everything in the house was with roosters. And I still have the sugar bowl and creamer that they gave us so many years ago. People's kindness and  generosity amazed me. Sometimes I would come to work and there would be a basket with toys or clothes for the kids. I loved working, teaching, learning and growing... The only sad thing was that my parents still had hard time obtaining Visas to join us. At that point they were in Italy, waiting permission to enter the USA. So, the hard part of leaving Soviet Union was done. One of the requirements for them get this permission was: we had to take on the responsibility to provide their housing. So, at the beginning of the year we started looking for the house big enough that we could all live together. It was still hard for me to imagine to be an owner of the house. It was still very fresh in my memory how we lived in Kiev in one room, sharing the kitchen and bathroom with Ida's ex-husband...
Anyway, our weekends were busy driving around with the real estate agent and looking at the houses. Finally we found a house in Berkley, the one we could afford. After putting 10% down, we were left with no money at all. But we were happy to move into the 4 bedroom, 2 story house that needed a lot of work.

Celebrating Elizabeth's 4th birthday in the house in Berkley, MI
Mashoonya and Elizabeth playing in the yard.
I loved coming to the Gym. I was training girls, sharing with them all the knowledge and experience that I had. Some parents were asking me if I would consider competing again...But I was happy with coaching, doing a lot of choreography and getting my team ready for the competitions and shows. Progress was evident almost immediately. I felt so much support, love and encouragement from my boss, Steve Whitlock, other coaches and all the parents, which gave me a lot of confidence and pleasure in return.
On March 23 we got a very exciting phone call that my parents and my brother are due to arrive next week. Oh, what an excitement it was!!! We could hardly wait until the time that we had to go to the airport to meet them.
My Mom and my all grown up brother.
In the late afternoon of March 30 they finally arrived. When I saw  my Mom and Dad, faces that I did not think I will ever see again, I started sobbing. We did not even talk. We just hugged and held each other for a long, long time. And then I saw my brother Eduard. When I left he was a pesky 15 year old boy and now I was looking at a tall, very handsome young man with FACIAL HAIR!!! It was just too much to handle. Tears, laughter, stories... Elizabeth was so tiny and she could not understand who are these people and why they are hugging and kissing her and Masha. After we picked their luggage and packed it in our station wagon, we were on our way home. Very happy, very relieved and very thankful. I could not wait to show them, teach them, share with them everything that I've learned and everything that I loved about our new home.                           

Sunday, July 1, 2018

#39 ~1979 - Becoming Americans!

Back to the Beginning
Previous: 1978 - First year in Detrot, MI
1979 ~ Eduard Flit and Elizabeth Davidovich ~ Berkley, Mi ~ By Marina Davidovich
The year is 1979... We are becoming AMERICANS! We are learning very fast that if you work hard, live modestly and save, we can reach an American dream. Our highlight of the week was driving to the bank every Friday to make a modest deposit. We were able to save enough money to buy a house in Berkley, MI. The house needed a lot of work, but it was OUR house. In March of that year my parents and my 19 year old brother came to the US after a long, long  wait. I did not see my brother for 4 years and when we left he was just a boy. So when I saw a grown man walking towards me at the airport, I was shocked! However, his infectious smile was the same. I was so happy to see my family again. When we left Ukraine, we did not think we will see each other again. It was a very happy day!!!