Sunday, September 30, 2018

#32 ~ 1977 ~ West Hartford, CT

Elizabeth at the park ~ West Hartford, CT
I was so much in love with my life, my babies, my home... I was happy! Felix was working at the General Elevator company and I stayed home with the girls. Mashoonya was growing so fast, and Elizabeth was such a cute and easy baby. I loved taking care of them, I changed Elizabeth's clothes 10 times a day, we all went shopping Friday nights, and I was learning the American way of life. In the spring of 1977 we moved to the house in West Hartford. It was on the first floor and we had a yard and garage and bedrooms for the girls. We even had a small sun room, where we kept all the toys. We rented the house, but I was already dreaming of having our own house. I could see that it was possible!
Ida was offered a job as a coach at the New Britain YWCA. But she was already working. So naturally, I said that I would like to try. We all drove to the YWCA and I had an interview with the director. Since I did not speak English very well yet, I just conducted a class and I was hired right away. They did not have any equipment, so I used whatever I could find: volleyballs, ropes, odd looking clubs, hoops, etc. I made my own ribbons. My students were all grown women, much older than me. And I made them do things that they could never imagine doing: bending, arching, jumping, dancing, kicking and of course we all had such a great time!

The only sad thing in my life was, that my family was still in Ukraine and they had a very hard time getting exit visas. But we were all hoping for the best.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

#33 ~ 1977 ~ West Hartford, CT

Our life in West Hartford started to have some sort of a rhythm, schedule and consistency. The fear that it will be all gone was fading away. I was with kids during the day and not even knowing it,  I turned into a real housewife: cooked, cleaned, talked on the phone and took care of the kids. During their nap I watched soap operas. "One life to live" became an important part of my day. I watched actors, listend to their dialogs, mimiked their expressions and it helped me  agreat deal with my English. I was learning how to talk, how to dress, how to cry and how to tell jokes. My English was improving. Between the TV, talking to neighbors, reading recepies in the cook book and listening to the "Sesame Street" with the girls, I felt very comfortable. On Saturdays I was driving to New Britain's YWCA to teach. My first drive on the highway was terrifying, to say the least. I was probably going 35 miles an hour and when other drivers would honk at me, I would just smile and wave my hand. I can only imagine how many angry people drove by me...
At the YWCA one of my students, Jane who was not much older than me, invited us to come a spend a weekend with them at the Cape Cod, on the beach. They had a small house, close to the beach and at that time I could not understand how can anyone have 2 homes? Unheard off!!!!!
It was such an exciting trip for us. Elizabeth was tiny, about 4 months and we used her playpen as a crib and a place for her to play. We enjoyed our time on the beach with everyone!

August 1977 ~ Cape Cod

Later that year Jane took me to Boston to the Rhythmic Gymnastics Clinic/workshop and that's where I first met Monika Heilbut and Norma Zabka, who were my first contact with the Rhythmic Gymnastics community of the US.
In September, Masha started Hebrew Academy and in return I was teaching classes gymnastics there. Only now I understand how difficult it was. It's one thing when you talk to adults and can explain what you want with your hands, facial expressions, etc. But when you have 30 little kids, and they are waiting for you to lead them, tell them what to do, how to do it, organise them and make sure they are all safe... I don't know how I handled it. But I did it and with each passing day I was more confident, composed, more at ease with everyone and to summarise it: cool, calm and collected.

On Friday night we all went grocery shopping. It was like Christmas shopping every time. We never got tired of going to the grocery store. I was thinking about my family back in Ukraine all the time. We were all very anxious to have them come and join us in America.