1992 | St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia | Age: 10
I remember asking my parents whether I could pack a suitcase full of toys, and obviously they said no, but that I could fill this box. Some of these I don’t think I even played with by the time I was 10. The fun part is these fantiki (gum wrappers). They were important to all the kids when we were 8, 9, 10. Back there we’d collect and trade them. Some were worth more than others, so you could exchange several for one of the more important ones.
There’s some old money, a matryoshka, my first watch with a broken band. It’s electronic, and I know a few of us had the exact same watch. It definitely doesn’t work anymore. This is a very old negative of my maternal grandparents in front of the Peterhof sometime in the late ‘60s. Old birthday postcards. First grade math problems. A schedule of classes written in my mom’s handwriting; I don’t think I knew how to write script at that point. Some days we had two separate maths; other classes were double periods. Art - I remember I was terrible at it!
To my son, this stuff is going to look a lot like my grandparents’ things look to me - packed in boxes somewhere. Maybe he’ll play with some of these toys. The other things will just be “the stuff that mom brought here with her.”
I finished 3 grades there. I saved my old Soviet star pin for my school uniform in a matchbox, on which I had written “valuables.” I had saved the back cover of a notebook with the old Soviet hymn on it. I can’t even begin to tell you why. And to go with these two, is the children’s political pamphlet for Oktyabryata (Little Octobrists, the mandatory communist youth organization).