Precious Memories [Places]: Village

There a lot of times I suddenly experience some flashbacks from my past and try to rejuvenate them in my mind. It’s hard but possible; sometimes I spend a lot of time trying to distinguish if those were real things or were they just the fake memories. Those precious moments give me a chance to restore events of the past.

Somehow I grew up a person that collects and values those pieces of information; they are unique, full of happiness and quietism. I try to remember as much as I can: places, notes, feelings, special people, events that happened and made me a person I am today, those which shaped my personality, good and bad ones, in a ratio of 3:1.

Memories can actually tell a lot about a human: if a person tends to store more positive images of past or negative ones. “You can make some deductions through those“, – Sherlock Holmes would remind.

And back to the topic, the places. Actually, this flashback was triggered by a sudden trip to one of my favorite places on the Earth, a place where I feel peace inside myself all of the time, my grandma’s village: the place I visited a lot during my early years and later on, where I’d get to spend my whole summer holidays, village Ostroushki.

The village is situated on the left bank of the river Vit’, which is the distributary channel of the Desna River. The number of the residents is really low: according to 2001 population census there were 160 residents. A few decades before, there were up to 500 residents. Due to the urbanization phenomenon which started to rise its power since 1970th, the new generation moved to cities nearby, Novhorod-Siverskyi and Shostka.

Even though many local residents have relocated to cities years ago, a lot of people come here in the summer; these people are the two (or even three) generations of those first residents who moved to cities in 1970-1980th.

First memory, the earliest one – the time when our whole family gathered together in the Easter’s Eve. I was 3-4 years old, my mother gave birth in November to my smaller sister, so did my uncle’s wife, they’ve had a daughter also. I cried and cried, because I was really pissed off. I can’t remember what caused my non-stop crying, but I was hoping to go home faster.

My uncles and aunts gathered from all over Ukraine: some came from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, some from cities nearby. My grand-grandfather was alive at that moment, a person who survived an injury in World War II and returned home safely after the war finished. The dog was barking and I was crying almost in unison with it, it seemed we made a perfect duet.

The second part of memories, when I was 5-9 years. At that time my grandparents lived there and cared for my grand-grandfather, so it was the first time in a year I had a chance to see them.

The summer, hot days spent outside the house. Days of the leisure changed to the days of work in the grandma’s garden, 1.5 acres of fertile land, which was huge for a family of ours. Nonetheless, the strawberries and other fresh fruits and vegetables motivated us to go and help our parents. After a lunch time, we usually went to the river to swim. Oh, what a beautiful time, the best time of the summer!

There were some days when we spent our whole days there, we brought snacks with ourselves, swam until we were done, built some sand castles, enjoyed the times while we could.

The third one, when I was 10-16 years. We were growing up, our parents became elder. Some days after we finished our studies at school, we finally could buy a ticket and packed our clothes. My mother, my sister and I were going to grandma again. We were waiting not only because it meant finally to see our grandparents, but our friends there who came from Russia and the southern parts of Ukraine.

We played until the darkness, until parents had to call us, until the mosquito’s bites were all over our bodies. We went fishing almost every day. We rode the bicycles and competed with each other, we hide when the cows were passing the streets and went home. We fought with each other, created some horror stories and scared each other. We played cards and tic-tac-toe game on stock-fish, we ran until we fall down and scratched our legs. The magical times, the felicity of our childhoods.

Sometimes I ask myself a question: “How did we grow up so fast?

It seemed like it was yesterday we have gathered the strawberries my grandma hoped to conserve for the winter time and went for a walk to the river, but stayed and fished for some hours.

It seemed like it was some hours ago we have waited for the truck to come and for the time when we could buy an ice-cream and a fresh loaf of bread.

It seemed like it was 5 minutes ago we grew together, each upcoming year were curious to see how much we changed, waited for each other, became more mature and shy as we all together were becoming adults.

It seemed like it was a second ago we didn’t gather anymore in the village of ours, the land of our ancestors.

Times have changed, the village became so tiny, the fences of our homes inclined and today we gather rarely, only to share our grief at the funeral of someone’s relative. The roads of our lives haven’t crossed for ages as we became mature adults.

Sometimes it makes me sad, sometimes the memories of the past give me a second breath and make me calm, giving that feeling of warmth in my chest. But one thing never changes – I am thankful for each second of that time, I really am.




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