The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my mom, Anna, over the phone and asked her about her childhood and what it was like living in Poland while it was under communist rule during the Cold War. She lived a very different childhood from me, not only because it was a different time but also because it was a different country as well. This memory isn't as interesting as other stories she's told me about her childhood, but it was just a little glimpse of her life and how normal this was for her. This memory fits into my mother's life even today because now when we go visit Poland and our family there, we walk down the same streets she walked down when she was younger, and she sees how different the city is now versus how it used to look live when she was young. The streets and buildings have been rebuilt and have more life to them now, which makes her happy to see.

It was a normal Saturday morning for a 13-year-old Anna. She was about to go to the store with her older sister, Margaret, to buy a few things for their mother. At the time, they lived in a small apartment in the center of a city in Poland called Lublin. Everything was relatively close, so they didn't have to walk far. They quickly got dressed and left in a hurry, making sure they didn't forget their ration book with them. The stores were mostly empty, so they wanted to make sure they were there early before everything that's available sells out. The store wasn't that far from their house, but since they lived in the center of the city, there were always soldiers patrolling the streets, making sure there wasn't any trouble being caused. At least in Anna's city, the soldiers were Polish, not Russian, like in the capital and other major cities in Poland. Anna remembers the dark and ugly city she lived in and the depressing, ruined buildings she walked by every day. Finally, getting to the store, Anna and Margaret wandered the almost-empty aisles to look for the items their mother asked them to buy. Anna flipped through their ration booklet to make sure they still had stamps to buy what they need, or else the clerk wouldn't sell to them. All they needed was sugar, butter, eggs, and bread. At the register, Anna hands the cashier the booklet, where they ripped out the stamps from the book to show what they bought, and then they were on their way back home, passing by the same black and white route, down the same ruined streets, passing by the same ugly buildings, to go back to their tiny apartment where they'd continue living their fearful childhood in an unfair communistic Poland.

A l0ok of Poland during the cold war

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Lublin, Poland

I interviewed my mom, Anna, over the phone and asked her about her childhood and what it was like living in Poland while it was under communist rule during the Cold War. She lived a very different childhood from me, not only because it was a different time but also because it was a different country as well. This memory isn't as interesting as other stories she's told me about her childhood, but it was just a little glimpse of her life and how normal this was for her. This memory fits into my mother's life even today because now when we go visit Poland and our family there, we walk down the same streets she walked down when she was younger, and she sees how different the city is now versus how it used to look live when she was young. The streets and buildings have been rebuilt and have more life to them now, which makes her happy to see.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by natalia baginski on November 10, 2020
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