30 years ago, my parents got married. As a present for their anniversary I wrote and illustrated this book based on the true memories about my childhood. It took me quite a long time to finish – because I never wrote anything like this before and because I decided to make plasticine illustrations for the book.
The book is originally written in Russian, so I translated the stories in English to share them.
My Mom loves to talk on the phone. She even met my father by phone and they spoke so much that my Dad had to marry her to cut the long-distance call costs. And so they began to live together. Even now my Mom talks on the phone a lot, because everyone loves her very much and they can’t stop talking to her, but she’s unavailable for marriage.
I don’t remember how I ended up with my parents, but I know for a fact that before I used to be different. At first I had a pacifier. Once, my father decided to trick me and take the pacifier for himself. He told me that the birds that live in our courtyard need my pacifier very much, so he took it from me and hid it in the cupboard. But I saw through his trick and decided that I want to give the pacifier to the birds immediately. My Dad took me to the windowsill and we threw the pacifier through the vent window to the birds. That’s how I outwitted my father.
As I already said, I know very little about my origins and can’t trust my parents with such questions. On the other hand, I remember very well the appearance of my brother Sasha. He appeared in the spring, right after my Dad’s birthday. The first time I saw him, my Mom showed him to me through the maternity ward’s window. He didn’t pay any attention to me then and I doubt that he remembered that day at all. Even I didn’t yet realize my luck.
The pantry near the bedroom was occupied by the bogey man. When we went to bed, he would put on my Mom’s robe, leave the pantry and walk around the bed. Sometimes the bogey man can bite your hill or nibble on your toenails if your foot sticks out from under the blanket in your sleep, but there were two of us and only one of him, so he was afraid to get too close. That’s when I realized how lucky I was to have a brother.
Mother worked a lot but in the evenings she would always read us a fairytale, even if she was very tired. Sometimes she would fall asleep, but continue to tell us how the Little Round Bun was going to the tax office to file accounts, how he met the Wolf on his way there and paid him back the debt, how the Bear was in some bind with the bandits and had to give a statement to the police, and that it was unclear how the Fox got out of this, while the dollar continued to strengthen. The Little Round Bun’s adventures were different every day!
On the weekends my Mom would write up a list of things to buy and my Dad and I would go to the market. Nothing is dearer to my eye than the long rows of market stalls selling everything and anything. That’s how I became a shopaholic: now, whenever I travel to a new city, the first thing I do, I go to the market. Basically, I loved shopping, but it tired my Dad out.
This is why on the way back we would always go to the bar to get some rest and celebrate the successful end of shopping: we deserved this! At the bar we would buy ice cream for me and all sorts of food and drinks for my Dad and we would have a great time. Mother didn’t like this. Sometimes we would take her to the market with us, but then she wouldn’t allow us to go to the bar, so in general we tried to go there on our own.
Adults like to say that the most important is to be healthy, but every kid knows that being sick is great! You can stay at home, watch as much TV as you want, and nobody will say “No” if you ask them to bring you a cup of tea, open a jar of marmalade, read you a book or play a game of checkers even if you were up the whole night before. The only thing you can’t do is go outside, but everything else is so great that a few days inside are just what the doctor ordered.
And then after you stay at home sick for a few days, you get better and you want to go outside again! Especially if you have a dog — dogs make everything better. If it wasn’t for Dusya, my dog, I would never think of going outside when it’s cold and I would definitely have no reasons to love winter. But when you see how happy the snow makes the dogs, you begin to like it a little bit as well, and can even roll around in it for a while. Until Dusya has had enough and takes you home.
When we came back from a walk, my Mom would teach me how to cook. She would show me lots of different dishes, but dumplings were especially frequent. Still, I could watch forever as my Mom made the dumplings. Any person would say the same about his or her mother, but I’ve been to many places and now I know for sure that no one makes them better than she does. Well, my Dad can, if he ever decides that he wants to.
What can I say about the sea? I think that everyone loves the sea. Even those who can’t stand the sun and don’t know how to swim (that’s my Mom), those who are very tired from work and have no mind for amusements (that’s my Dad), those who’ve only seen it once (that’s me!) and those who were too small to even remember it (and that’s my brother). There’s nothing better than the sea — only the sky and the planes, and they say that up there in the sky all they talk about is the sea.
Speaking of planes. When I was small, my brother and I loved to go to the airport, where our grandfather worked. Back then the planes and the airport itself seemed huge, much bigger than they do today. But, to tell you the truth, sometimes I think that it’s our Earth itself that is getting smaller: before everything seemed very far away, but now, whenever I am, the little airport at my home-town is always at hand. Sometimes it seems that I can see it even from across half the planet.
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