Thursday, July 21, 2016

May You Live In Interesting Times

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine. As today is ‪#‎ThrowbackThursday‬ we thought we'd throwback to our favorite movie of all time, Casablanca, which is somewhat apropos to these times since the movie deals with war, refugees, greed and corruption, and the fight against Nazism. A subplot of the movie is the disposition of the coveted Letters of Transit, documents that in wartime Europe were worth more than life itself!

Well, these are actual Letters of Transit, signed by the French Consul of Constantinople, which my grandparents used in 1920 to escape the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. As an indication of how cherished these documents were, they were some of the few documents my grandparents preserved from that era. My grandparents were war refugees, the kind of people who today would be looked down upon by certain retrograde segments of American society.

Grandfather Vasily is the dapper cavalry officer wearing the riding boots, front right, in his White Army uniform, and Grandmother Maria sports her White Army nurse's uniform. Grandfather was wounded in battle fighting the Bolsheviks on the Crimea during the Russian Civil War and met Grandmother in the hospital. The rest, as they say, is history:

Grandfather Vasily is the dapper cavalry officer, front right, wearing the riding boots. Tall man standing in center of photo is Baron Wrangel, the last Russian White Army general.
This would have been his officer corps in the Crimea. Grandfather Vasily was a Captain of Engineers.

Grandmother Maria in her White Army nurse's uniform

The last surviving photo taken of Grandfather Vasily (or William as his name was Americanized) at his engineering office at the old Idaho Highway Department in Boise, circa 1960

Rick's introduction to the letters of transit

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