People I Met and What I Learned

3 people meeting at table

During my 40 plus year career I travelled all over the US, and as well throughout Central America, Colombia, SA, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, Iceland, France, England and to most of the countries in East and West Europe.

I met and spoke with numerous people from all walks of life including many who have lived in Communistic and Socialistic Countries.

And speaking of those who have lived in Socialistic/Communistic countries, reminds me of the couple who I met one Christmas vacation from college.  I was at the vet picking up my parent’s dog, when I met the couple who were working as assistants for the Vet handling the dogs from their pens and the front office.  I met them and it turned out that they were Russian.  Since I was studying foreign languages in college, and at that time learning Russian, it was interesting meeting someone who was from Russia.  We conversed for a few minutes and when I explained that I was studying Russian, they invited me to come back, and they would help me with the language.  I did come back and actually had several sessions with the couple, but on my last visit, I was met at the door by a person I did not recognize.  This person told me that the couple had moved and thus would not be able to speak with me anymore. I thought this was kind of strange since they were always friendly.  After several days I decided to go back to the vet and see if he had any information.  The vet told me that one day they came into his office and resigned.  They gave no reason, just that they were going to live with some friends in a town about 50 miles away.

I did recall that on one of my visits with the Russian couple they did tell me that a few years ago they discovered that one of their childhood friends who had escaped with them from Russia had disappeared from where they were living not too far away from the vet’s office.

After returning to school from vacation, I was speaking to one of the Russian language instructors; and I told him the story.  He told me that it was not uncommon for Russians who had escaped from Russia especially after the Bolshevik Revolution to be located and “disappeared.”  But that these “disappearings” had pretty much ended; however, since many Russian escapees were tagged with a bounty if returned or found that it might be possible that their location was revealed to someone who still had decided to try and collect the ransom.

I never heard anything more, but their story to me was very interesting.  They shared with me that they lived not far from Ekaterinburg in Russia which was the town where The Czar’s family was murdered in July 1918.  And they escaped not long after the murders.  They were teenagers at the time and though they did not tell me much about how they escaped they shared some information about their life living in Russia when the Czar was in control.  And while life was difficult for many, the parents of this couple were connected to one of the Czar’s inner circle people.  And as a result, they had very seldom lacked for anything.  The couple told me that the rumors about the Czar’s demise were rampant for at least a year before they were murdered.  Czar Nicholas II was considered a bumbling idiot and most people considered that he would be deposed any time soon.  And while many people they knew believed that the Bolsheviks were going to be much worse, this couple focused on escaping because either way they expected the killing was going to get worst, and it did.

But I never heard from or about this Russian couple again.

My further travels took me to many other countries, and my subsequent articles will tell several stories that were shared with me by people who I met, including one story that I heard from a business manager in Warsaw, Poland.  This was in 2003, and it involved a connection with a new entity that his company had purchased about a year ago in Kiev, Ukraine; and his company had assigned him the responsibility of managing the relationship.  The story about doing business in Ukraine was a very interesting tale about what it was like doing business in the Ukraine.