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Posts Tagged ‘Ludmila’

My older sister Gala and me in 1947 in Italy, after escaping war-torn Russia on our way to Venezuela

Everything that was important in my life—my dreams and ambitions and hopes- were swept away by a wave of alcohol and drugs that took me from the height to the depths in a few lost years in Hollywood.  While reading my story, you will travel across those peaks and valleys, and perhaps experience the same spectrum of emotions, fears and doubts that filled those lost years. My story is a unique one, and I guarantee that it will quicken your pulse and make your heart beat a little faster as you read on.

Like my lost years, my childhood passed by without a prolonged period of innocence; from the moment our caravan fled Mother Russia through war-torn Europe, I was obliged to grow up fast and defend myself and my family like a woman- or a man.  I passed through this early period of my life just surviving, along with my family, on the slim hope of a better tomorrow. At times I came face to face with the profound depths of a hopeless reality, but in the midst of so much struggle, I could only choose to fight to survive, like everyone around me. And survive I did- to live, to dance, to cry and laugh, and sometimes to scream with pain and anger.

The central event and single fact of my childhood is that I was condemned by the communists and the advancing Red Army to leave my country, my family, my people, my homeland, my very culture- -my Mother Russia. I ventured forth into an unknown world, with a family of gypsies traveling in a horsedrawn caravan, to be swept away to a strange and entirely different New World. In that new reality, dreaming was the only cure for the maladies of the world. In my new life in Isla Margarita off the coast of South America, I could ride my swing higher, higher and higher, to touch the blue sky, then come back to earth to feel the warm, creamy sand slipping through my toes. While the wind whispered through the palm trees, the tropical breeze caressed my young and innocent body.  I told myself over and over again the words I had learned and felt from the glamour magazines:  I am beautiful,  I am strong,  I am a star shining bright like that one overhead.  Some day, when I grow up,  I will see all of the world and everything in it.

What happened? When did I fall off my swing? It seems like I woke up forty years later with the constant refrain pounding in my head:  My head is spinning, the booze was winning.

But I will live to swing again and reach up to the clear blue skies, to be a shining star again, and feel the kiss of warm lips instead of the chill of a cold, empty glass.

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