Chapter 1. My childhood billeting…
I was born on Far North behind the Polar circle. And as soon as I was ten months old, parents sent me to the continent. To the city of Nizhneudinsk of the Irkutsk region. To the grandmother. There the climate is softer and the grandmother already went to pension. It has a wooden house, a flock, a mow, a summer kitchen and a toilet on the street. The estate ten hundred parts, a small garden — a kitchen garden. Pension of 45 rubles. It kept not cunning economy — a pig, two goats, about ten hens and in the yard ran a shaggy dog — the security guard Jack, on an oven Murk’s cat, a thunder-storm of the mouse tribe dozed. That’s all economy. It is necessary to tell that goats were gave milk much and gave three liters of milk. And milk it is twice more bold than cow. So that security was products not bad. From the childhood I remember a tricycle and being in the yard attraction
Closer to school parents to Norilsk took away me. The father taught to do mental arithmetic. And when all decomposed sticks, I sat missed. I graduated from elementary school the round excellent student. The teacher with astonishment told parents:
— Your child absentminded sits and as you won’t ask — everything knows. As what commission — trouble and revenue…
As soon as I learned to read, here all also began. I joined a children’s public library. I took 5 — 7 books for a week. The librarian at first everything races stitched contents of books, didn’t believe that he could read so much. Then I understood with whom deals — I gave up. Besides, I took books from all acquaintances. I remember one boy at parents had a huge library. I took from it Jack London, Stephenson, Mark Twain and other classics.
Generally I read that is called with very great interest. Books at that time in the city on the free sale weren’t. Wasn’t in the city even of bookstore. In the central department store — department of political literature — Marx, Engels, Lenin and so forth.
Parents from Riga cash on delivery wrote out literature. When the parcel post came, in the house there was a holiday. To me wrote out the Children’s encyclopedia of 12 volumes. I studied it from cover to cover. I saved love to books for the rest of life. In a consequence I brought together small library about one thousand volumes. Over time books began to be available for sale, they could be acquired at exhibitions, fairs, party conferences. There were in bookstores second-hand departments — there people handed over the books. But the prices in them were brutal. If any small volume has the nominal price of 90 kopeks, then in this department — 20 rubles. There I bought all Valentin Pikul. I became engrossed in reading of its historical novels.
Generally the love to books to me was imparted by parents. I want to tell about the father separately. It worked at the mine and in absentia graduated from philological faculty Krasnoyarsk пед university. Once a month it walked on literary combining in case of the Zapolyarnaya Pravda newspaper. I well remembered this newspaper. Many years later New Year’s release of 1968 fell of me into hands. Jammed heart. The father wrote the play and well at him fables turned out. To 65 — to the anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War there was a collection. In it its photo, the biography and five fables. Here what it left to us… Why it didn’t develop in this direction, I don’t know. Operation, life jammed, there was no inspiration? I didn’t discuss this subject with it, didn’t want to injure it.
In key moments of life I listened to its councils. It was very wise. Always I kept frostily. Strictly I controlled emotional tendencies.
I remember it brought me a New Year’s gift. A film-viewing device with films:
— This is the hare I sent you a gift!
— And what the hare wasn’t frightened of you?
— No, he left a gift under a fir-tree and ran away into the wood!
To happiness there was no limit. Eh!!! My childhood billeting!!!
Thin world occasionally,
Sends us with you hints,
I told once,
The father to me in the fairy tale childhood…
Further I used this reception with the children when they were at tender age. I remember I pasted to myself a beard, I dressed up Father Frost…
Last year I already arrived to grandsons, brought to them New Year’s gifts. At them the fir-tree grows in the yard. I hung up a packet on a branch.
When they quitted to walk, I speak to them:
— Look what there hangs on a branch? They ran brought a packet.
— This is the hare I brought you gifts!
— And where it?
— I ran away into the wood. I told — Here gifts to Mischa and Mark and I escaped.
They take a broad view of me the opened eyes
On skis I was “delivered” by the father. At elementary school when there was warm weather we with it walked on Valek. This settlement in 12 kilometers from Norilsk. The father has wide hunting skis. It took the gun, and we shot at targets. The father wasn’t fond of hunting, but was very much a marksman. Sniper. He at the end of war served in special troops and a lot of things was able. I taught me to be guided by terrains, to kindle a fire and especially I accustomed to the weapon. I remember how it loaded cartridges. In the storeroom it had the whole workshop. Bullets of “Brenneke” were remembered. They have an internal hole and a thread outside and inside. Firing for me the ten-year-old boy wasn’t pleasant. Painfully return hit into a shoulder.
— Shoot, be not afraid, I to you less in cartridges filled gunpowder!
We made fire, had dinner. From Valcke returned by bus. On streets it is already dark. Winter day on Far North very short. Tired, but very happy became hollow home. Mother joked:
— Well hunters, where your production?
Chapter 2. Adolescence
In 5 — 6 classes I any more not the excellent student, in some objects already fours. Except school other interests appeared. Three times a week — the pool. When on the street heat — the skates, skis, soccer, hockey. Then we walked in different circles to the House of pioneers — aircraft model, sudomodelny, young technicians, young motorists. I remember in a class the boy ran:
— We in a joiner’s circle sharpen models on machines! Ran — registered. Distances to us boards and planes. We plane. We plane day, we plane two, we plane week, we plane the second…
— When we work at machines?
— To you still early on age, you will grow up, years through three it is admissible. We throw a joiner’s circle, we go we register in another.
Every summer on the continent to the grandmother. In the free from the help with economy time, we run on meadows, on fields. We bathe in Zastryank. Here water warm, a current slow — gets warm. The sandy beach, hot sand — it is healthy. We run without lunch. Is once. To muffle hunger — we smoke. In especially hot days we walk to bathe to Uda. Here water the purest, but cool. Uda originates in Sayan Mountains, there in the summer ice and snow. But in hot days water heats up a little, and we give preference to Uda. We swim on the opposite coast. Width here not big meters 150, but a current prompt therefore what far wouldn’t take down, it is necessary to row strenuously.
I will tell about a case which nearly became fatal. As always, I cross on the opposite coast. I overcame more than a half of a distance as heard an unclear rumble. I twisted the head to and fro, I understood nothing. Then I look upstream, on me the wave darkly — brown color four meters high moves. From a type of this shaft to me it became terrible. The first response — back, but isn’t present an instinct of self-preservation prompted — only forward as it overcame two thirds of distance. I that is forces add speeds, to the coast there is meters fifteen, but here a wave nearby. I well knew what under it (under a wave) should be dive under in order that the crest didn’t strike, didn’t deafen. I collect more air, I dive under under a wave. Me burned with ice cold, discarded, started turning. Water clay, branch circle, boughs. Scribble a body. I come up, I collect complete lungs of air, strenuously I row to the coast. The first thought — can cramp from cold muscles a spasm, but manages. I am somehow selected on the coast, already small, but the prompt flow doesn’t allow to get on feet, literally I will crawl on all fours upon stomach. In total. I ashore. Boomingly heart knocks. Shakes me from cold. I to jogging to be warmed… A way at me distant to the bridge and back, and it kilometers five.
There was very hot day, then a thunder-storm. In Sayan Mountains there passed the heavy rain, as a result the clay roaring flow with the tumbled-down trees, snags rushed down.
Well elements! You tested me for durability. Probably not for nothing I was engaged several years in the pool and not for nothing read books about brave captains who struggled with elements…
Generally for the life I rescued two sinking people. One boy of years of five and drunk men. But about it as be another time.
To us there arrived on a visit the relative uncle Dima with a family. It works at construction of hydroelectric power station on Far North.
— And you were on Ukovsky falls?
— Somehow all lack of time.
— And it isn’t pardonable, the falls are widely known around the world and from all over the world tourists go to admire it!
From station Smoke five kilometers a forest track. I shot ahead groups and I go, examining apexes of cedars. I clarify what us waits for a harvest of a pine nut this year. Suddenly I hang the head down and my look encounters a snake. It lies on a footpath and prepared for a throw. This is an old black viper, she slept, was basked in the sun, and I interrupted her sleep. She didn’t escape, and prepared for attack. I froze. The first thought and that was if I approached it even closer… I drive away this thought away and I move back back, controlling her behavior. I departed meters on five and then the snake crept away in the wood. I sat down on hunkers and I wait for the lagged behind group. The father summarized:
— I always say to you that in a taiga it is necessary to walk, only in boots, won’t bite through a top of a boot of a dragon.
Yes it is valid, at us in Siberia snakes small and therefore the best protection against them are kersey boots.
Here and falls It three-stage, very beautiful. The rumble from it costs so strong that muffles our speech. The small river Uk for thousands of years cut through a canyon in rocks. It frames the small river from two sides at a distance four hundred meters to a lockin of this rivulet to the Uda River. Basalt plumb canyons forty meters high. Distance between rocks of 25 — 40 meters. Generally the falls fascinated us by the beauty, and we without fail are every summer here.
Our children’s entertainments came to an end in the middle of July. Preparation of mushrooms and berries began. Fruit those years in shops weren’t on sale therefore we received vitamins from forest gifts. We accumulated blueberry, currant, bilberry, cowberry. Cooked jam, poured cowberry sugar to save curative properties. As well in the winter after a bath to drink cowberry drink as it well renews. I don’t remember that someone had us cold, flu.
At the end of August preparation of a pine nut began. Here we boys worked with pleasure. Nut very tasty and the useful. In it there are a lot of vitamins, mineral elements. Not for nothing it enters a food allowance of astronauts.
The national name of this tree — a cedar. But it is a little wrong. The cedar happens only Lebanese. And we have the Siberian pine cedar. In Latin Pinus Sibirica de Tour sounds. But from it we don’t love it less. In Krasnoyarsk I sell cedar cones on a small bazarchik. Price of them of 10 — 15 kopeks. For comparing a beer bottle — 22 kopeks, a vodka bottle — 3 rubles 62 kopeks. Suddenly I see the neigbour the aunt Nadya approaches me. They with the husband the same trade in a taiga. I felt shy of it a little.
— What you Vitya sit here? Go to the station, there it is more people and the price is higher.
— So from there the militiaman will drive!
— So you don’t trade on the platform, and sit down in a train coach.
— The conductor won’t let!
— It is it does without saying such — the militiaman will drive, the conductor won’t let. You always shall have an installation only on success. Give free of charge pair of cones to the conductor, it also will let you in a coach.
I listened to the aunt Nadyu. I went to the station. I sold out cones on 50 kopeks apiece. Some passengers saw them in the first. So I was fond of trade that it was necessary to jump off on the run from a train coach. Thanks to you the aunt Nadya, taught the teenager of enterprise.
I will tell about how we in a taiga saw a fireball. This very unusual occurrence.
The town is called Gareth. The grandmother, the father and I gather cowberry. The small – sized autumn rain, mood unimportant drizzles. But where to disappear berries much — should be gathered. On my sentence to contract collection of berries and to go home, nobody reacted. To return empty-handed — such option not for my ancestors.
Suddenly over our heads the terrible rumble was distributed, such as the reactive airplane roars. Meters in ten over us saw it is red — a blue full-sphere with a diameter of forty centimeters. With fear it is watched a rare pattern. Having flown by meters fifty, the full – sphere goes to the earth. Fortunately he didn’t explode, and went with hissing to a wet moss. From it I tumbled down thick steam. The grandmother is christened:
— It is sacred, sacred, sacred!
The father told:
— All right went home.
— Let’s pick berry, the second full-sphere for certain won’t arrive.
Nobody reacted to my irony.
We from the North moved to Krasnoyarsk. Parents worked out northern experience — it’s time to go. Why to Krasnoyarsk? Here mother has many relatives and she likes to communicate with them. Somehow counted, at it 87 cousins and sisters.
I go to Nizhneudinsk four times a year now. For every vacation. Distance rather small 554 kilometers.
Chapter 3. Youth
Time promptly flies though in young years you doesn’t think of it — all life ahead. In Krasnoyarsk we are two year.
In 7 — 8 class I walk on the box in sporting society “Dynamo”. To the trainer our Vilory Vasilyevich Voloshnikov, I will be as they say obliged on a life coffin. He is a remarkable teacher. Honorary Master of Sports of the USSR. In the most severe frosts walks in a raincoat and a beret.
— Boys it is necessary to become tempered, but without fanaticism. To follow an example of me I don’t advise.
Laughs. Unfortunately, on the second year of occupations I was traumatized and occupations had to be stopped. But the foundation of fight was laid and it was useful further in life as many problems had to be solved with the help of fists.
After the eighth class I came to Polytechnic. There was a wish to receive rather specialty and to independently earn money. I will graduate from the institute in absentia, after service in the Soviet Army. Over an input in technical school the poster hangs:
Over us sky blue,
Today easier the breast breathes,
Having graduated from technical school with you,
On labor we quit a way.
Four years to study. It is some nightmare! So long!
Requirements are very rigid. For the first course it is necessary to pass the program 9 — 10 classes (that is, what is learned at school two years — here for one.) Plus is a lot of technical drawing, technology of metals, theoretical mechanics. In the winter mechanic — mechanical practice, we are learned to work on the turner — milling machines. Those who don’t cope with the program — are deducted ruthlessly. After winter session deducted seven people, after summer five more. After study one rest-hour and for textbooks. On drawing there are a lot of jobs, I plot every day. Friends, those that remained at school ring:
— Go out for a walk Vitya.
— Excuse children, once, it is necessary to tighten chemistry…
We look at undergraduates and we envy. They behave freely. Occupations pass, walk with little girls, they have campaigns, parties. In the summer they go to construction crews, on practice. Come with money. They have a cheerful student’s life. And here you thinks, not to take off as if…
Generally in the winter I afford only skis. In section I didn’t begin to register, far to go in trainings. We live on the suburb. Nearby Nikolaev hill. If not strongly frosty I run on 50 kilometers. To the Guard small river and back. I like to take a cold shower and I am engaged in dumbbells. There is a wish to create an athletic figure.
In our technical school big assembly hall. And efforts of the deputy for educational operation, popular actors often give concerts. On Valery Obodzinsky walked two times. You remember: “Again the last electric train ran away from me…”
In 1971 Wolf Messing — the illusionist appeared. He showed numbers with hypnosis, guessed words, defined that at whom in pockets. I made the very strong impression. To me his eyes — very indicative were remembered. When it passed by me, I with huge curiosity stared at it. It seemed to me that he smiled. In corners of his lips the delicate irony stiffened. Much later I read the book of its memories. Then the serial film was delivered.
So first course behind. I ask for construction crew, don’t take — 15 years. It isn’t necessary. I go to the relative to Nord — Yenisei region in the geologist — prospecting expedition. I work in topographical group at the El Dorado field. I mastered instruments — a level, a theodolite. Here the first time drank wines — feels sick, the head began to spin. How many then didn’t offer, I always refused:
— Well you to hell!
Generally here from a salary a total booze. Men are miners that is called drink on — black. Sweep away vodka, then wine, champagne, triple cologne from counters of small shop. When alcohol is finished off, switch to strong tea. Hard drinking lasts about a week. Then work without days off, the plan that should be executed. Such here contingent. Adventurers, the former convicts work generally. At which isn’t present neither house nor home. When the field season comes to an end, they get a job to stokeholes, to while away winter till the next field season.
We secretly wash gold. It is strictly forbidden. The article of the Criminal Code very heavy for this crime is provided. Local boys say that they wash everything here and slowly hand over. It is the decent income. We of course wash gold without fanaticism, it is rather out of curiosity. To visit the field and not to see “live” gold I read inexcusably. Passion envelops at the last stage when in a tray there are yellow gold grains. Carefully you takes out them and process of wash repeats. Really the magic of gold over the person is very strong — I experienced it on myself.
I will tell about how I encountered the master of a taiga — a bear. Business was so. Sent me to the settlement of Perevalny to the aid to the surveyor. On arrival I quickly found it.
— How old are you?
— No, I under the earth won’t take you. To 18 — ти it is forbidden. And that happen, God forbid… They what was okhrenet there, found whom to send?