Biographical Non-Fiction posted September 28, 2017

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What lies beneth

Your future father will be waiting

by apelle

Fate Contest Winner 

Who am I and what's my story? I could meet the question from so many directions in so many ways. The road we choose in life takes us to who we are and there always is a story to go along with it.

Our lives are so unique to each of us and so common when related to the daily cosmic synergy our existence as humans spins on.

Both sets of my grandparents came from faraway lands. Nobody in my family could foresee how life will pour and arrange the details of a destiny and nobody believed it will arrange people and places the way it did until I was born.

Europe at the beginning of the 20th century through the Second War and beyond offered background as unique as the people living in it. Borders were alive and changed from one day to the next.

My paternal grandfather was born in Lvov--part of southeastern Poland when he was born, then occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939 under the terms of the German-Soviet Pact. There's a lot of history, real world history that comes along with my story. I didn't care for it much when I was younger but as I grew older everything changed. How many people can use both: Hitler and Lenin in their story?

It turns out my grandmother shook Lenin's hand. You may not think of it too much, after all we live in a capitalist society not very opened to a Marxist reference. I didn't think too much of it myself when I first heard it as a child but as I grew politically mature it became one of the coolest details I know about my family. Lenin was traveling by train across Russia and his train stopped in Kiev where he was greeted by many people. My grandmother was amongst the admirers.

By 1943 my grandfather was a well-established intellectual--managing his considerable estate, which included horses, large houses and servants.

One night with only the clothes on their backs, he and his family left their lives of abundance, love, and happiness to run away from Stalin's idiotic behavior while trying hard not to fall in Hitler's ring of fire, on the other side of the conflict.

How full of surprises is life? How rich one can be with only a change of clothes--alive only because of the warm hearts and kindness of strangers?

Following the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin prevailed over Trotsky--taking control of the Communist party and imposing his reign of terror against Jews, intellectuals and the remaining landowners who survived the Bolshevik revolution.

Breaking the Nazi/Soviet alliance, German troops invaded Soviet territory in June 1941. During the summer and autumn of 1941, German troops advanced deep into the Soviet Union.

Kiev prepared for attack. 200,000 people helped the army with preparations. On July 11th, 1941, German troops appeared on the Irpen River Bridge.

In the background of war, Stalin eliminated enemies of the revolution--sending men to the front and children and women to work camps far away on the frozen tundra of Siberia. Many families perished. These were things my grandfather feared when leaving everything behind and changing forever the lives of everybody connected to him. He loaded his four kids and wife in the horse pulled buggies and as in a biblical reenactment never looked back. My father was six. He was holding tight the hand of the young woman set to travel with them. She was alone, just married and her husband picked up to fight as a soldier in the red army. She traveled with my father holding tight to her hand until they reached a town in Romania where the huge allied conducted bombardment over the oil refinery Germans were using to fuel their war machine separated them.

Romania witnessed many battles for defense and for liberation. They were some of the biggest battles of WW2, and touched my family in ways hard to comprehend.

I narrowed my attention and focus on this part of my family history because I believe it set the stage for my destiny and for who I am today. When the story was told to me it made me a strong believer in destiny. I never believed in fate until that day.

For all I know I am who I am today because of what was left behind in Kiev and what was experienced later on by my family. The woman holding my six years old father during the run, became my maternal grandmother 20 years later when fate brought the families back together.

When I was born, my future was sealed by all that happened during the war.

Writing Prompt
Write a story that includes this sentence somewhere in the story: I never believed in fate until that day.

Contest Winner

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