Interviwew with 'Z' (Moscow)

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Key information

Title: Interview with Z. (Moscow)
Date: 31/03/2012
Interviewer: Miriam Dobson (MD)
Interviewee: Interviewee, Z. (Z)
Transcriber:
Duration: hour(s) 71 minutes and 27 seconds
Location: Balashikha, Moscow area

Conversation

Z I was born in 1925. My birthday is on 7 August, Drezna station, Orekhovo-Zuevo, Drezna station, that’s where we lived until I was five, we lived there until mother got married. Shall I talk about it in detail?
AS Yes, it is interesting.
Z He began drinking there, took us away to Voronezh, began drinking and going out on the town. Mum had cuts of dresses, robes, coats, everything my father had made for her. She had a trunk and she left with it, but he broke the hinge on one side, left the lock hanging off and she tried to close it. He broke the hinge on the other side, bit by bit opened it and would grab some dress and travel to a neighbouring village to sell it for drink and be drunk for weeks on end. Eventually mother opened her trunk to let in some air, she hadn’t done that for a while, and when she looked she saw that half of what she had owned was no longer there. She approached him and he started hitting her. You couldn’t say anything to him, if you did, he would start about you with his fists. He’d force her on to the stove, we had a stove when we were in the village, I’d join her there and we’d sit there afraid and shaking. He’d come looking for a fight. You couldn’t say anything to him. In the end he drank everything away. Mum had problems with her eyesight. It was time for me to go to school. I was 7 years old and I was going to school just before the frosts and snow set in, and I had nothing to wear on my feet and so I stopped going. I had nothing to wear. And mum had problems with her eyesight and he would say ‘What does she need to go to school for? Let her go and collect something from the field. In summer time she can go to the forest for mushrooms, what does she need to go to school for?’ Basically, he didn’t want me to go to school, mum saw that this was bad and divorced him. She left him there and brought me here.