And usually, I followed the boys: when they climbed on the tree - I followed them. And so… That's, that's how it was. And the girls lived farther from us, you know, and these, they were living in the neighborhood. Oh. Some men made a shelter, and they had a bottle of horilka there. And our hooligans... They tell me: Let's go and look! And this bottle of horilka, you know, I don't know, it was probably a quarter-liter bottle, something like this. But we didn't drink it, it was just kept there. That was a funny story! Ah! Another funny story: this Mykola, he once said, he caught a big butterfly, a dark brown one. And he says: “It will bite you! And if you don't let me cut your hair, it will bite you!” And he had a knife, you know, the one that folds? And I was running away from him at first, and he followed me. He was a year older, but he was a strong wolf! And then I stopped, I was thinking - why should I run away. And he grabbed my hair and cut it! But I don't remember how it looked! Well, that was so funny.
Then my mother told me about Ukraine. Oh, and also... My aunt in Tysmenytsia, she is my mother's brother... And so, she sent us apples, you know, it was in September, and she had big apples, and then they got delivered to us, you know. Because the land there was mostly sand! Sandy! And when a car, oh, a cart was going along the street, the wheels were in our house. Oh, the apples, I already know...! And you know, and my mother was hiding them - she thought, I probably would have eaten all of them at once! And so... And I came and still could find them - I could smell where the apples were, I could find them, I'm telling you! And I even thought to myself that somewhere there is Ukraine, and apple trees grow there with big apples on them! And you know that as we were already returning from there, we were crossing the Dnipro, and then I saw the gardens, the trees, they were all low, all as one! And there were red apples! I couldn't take my eyes off! And, you know, the apple is my favorite food!
So I walked, I walked... There was a large loaf of bread, you know, it cost more than 3 rubles. It was a big loaf, you know, it was good bread! I did not know the other bread. And, you know, there was a funny story, I don't know if you're interested... You know, my mother usually gave me five, five rubles for bread. And I took all the change to buy nuts-and-honey bars. And one day I came, and there was no bread! And I knew that I always bought nuts-and-honey bars for the change. And the seller asked me: “Are 5 rubles just for nuts-and-honey bars then?” And I answered, “Mmhm” And you know, I was going home, carrying a big nuts-and-honey bar. I was going and thinking: “What will my mother tell me? I will be beaten!” And she never beat me in my life! And so I open the door, and there is a bench, and there, near the stove, there, there is a bucket. I put it [the bar] in the bucket and run into the woods, into the taiga! And my mother saw me and started running after me! God, she barely caught me! She says: “I will not beat you!” You don't need that, but I'm sorry, you know, it just came to my mind. That's how we lived...
Mariya Shovheniuk (née Nahirna) was born on June 30, 1945, in the village of Pochapy, Zolochiv district, Lviv region. Ukrainian parents, originally from the territory of Poland, were forced to move to Soviet Western Ukraine in 1945. In 1950, the Nahirni family and their 10-month-old daughter, along with fellow villagers, were deported by Soviet authorities. Initially, the family spent four months in the Lviv transfer prison No. 25 on Poltviana Street. Two young children died of infectious diseases while being in a transit prison in the prison cell. Later, they [the family] were taken by train to the Tomsk region, Asinovskyi district, to the Baturyno village. The village was founded by Ukrainians who were deported during the great terror of the USSR. That‘s why it got its name. In addition to Ukrainians, there were Moldovans and Lithuanians among the deportees. Her dad worked as a lumberjack, and her mom first took care of her little daughter, and then worked as a stove setter. Mariya studied in elementary school, she finished 4 grades. In her free time, she played with local children, played with them, went to pick mushrooms, berries, and cones in the woods. Her younger brother was born in exile. Mariya‘s parents had their own garden and household. However, Mariya‘s greatest childhood memory was the large fragrant red apples sent by relatives from Ukraine. She saw these fruits for the first time in her life, so in her imagination, Ukraine was engraved as a land where beautiful and delicious apples grow. In 1955, the family returned from exile. They returned at the end of the summer, and Mariya saw orchards through the train window. The trees were heavy with large bright apples. That is when she realized that it was Ukraine and that they were finally returning home.