A simple story

“With what kind of emotions may have left the inhabitants these houses, if they left there even their family photos and memories? Or did they plan to leave only for a while” – our readers asked in the post on the slowly perishing Russian villages, where the abandoned houses are full with the pictures of their former dwellers. This is answered by the following essay published by kopanga, another activist of the Archnadzor heritage protection association, with the title “A simple story” and with the accompanying photos.

“This is a very simple story. Its heroes lived in a little house with joyfully carved window frames. Or, to be more accurate, not all lived here: some of them were relatives, friends or neighbors. The little house stood in a small village on the edge of the field, embraced by the forest. On the one side the forest ran down to a ravine in which a small river ran fastly, and in the other direction it stretched so far that it was easy to get lost in it. The forest was full of mushroom and strawberries, and our heroes often went to collect them, and in the meadow they mowed fragrant hay, which they then stored in the hayloft. In every winter there fell so much snow that it completely closed off the village, and then the dwellers went to visit their neighbors and together wrote letters to various authorities, saying that this is scandalous that the snowplough has not come again. Then the snowplough has come, and after some time the post was launched again, and it took the letters to the various authorities and instead it brought other letters from the relatives. Some of the relatives lived very far and never came here to visit, because the ticket would have been terribly expensive from where they lived. But they regularly wrote, and they also slipped their photos between the leaves of the letter, so that the dwellers of the little house with the joyfully carved window frames would not forget how they look like. In the meantime, the dwellers of the house got older and older, and eventually were retired. Their children finished the school and went to the big cities, from where they sent letters and photos, and in the summer they came home to mow the fragrant hay. The neighbors also got older and they left, nailing off the door and windows of their houses, or simply tying the door handle with a string, as if they just went to the forest for mushroom or strawberries, and would soon come home. Finally the dwellers of the little house grew quite old, and they had no neighbor any more. Then the children came for them to bring them along into the big city, so they would never come back to the little house with the joyfully carved window frames. And the photos were forgotten here.”

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