Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Urine in the Elevators


Russians Queue for Kvas

 Urine in the Elevators

When we first arrived in Moscow our apartment in the embassy was not ready for occupancy, so we were put into an apartment across town, in a typical ghetto for foreigners. 
All foreigners were located in big apartment blocks at several spots around the ring road. 
                The block where we were assigned had a few Americans, but the vast majority of people there were Angolans.  These were not people from large cities in Angola, but, it would seem, from the bush. 
Many of them were attending Lumumba University One of the graduate-level courses there was how to blow up things.  Perhaps some of the more successful graduates are now teaching Al Qaeda trainees.  
The day we arrived in Moscow, we were loaded down with suitcases.  Our host warned us—don’t set them down in the elevator.  Carry them.  Then, as we stood in the elevator, we could catch the strong smell of urine, and looked down at our shoes.  Gosh. 
It seems as if the little Angolan kids regularly peed in the elevator. 
The month we lived in this apartment was interesting.  This was September, the weather was not too cool, and the Angolans would have parties where they would roast a whole goat and celebrate all night. 
                Living halfway around Moscow on the Ring Road meant we had to learn to get around on the Moscow Metro pretty quickly.  It’s an excellent underground system, except this was summertime, and Russians don’t take a lot of baths, and the air in the subway trains was pretty smelly.

Soviet Navy Admiral and Personal Navigator
discussing weighty issue at Reception

Our Routine.  Our routine in Moscow was divided between trips around the Soviet Unionand just working there at the embassy.  When we were in Moscow we had one to three receptions to go to every night except weekends. We also entertained a lot; we hosted a dinner party for 8 or 10 about once a week.

Poster for "Reds" with Warren Beatty as John Reed

The night the Ambassador showed “Reds”.  One night Ambassador Robert Hartman showed the new film “Reds” starring Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton (1981) and my wife and I were asked to help as hosts.  This was the story of John Reed, the American Communist who came to Russia to experience the Bolshevik Revolution.  He wrote the book, Ten Days that Shook the World The Soviets admired Reed so much that when he died in 1920 he was buried in the Kremlin Wall mausoleum.
                Hartman invited some of the top people in General Secretary Brezhnev’s Politburo to see the film.  It was fascinating to chat with men who had lived and breathed all about “Reds” their whole lives— real Communists, and observe how they reacted to this American film version of the story of John Reed.
One interesting thing was how well informed these people were.  Although the average Russian couldn’t buy Time Magazine and other American periodicals, these people remarked about reading it regularly.  As we visited with top Red wives, we began to get the picture of the privileged life they led.
For me one of the most interesting things about life in Moscow was that it was like the other side of the mirror, behind the Iron Curtain.  As we traveled all over the USSR, when I was able to have a quiet chat with average Russians, out of sight of the often-present KGB, they often asked me: “What does Reagan want?  Does he want war?” 
I would answer, “No. President Reagan and the Americans want peace, just like you do.”

Now, about some books and papers….

 All about Zeppelins-- Cigarette-picture Album, in German

Zeppelin-Weltfahrten Vom ersten Luftschiff 1899 bis zu den Fahrten des L Z 127 "Graf Zeppelin" 1932. Cigarette-picture album with 264 silver-bromide photos and one metallic Weltflug-Gedenkmünze seal. [In German]  1933Dresden, Germany: Bilderstelle-Lohse. Marvelous book tells the story of German Zeppelins, including their history, construction and operation. Small (6 x 4 cm.) photos from cigarette packages are pasted on heavy album-style pages to help tell the story. Includes maps of Zeppelin trips all over the world.  Some photos show happy passengers using restaurant, wash room and staterooms aboard  zeppelin, also aerial photos of cities and locations around the world, including U.S. Capitol, London Bridge, Kremlin. [Interesting that only seven years later, German bombers were dropping bombs on some of these sites!]  Frontispiece photo of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin with tissue guard. Vorwort: Zeppelin-Weltfahrten-Bilder  liegen  nur den Packungen der Zigaretten-Marken:Club und Liga Photos and information on 25 Luftschiffen. . 54 sheets; 34 x 24 cm. Paperback book with photo of Graf Zeppelin airship on cover, minor edgewear to cover, text and photos clean and complete. Album pages printed on heavy card stock. Very good.  (7971) $224.00. Travel/History

Phebe Hanaford

Daughters of America; or,  Women of the Century, Illustrated  by Hanaford, Phebe A. ca. 1883 Augusta, ME: True and Company. Marvelous copy of a grand celebration of and for women; Dedicated to the women of future centuries of the USA. Author Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford (b. 1829— d. 1921) was a lifelong pioneer of feminism, abolition and women's suffrage.  Frontispiece steel engraving of Phebe Hanaford. Stories and illustrations of famous women include Hannah Duston, Martha Washington, Lucretia Mott, Phoebe Cary, Alice Cary, Ida Lewis, Miss Frances E. Willard, Mrs. Sarah K. Bolton, Mrs. R.B. Hayes, Mrs. Dr. McCabe, Mrs. Mary T. Burt, Elizabeth Comstock, Mother Taylor, Emily Huntington Miller, Mrs. Mary C. Johnson. Chapters devoted to  women leaders in many fields; women during the Civil War, wives of Presidents, literary women, women poets, women scientists, women reformers, women preachers (including Mrs. Hanaford), women missionaries, more. 730 pp. 14 x 22 cm. Elegant copy  with fresh decorated cover in muted gold, with image of Martha Washington, slight edge wear on heel and toe of spine. Gilt-edged pages, quite bright and clean. Very faint foxing on frontispiece. Handwritten inscription from "Aunt Fannie" to Elva on front free endpaper, dated 1893. Very good. (1674)  $66.00. Women's/Biography

Stalin, FDR and Churchill at Tehran

Signal, Jahrgang 5, Heft 6, 1944, erscheint zweimal monatlich [in German]       1944 Reetz, Wilhelm, Hauptschriftleiter; Berlin:                 Deutscher Verlag, Berlin SW 68, Kochsraße 22-26         40 pp. 27 x 36 cm. Nazi Photo Magazine published 1940-45, propaganda organ widely distributed during World War II. Cover shows black and white photo of Red Cross nurses walking up accommodation ladder of ship, "Im Dienst des Roten Kreuzes" illustrating article: "Schildträger der Ritterlichkeit. Das Internationale Komitee vom Roten Kreuz". "Der korrekte Terror. Die 'kriegswichtigen' Ziele der anglo-amerikanischen Bomber"; "Unter dem Sowjetwappen. Bilder aus Teheran" with photos of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, reporting their meeting in Tehran, Iran at the Soviet Embassy. "Romantik der Bosnischen Wälder?" Photo of Zwei Könige Peter II ofYugoslavia and George II of Greece; photo of Croatian soldiers killed by Boshevists; Photo of men of Waffen-SS Division, "Befreier von der Schreckenherrschaft."  "Panzer -- zwischen zwei Schlachten--nach Einem Tiefen Stoss in die Sowjetischen Linien." Very good black and white and color photos.        Periodical, very good.         (7995) $35.00. World War II/History

Laws of Business for All the States of the Union with forms and directions for all transactions, Revised Edition by Parsons, Theophilus, LL.D 1875, Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton & Company. Harvard Law Professor prepared this book for everyman. Mortgages of land, goods, chattels; rights of women (very few); Bankruptcy; Notes of Hand and Bills of Exchange; Infants or minors; Apprentices. Married Women: …" a married woman is wholly incapable of entering into mercantile contracts on her own account. By the fact of marriage, her husband becomes possessed of all her real estate during her life, and if a living child be born of the marriage, he has her real estate during his own life, if he survive her."  Includes laws of each state with regard to Married Women.   697 pp. 14 x 23 cm. Maroon cloth on board with calf spine, edges frayed, leather quite scuffed; inside hinges cracked; owner name dated 1875 on ffep. Good. (4818) $30.00. Reference

Lydia E. Pinkham's Private Text-Book, Revised Edition ca. 1930 Lynn, MA: The Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Co. In front of book: Caution to the owner:  This little book treats of  delicate subjects and has been sent to you only by request. It is not intended for indiscriminate reading but for you own private information. Book teaches women about menstruation and women's illnesses, and care, including Lydia E. Pinkham's medicines. Also includes very explicit testimonials, two blank postcards addressed to LEP Co., and an offer for a hot plate rest. 63 pp. 11.5 x 15.5 cm. Paper booklet with tape spine, very good. Included are testimonials for Sanative Wash, two blank postcards, and a typed letter offer. (5555)  $30.00. Women's/Medical/Advertising

Radford's Portfolio of Details of Building Construction;  185 full-page detail drawings by Radford, William A,; Johnson, Bernard L., B.S.; Rawson, Charles P. 1911 Chicago, IL: The Radford Architectural Company. "Remarkable and Unique Collection" of plates showing details of modern building construction and finish for brick, frame, brick-vener, stucco and concrete houses and barns.  Details for interior trim including built-in features, kitchen cabinets, cases and cupboards and more. Designs for porches, balconies, stairways, fire places and more. Includes design for a Tuberculosis Camp Tent, Septic Tanks, how to remodel a store into a small theatre, stave silo, cooling box for cream, cold storage, more. 200 pp. 23 x 31 cm. Decorated light tan cloth on board, bottom nine cm of spine torn, edges frayed,  inner hinges cracked, detail pencil design drawings in two places. Inscription on front free endpaper: "Wallace A. Jones, 115 Chapman St., Greenfield, Mass." Fair. (7905)  $78.00. Scientific/Architectural

PHOTO:Camp Meeting, ca. 1890

Camp Meeting ca.1890        21 x 16 cm. Photo shows group of adults standing and seated, with meal table behind.  There are four very neat tents, and a smaller cook tent. Also shown is a girl and two bicycles. Photo is faded, with  1 x 6 cm. Tear in right edge. Poor.  (2196) $15.00. Photo/Ephemera  

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