Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Red Fleet Comes for Drinks

Soviet Admiral Chernavin, Head of the Red Fleet, proposes toast in our living room.
To his right is Mrs. Chernavin, to his left is Vice Admiral Navoytsev. Back to camera in uniform at right is American Navy Vice Admiral Walters.
The Soviet Navy Comes to the House for Drinks.  I mentioned the U.S. Soviet Naval “Incidents at Sea” agreement in an earlier post.
            The annual meeting between senior officers of the U.S. and Soviet navies took place in Moscow in 1983.  We had a very nice dinner at the Soviet Navy’s reception hall, hosted by the Chief of their Navy, Admiral Vladimir Nikolayevich Chernavin. 
            Our return entertainment would normally have been held by the Ambassador at his quarters, but we were showing our displeasure with the Soviets then about their invasion of Afghanistan, and so we had the party at our apartment. 
            Now, normally, when the senior Soviet naval officers attended a party, they came without their wives. 
            As I was telling Marty, my wife, about this upcoming event, so she and our maid, Lyudmila, could prepare for it, I said, “Don’t worry, they never bring their wives.” 
            And of course, women don’t have to worry so much about entertaining men, because men don’t care all that much about the flowers, or other decoration, and that sort of thing.  However, my wife cares about all that, and she and Lyudmila put on quite a nice spread, with a big roast turkey, and lots of fancy hors d’oeuvres. 
            In Moscow, the walls always have ears, and the Soviet Navy must have taken my statement to my wife as a challenge, because on the night of the reception at our apartment, all the senior Soviet Navy officers, from the Chief of their Navy on down, brought their wives. 
            You could tell that a lot of these admirals’ wives don’t get around the party circuit in Moscow much, because they spent a lot of time admiring everything in our apartment…. They’d back up to a curtain and, with their hand behind them, give the fabric a good “feel.”  They’d quietly flip a plate over and look at the maker’s mark on the bottom, if they could do it without being noticed. 
            Now, during this time when we were displeased about Afghanistan the Russians would attend our parties, but leave 20 or so minutes later. 
            At this party, though, Admiral Chernavin, who is a very urbane, educated, literate and gentlemanly submarine officer, made a toast to our Ambassador, who was there, and to our Navy.  Chernavin is a tall, trim guy—not at all like the short, stubby little Admiral of the Fleet Sergei Gorshkov, who headed the navy for over 20 years.
            The whole group stayed for an hour, and they drank, and ate, and seemed to have a grand time, as did the visiting admirals from our Navy. 
            At some point, we noticed that we were running out of vodka, because everyone was drinking it so earnestly.  I sent out to borrow vodka from apartments of other diplomats in the building, including our general.  
            I managed to get a few more bottles, and if those Soviets would not have left when they did, we would have had a real problem:  out of vodka.  And to run out of vodka in the embassy in Moscow is a pretty sorry situation. 

Now, here are some books and papers:

How Plants Grow, a Simple Introduction to Structural Botany with a Popular Flora, illus. by 500 wood engravings; Botany for Young People and Common Schools By Gray, Asa, M.D.1878. New York, NY: Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Co. 233 pp. 14.5 x 19.2 cm. Botany for Young People: How Plants Grow, How they are propagated or multiplied in numbers; why plants grown, what they are made for, what they do; How plants are classified, named and studied. This copy belonged to Ella F. Tarr of Rockport, Massachusetts, and she illustrates front free endpapers with calligraphy of her name, dated April 1877; in back of book is inserted a "Forget Me Not" embroidery pattern and a sheet of paper on which Ella sketched plant details. There's also a leaf, probably 130+ years old, inserted by the description of Wood-Sorrel Family. Decorated paper on board shows children planting a garden; leather spine with gilt title. Cover worn, text block good.  Note personal mementos of Ella F. Tarr, 1877. Overall Fair.  (4707) $25.00. Educational/Botany     

Map of Boston, 1920

Fingerpoint Map of Boston: The clearest map ever made of the city. Folded paper map of Boston, MA with Index to streets of Boston and Brookline.   1920    Boston, MA:  Sampson & Murdock Co. Publishers.  Map 72 x 90 cm. Foldout map in folder, very sharp detail.   Paper fold-out map has holes in folds, 1 cm chip on paper folder cover; fair. (8132) $17.00. Maps  

Christian Register, The; Boston and Chicago, Saturday, October 4, 1873 Boston, MA: The Christian Register. Very spirited, colorful commentary in this paper. Lead article: "The Roman Catholic Conception and the Infallibility" by Bishop Ferrette.  In prominent article on first page of this issue, controversial Greek Bishop Ferrette tells how two Roman Catholic doctrines came to be, as a triumph of one wing of the hierarchy over another. He writes about Gregory VII (Hildebrand) and his "miserable tool", Peter Damian.  Article is very critical and harsh about Roman Catholic faith and doctrine.  "A New Route for the Slave Trade" describes the illusory progress of the Egyptians. Talk of getting slave trade abolished in Egypt and Turkey.  Anti-Catholic. 4 pp. 56 x 70 cm. Newspaper, some pinholes and small tears  in folds,  good. (7373) $20.00. Religious/History
 This Week Magazine Cover, 3-14-43

This Week Magazine Section, The Boston Herald, March 14, 1943 Boston, MA: United Newspapers Magazine Corporation. 20pp.       27 x 35 cm.      Cover art shows young woman nurse's aide. Your Train is Late? Don't gripe about wartime delays, writes Louis Adamic. Rationing? Let's Ask England. Does the expanding U.S. rationing program scare you?  Look at England. Actress by Accident- -Geraldine Fitzgerald. Sunday magazine supplement, good. (5587)    $14.75. World War II/History/Advertising                                                                                                                   

Indians:  Lives of Celebrated American Indians by the Author of Peter Parley's Tales by Goodrich, Samuel G. [Peter Parley] 1843 Boston, MA: Bradbury, Soden & Co. Goodrich proposed three books on the Aborigines of North America-- this one aims to make the reader familiar with the real character and genius of that remarkable and peculiar race of men.  The conquerors and spoilers of America had strong motives for first hating, and then defaming, the Aborigines.  Cortez slaughtered millions and thus sought to justify his conduct by representing the Indians in the most degrading and revolting colors.  Pizarro also covered up his atrocities by representing the people he butchered as ungodly heathen. Among the  celebrated Indians in this volume are Manco Capac, Mayta Capac, Huayna Capac, Atahualpa, Caupolican, Ycholay, Tupac Amaru, Quetzlcoatl, Xolotl, Montezuma I and II, Cofachiqui, Vitachuco, Pocahontas, Philip, Pontiac, Logan, Brant, Tecumseh, Shongmunecuthe, and Black Hawk.  Illustrated.  Frontispiece is drawing of Logan of the Mingo or Cayga tribe. 315 pp. 11 x 17 cm. Marbled paper on board with quarter calf, front cover detached. Signature of “James A. Pirye, Adjutant" stamped on front free endpaper. Some pencil marks on text.  Poor. (2419) $56.00. History

Ruth's Post Cards, 1928

Ruth's Post Card Travelogue, 1928 by Bradford, Ruth  Boston, MA: Ruth Bradford, 18 Cedarlane Way. Ruth is on the "grand tour" of Europe, and sends home this detailed, colorful report of her adventures, carefully described on the backs of 22 post cards. She watches the fireworks for Bastille Day at Biarritz and warns her friend Lucia to stay clear of Nice. She tells about the violent hailstorm as her group drives through the Pyrenees. Luncheon in Quimper, visit to the potteries.  22 cards 9 x 14 cm. Twenty-two photographic post cards with a detailed travel journal written on backs. Very good. (6337) $65.00. American Originals/Travel

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1 comment:

  1. That's great. I remember, maybe when you were in Iran, someone visiting in your place just for the evening couldn't resist taking a bath. Is that right?