Irina Tarnavska : Games, dancing and singing in exile

 

With these children, your neighbours, did you and your sisters play? What games did you play when you had free time?

There was nowhere to play. Perhaps in the forest. In the summer, we were very tired, we didn’t feel like playing. And in winter when we went to school, yes, I used to ski. And later, when we got older, we played. We played tag. When we were 11 or 13, perhaps older, I don’t remember so well. In the evening, it didn’t get dark till midnight, there was almost no night, and so about 10 or 11 o’clock we would go and play a bit. I could still remember our Ukrainian games and we played them. Otherwise, there weren’t any other games. It was the time when there were girls and boys, we were young, you know, we felt things.

And were there dances, or parties?

When I finished 7th class, we went dancing. They’d built a clubhouse and someone would play the accordion. So they held dances, sometimes there were films.

Did you sing? For example, was there a choir?

Yes, there was a choir at school. I’ve even got a photo of it. I can’t remember what holiday it was, New Year or in May, and I remember that on the photo we were dressed in Russian costume, singing.

With these children, your neighbours, did you and your sisters play? What games did you play when you had free time?

There was nowhere to play. Perhaps in the forest. In the summer, we were very tired, we didn’t feel like playing. And in winter when we went to school, yes, I used to ski. And later, when we got older, we played. We played tag. When we were 11 or 13, perhaps older, I don’t remember so well. In the evening, it didn’t get dark till midnight, there was almost no night, and so about 10 or 11 o’clock we would go and play a bit. I could still remember our Ukrainian games and we played them. Otherwise, there weren’t any other games. It was the time when there were girls and boys, we were young, you know, we felt things.

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The school choir in exile
© Irina Tarnavska