cccp2All I knew about the Soviet UnionĀ when I was a child: Grainy black and white TV news pictures showed Nikita Krushchev deplaning onto a tarmac somewhere with his boxy overcoat buttoned across girth as wide as a refrigerator. He looked kind of grumpy. At my school, St. Francis of Assisi, we had bomb drills because the Communists might press a button and a bomb would blow up. Mrs. McGibney told us that; she was my first grade teacher. To stop the bomb from getting us, we clutched our holy cards, crouched beneath our desks and said a lot of Hail Marys. In history class we learned about the Iron Curtain, but I never really did figure out how did it work? Who made it? How did they get it to hang there? I thought it was a giant shower curtain hanging on a giant curtain rod. Some people were on one side of the curtain and couldn’t go to the other side. Those people ate potatoes and wore grey clothes.

Now I know a lot more.