Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Grandfather's Girlfriend

My grandfather immigrated to New York from Russia when he was in his seventies, and immediately started making up for lost time. Having been a proud member of the Communist Party during his prime, he decided to give religion a try. "I really like it," he told me. "Except for the whole God business. Who believes those fables, anyway?" We suspected that what he really liked was the senior citizen's luncheon at the synogogue.

At the time, my grandfather was working as a Home aide (or "homo aide" as he pronounced it) to a man who was about 4 months older than he was. He wanted to work, he said, because he did not want to be a burden on anyone and would not accept any charity. Apparently not wanting to be a burden to anyone did not include his charge who my grandfather regaled with tales of his accomplishments in the Soviet Union until the poor man begged for the batteries from his hearing aid to be removed.

One day, my grandfather introduced us to his girlfriend. My problems with her were threefold: 1. She seemed to be the same age as I was. 2. She looked exactly like Raisa Gorbachev. 3. She greeted me with the news that she had psychic powers. Normally any one of these would send to me a warm bath with a hairdryer, but I think that the combination of all three stunned me into a will to live.
"I was married before," she told me. "And we had a puppy, his name was Dick."

She told the story in Russian and "Dick" isn't a Russian word, so I never figured out why they named their dog Dick, except that maybe she was indeed psychic and was thinking years ahead to my blog fodder. "So one day, Boris goes for a walk with Dick and he lets him off the leash, and Dick is white and it is snowing and Dick disappears. So, he comes home without Dick. And I say where is Dick? and he says Dick is gone. And I say, Go and find Dick. Do not come home without Dick."

I swear, this woman who did not speak three words of English used "Dick" in every fucking sentence for a few paragraphs. And because I have the mentality of a ten year old boy, I kept encouraging her, with questions like, "So, wait, who was missing?" and "I'm confused, he came home without what?"

It was a beautiful introduction to a woman who at the time, as one day we would learn, was already his wife.

Also, I have a post up on NYC Moms Blog this morning. I just don't want you to feel like I'm doing things behind your back.



Blogger Joanie said...

That's a great story, Marinka! Your grandfather sounds like a hoot!

March 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

This explains a lot about you.

I love crazy family stories.

March 7, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

Wow. I remember a little of when my grandfather dated, but mostly I've tried to block the WHOLE thing.

The Dick the Dog part is hilarious.

March 7, 2009 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger IB said...

"Do not come home without Dick",

Hilarious. I'm changing my dog's name effective immediately.It'll crack me up to hear my wife calling him by name

C'mere Dick, here Dick, good Dick...


March 7, 2009 at 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Andrea's Sweet Life said...

I tell my husband all the time not to come home without Dick. I bet it's funnier in Russian, though!

March 7, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, she in fact, knows Dick. We have clarified, no?

March 7, 2009 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

i know this is a wholesome, family blog, but i can't help thinking of this woman stroking the beast, cooing, "good dick. that's a gooood dick." or slapping it when it was bad, scolding, "bad dick! baaad dick!"

March 7, 2009 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger mo.stoneskin said...

Surely the answer to your questions was "Dick"?

March 7, 2009 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger *Akilah Sakai* said...


I'm sorry ... short attention span ... but what was that dog's name again?

March 7, 2009 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger OHmommy said...

classic. seriously.

i read this post and the rancid pork post to my parents and sister. we have not laughed this hard in a while. the pork roast story read outloud is seriously so awesome. i read your father's words with my father's accent.

March 7, 2009 at 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Coco said...

Sounds like you are going to get a lot of blog fodder out of gramps. What a character.


March 7, 2009 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

I love a warm saturday in nyc, spruced up with Dick jokes.

March 7, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

There's no word for "dick" in Russian? How do they refer to it, then?

March 7, 2009 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger ♥ Braja said...

You're drunk, aren't you?

March 7, 2009 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger The Mind of a Mom said...

That is absolutely hysterical! I would have been like you and keep up the questioning to get her to say it so I could giggle!

March 7, 2009 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

Yes, this is first and foremost a family blog. Lest we lose sight of that.

And just to clarify, there are many words in Russian for "dick", but she was using the name Dick.

March 7, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Comedy Goddess said...

Grandpadrinka is my new favorite in your family.

It's so hard to choose though.

Dick the dog! Yipe!

March 7, 2009 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger bernthis said...

My ex's dick went missing too. How weird is that? Oh, I'm sorry it was his balls. My bad

March 7, 2009 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Belle said...

What? So he was really married to Raisa, but you'all (I'm so getting into the American Way)didn't know?
Naughty Grandparinka!
Don't tell me it was a quickie in Las Vagas!
God Marinka - you are always leaving me in suspense.

March 8, 2009 at 5:33 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Did you ask her if she gave Dick a bone when they found him?

March 8, 2009 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Wait! So he was already married to her! Was Dick full of white stuff when he disappeared?

March 8, 2009 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger lizspin said...

Why not Rick. . . or Richie. . .or Ricardo????

March 8, 2009 at 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Christy said...

My father's name is Dick. My first boyfriend's name is Rod and my first husband's name is Peter. True story. I think your grandpa's girlfriend and I would get along famously.

March 8, 2009 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Joanie said...

LMAO!!!! Jessica (bernthis) that is too too funny! My ex has no balls either.
And Christy? I detect a pattern here! LOL!!

March 8, 2009 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

So, if husband-prior-to-grandpa lost them both in the snow, he'd be shouting "Raisa, Dick!!!!"??

That's awesome.

March 8, 2009 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

Okay, no. That would be awesome, but now that I read more carefully, I see that that scenario would require the Gorbachevs to get a dog named Dick. My bad.

March 8, 2009 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Kylie w Warszawie said...

Oh yes! I love those stories! I have those kinds of conversations with people in my broken Polish and try to figure out why they give the names that are not Polish to animals or businesses or whatever and then use them incorrectly. Like the liquor store near my kids' school that's called 24h Alkohole. And it's got hours posted on the door:).

Cracks me up every time.

March 9, 2009 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger LuckyMe said...

Peajaye, stop that!!

Good one, Deb!

"send to me a warm bath with a hairdryer" I am so stealing that!

Maybe the dog was named after a certain VP with bad aim. Badump BOOM!

March 9, 2009 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger SSQuo said...

Already his wife? Normally its the other way around where parents end up knowing of marriages and secret lovers after many years! Your grandpa is a hoot!

March 12, 2009 at 4:08 PM  

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