Saturday, February 13, 2016
Upon Whom the Ends
of the Ages Have Come…
A fantasy for an Apocalypse
© Ludis Cuckold (2015)
26 Unrequited Children
A long time ago, I read in a magazine that mothers of young ducklings have problems raising their young, because during the duck hunting season so many moms get shot that few are left with any parenting experience.
My mother (b. 1908) was a handsome young woman, half Russian, half Latvijan, who came from Russia to Latvija in 1922 at the age of fourteen.
Having survived the horrors of the Soviet Revolution, which involved, for a couple of years, separation from her mother, and having survived extreme cold and sheltering in a disintegrating shack at the foot of a mountain at the top of which the Reds nightly shot any number of Whites, she did not return to Latvia to be healed of the psychic wounds of war, but to the disciplinary terrors brought to the family by her father, the Latvian ambassador to the Soviet Union.
With the Revolution having brought her Russian mother’s status among nobility to naught, and her father’s status as a nerd of a bureaucracy on the rise, the family was at the mercy of a hardnosed career man. As part of his home-made program of social ladder climbing, his children were forbidden to associate with the children of people he deemed to come from the lower classes. Mother’s wish to study nursing was ignored, because the profession was deemed unworthy of Kārlis’ pretentions to stature. To be crude about it, in a technical sense Karlis did not ‘fuck’ his daughter, but arranged that she be fucked by the father of her children to be.
When Manya was twenty-four years old, her father summoned his daughter to wed my father.* It was a more or less ‘secret’ wedding, well out of sight of the yellow press, which had taken a keen interest in the trial that had taken place months before. Kārlis, and my paternal grandfather, and everyone else in the family kept their mouths shut about the upcoming marriage.\
*Many decades later, after the death of Stalin and Manya’s mother’s return from the Gulags, grandmother wrote mother (who was by then in America) that she had cried greatly when mother was married off. Still, she was unable to do anything to prevent the marriage. Needless to say, when I read the letter, I realized that grandmother cared little for the feelings** of her grandchildren.
**When grandmother’s own son Sašha was still an infant, and when she was visiting her mother-in-law in the Latvijan countryside, she had left her infant son in the yard alone and crying. When her Latvijan mother-in-law protested that one ought not leave a child so crying, she replied that she was “hardening his character”. At a later time, I read that such ‘hardening of character’ was a custom among Russian nobility.
The clear beneficiary of the arrangement was Kārlis—he had a large countryside estate that was losing him money (the low salaried farm workers were burning down his barns.) Maybe he would now have access to the money needed to keep the estate afloat.
The long term results of the shotgun wedding were that Karlis’ oldest daughter never married, but remained single, and preferred to earn her keep as a piano teacher. Kārlis’ fingerless son (he lost all his fingers but thumbs due to frostbite when the children were wintering in Krasnoyarsk at a railroad switchman’s home) married an ordinary telephone switchboard operator simply because she was impressed by his father’s status and realized that her offer of sex would be appreciated (for the taking advantage of which uncle Sasha was briefly kicked out of the family circle).
Thus, mother, who did not receive an education beyond a girls finishing school, remained forever narcissistically focused on herself. Until another catastrophe (WW2) struck, she let her children be raised by nannies; she never called anyone, but waited to be called; it was as if she was going through life as a vegetable or, if you will, suffering of vegetative dystonia.* Her children, proper little animals all, starving attention, sometimes drove her to hysterics. I used to be one such small demon.
*More about this illness later and in the course of this story.
Three years after father was shot in Astrahan (in April of 1942—no one knew this until 1955, after Stalin had been murdered; and grandmother, the knazina’s daughter, returned from Siberia to Latvija) mother had an affair with a young German officer serving in the post office corps of the German Wehrmacht. I remember the young officer’s name as Fritz. The affair may or may not have saved our lives, because Fritz was able to commandeer the Wehrmacht post office outfit to bring us with it when it fled, after the Soviets broke through established front lines with a tank column that was stopped by a counter attack just a few kilometers from my aunt’s farm. The love affair (if that is what it was) did not last more than a month or two.
Though mother used to insist that she and father loved each other, I was never sure that it was more than a defensive statement, because there was considerable amount of evidence to the contrary. The emotional instability brought by war and the Russian Revolution in her childhood years, followed up by compelled love brought to her by her father and not resisted by her mother, combined with a return of war (WW2) that caught her in the bloom of her years… initiated a long series of events that not only destroyed her expectations of life, but destabilized the lives of her children.
Following the affair with Fritz, and after we had fled to Germany and had arrived in Weimar, Germany, mother began an affair with the son of the German household, where we were given a room in the attic. Heinz was an officer in the German Luftwaffe stationed in Munich. The affair was seen as a threat to the stability of her family by Heinz’s wife, whose letter to my mother, begging her to cease the affair, I discovered and read.
An unfortunate after effect of the brief affair with Fritz was that it was witnessed by my aunt Emma, the youngest sister of my paternal grandmother, the same who grandfather had abandoned at the end of the 19th century. It was aunt Emma, who by taking us into her family circle saved us (as we were on the list) from being deported to the Soviet gulags.
After the war mother never reestablished contact with Emma, thus loosing for her children important information from their paternal grandmother’s side of the family. That the connection with this grandmother had been emotionally strong among her daughters was attested to by my cousin Aija who, following her mother’s emotional commitment, following her death had her ashes buried at the site of grandmother’s grave.
Several other love affairs by mother followed in America (which is not surprising, because when she arrived there. she was only forty-one years old). By then her children were on the cusp of turning into young adults and were doing their best to find a place in the hat of America’s white rabbit the labyrinthine ways virtual history had brought them to.
The Russian composer and writer Vladimir Martynov in his book “Auto Archeology” (Item 35, as per the Latvian magazine ‘Rīgas Laiks’, October, 2014) tells of his concept of a world made of ‘two optics’: that of the optic of daytime and of the optic of nighttime. Writes Martynov: “The configurations of the awakened state form according to the rules of grammar, but the configurations of dreams are not subject to these rules, there are no linear or causal dictates, wherefore beginnings and ends may chance and change places freely… As a result, one and the same scene may appear very differently in dreams and reality. What is offered in a dream at once and as a whole, in reality is offered in small parts, which is why it loses the intensity of dreams.” (Transl. by LK)
As a result of the polarization of the optics of day and night, and because I assign them equal value, I have seen Daisy (the poet Dante would have called her Beatrice) come visit me in numerous dreams. For the reason, we may live in an optically polarized universe, Daisy appears in my dreams as a black or dark skinned woman. She always embraces and kisses me, and though on occasion I awaken from the dream with an erection, we never have a sexual meeting that may be called as being sex proper.