Archive | 12:19 am

Saying goodbye

7 Feb

Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Today, I am going to drive to San Francisco — a beautiful, nearly 2 hour drive — to say goodbye to my step-grandfather. It will be a long day. My step-father, Igor, is — as one might gather from his name — of Russian descent. My grandfather was born in Russia and his family fled the Revolution and went to Japan. He was raised there and went to Japanese schools. He met and married my grandmother there. She also had fled Russia with her family and went to Japan. She, however, went to French Convent School. They were unable to leave Japan prior to WWII and afterwards it wasn’t easy for a while. Eventually, they were able to go to Chile. They had their two sons there, Oleg and Igor. When the boys were still quite young, they came to the United States. They were briefly in Monterey, California and then settled in San Francisco. There is a thriving Russian community in SF — well, let’s face it — SF has LOTS of thriving communities.

My grandfather died on Sunday. He would have been 94 in April. For most people, that is a long life, filled with change. But, more so, I think, for my grandfather. I am just amazed at the languages he spoke — Russian, Japanese, Spanish, and English.

The picture above shows the view down Geary Street towards the ocean. The spectacular golden onion dome is the Holy Virgin Cathedral. This is my grandparents’ church. They are Russian Orthodox and I’ll be saying goodbye inside the church tomorrow. It will be a long day. Which seems fitting, I suppose.