Blast From the Past: A Photo of Soviet Kindergarten Class

One of my childhood friends sent this photograph via Facebook. I thought you would get a kick out of it, so here it is:


school photo

Yeah, the one with an arrow pointing at her is me. When my daughter saw it, her words were: “Mommy, you were one ugly little girl.” That child doesn’t have a filter between her brain and her mouth. Hmm, that reminds me of someone…

We all had to wear those scratchy school uniforms and boy, were they uncomfortable! Do you see how my apron stands out from the crowd? That’s because my mom made it, the other ones were bought in-store. Even though mom worked full-time, she would occasionally sew and knit clothes for us. Not so much to save money, she just wanted my sister and I to look unique.

Needless to say, I didn’t appreciate it at the time. I don’t think there is enough miles or points to motivate me to knit a sweater. Are you kidding me? That’s worse than filling out those IHG cards for Priceless Surprises promo. Speaking of: Mail it now! Ends soon!

It goes without saying that  “unique” was frowned upon in the Soviet Union. I once had an exchange  with Stefan from RapidTravelChai. His flight in Russia was rerouted to another airport and not one of the passengers  made a peep about it. He was surprised by all the stoic expression-less faces around him. I told him it goes back to times of Stalin. You blend in or else you go to Siberia.

Even though most kids on this photo appear downright miserable, that wasn’t the case at all. We just don’t smile on photos. When I look at it, it reminds me of a simpler time. No credit cards, miles or points to speak of. We were quite poor, but it wasn’t a big deal.

There was no debating on where we would go on family vacation because there would be no vacation. I would take a train to spend summer with my cousin, just like I did the previous year. We would go to the woods, hunt for berries and sometimes steal corn from collective farm fields. Ah, the good old days! Well, except for stealing. That was bad.

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Author: Leana

Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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6 thoughts on “Blast From the Past: A Photo of Soviet Kindergarten Class

  1. I like the picture, much better than my first grade one where I’m sucking my thumb, way deep in my mouth. Seriously? Yes! The photographer didn’t think about choosing another copy. Traumatizing. Well, you were poor but there was free education for kids, something that many kids in underdeveloped countries would find a luxury. Hey, I can teach you how to knit, I do it all the time. You may actually enjoy it!! Hee, hee.

    • Leticia, glad you think the picture isn’t terrible! I had to actually look for a minute because I wasn’t sure which one was me. But that apron is what sealed the deal. Hate to tell you, but I could never do knitting. Too impatient. Seriously, I would rather watch the paint dry.

  2. The apron is beautiful!

    Coming from Texas, where everyone smiles all the time and says hello, my husband and I really stood out in Russia. I smiled at everyone walking down the street. I’m sure they thought I was a nutcase. I did win a few people over, though. Or maybe they were just humoring me.

    • @Nancy Ha! It made me smile thinking about you being in Russia. You seem like such a warm and friendly person and it probably freaked some people out. 🙂 Honestly, once you get to know my countrymen (that includes Russia and Belarus), they are very hospitable and will give the shirt off of their back. But it takes some time to get there.

  3. Cute pic. It’s so interesting to get a glimpse into a totally different culture. I guess that’s why we all like travel so much.

    • @Jennifer Thanks! That’s kind of why I put up this short post. Even though it falls into “random drivel” category, it does show a different culture. Funny thing is, these kids (us) weren’t that different from our American counterparts.

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