Material proofs of our memories
Надежда Никифоровна Рогожина
, проректор по международным программам, зав. кафедрой лингвистики и межъязыковой коммуникации Самарского муниципального университета Наяновой, кандидат педагогических наук, доцент.
Директор негосударственного учреждения дополнительного образования “World Class-Samara”.
Last time we were speaking about memories. Today we are going to touch upon the question of material proofs of our memories, so to say. We are going to talk about souvenirs, gifts and other things which are dear to us for this or that reason. Some of those become family relics.
When travelling, most of the people try to buy souvenirs which will remind them about the trips; those emotional states and feelings connected with them. These are postcards with views of the places visited and many other things. Each of you can give a lot of examples of these. Some of them are small pieces of art and the owners would like to display them. I know many such people. These things are the pride of the people and usually there is a story behind each of the items. Some collect such souvenirs. I know a lady (in Russia) who collects small plates on special stands. She can talk for hours about the places she visited. Another one (in the USA) possesses a grand collection of fans (Spanish, Chinese etc).
The things which I display in a glass cabinet are not so numerous, but each of them can remind me of this or that event.
Casa Loma (Toronto, Canada)
I have a small collection of bells. The first one was bought in Hungary when I went to Budapest “Debates Workshop”. It was a wonderful experience and I can be proud of the fact that the “Debates” practised in Russia date from that very seminar and I was one of those who started it thanks to the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation). Then there came the bell from England (my late husband brought it to me). Another one is from the US where I was with the group of my students who studied at George Washington university; another one is from Ireland bought in Shannon Airport on the way back from the United States. Some are from the trips along the Volga river (Valdai bells). They are all very different: a tiny bell from Venice, a bigger one from the island of Valaam. There is one with the name Casa Loma on it. And it’s connected with a wonderful trip to Canada (Toronto) and Casa Loma is the name of the house which is a museum now. It was constructed by an engineer who presented it to the city. It looks like a castle though it was built at the beginning of the 20th century and was somewhat out of style. The people laughed at it at first and thought that the owner was “a bit cuckoo”. But he collected a great amount of interesting things and now it’s a museum containing a most informative collection.
My bells are made of different materials: clay, metal, china and so are the mugs which occupy the second shelf in my cabinet. One of the mugs is extremely dear to me, it is the one connected with my visit to Austria with biology students who studied at the Vienna University (Institute of Microbiology and Genetics - English turned out to be the working language at the institute!). It is the mug we drank punch from on a Christmas night in the square in front of the Town Hall. There are some other things and I can tell stories about them.
Christmas night in the square in front of the Town Hall (Vienna, Austria)
I mentioned family relics. We have such in our family, too. It is my grandmother’s necklace made of old Russian coins (though she was a Greek woman from Georgia!). I have given it to my daughter who will pass it to hers (I do hope to have a granddaughter some day!).
Nadezhda’s grandmother, Elena Paraskeva
But I would like our readers to tell us about their family relics and invite them to take part in the competition for the best story. It will be published in ‘School English’.
One such story, written by a famous American columnist, is next to this column.
It might trigger your memory and we’ll enjoy your story very soon!
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