I offer our readers speculations of my American friend, Ralph Morgan, about his image of a Russian man. He dearly loves him and believes in the valiancy and happy and prosperous future of the Russian Ivan. So do I.
IS IVAN IVANOV STILL ALIVE?
As an American friend of Ivan's I must ask «What has happened to him? Is he alive in Russia today?».
While standing tall in unarmed defiance of Kaiser Wilhelm's onslaught of 1913, did a German bullet bring him down or was it starvation, or the cold of winter during a senseless war?
Did he dissolve in the puddle of Bolshevism following the Great Revolution of 1917? Or, was it the deprivation and regression of Communism rendering him a man without a right to be master of his own?
Did he eventually disagree with Josef Stalin? Did Ivan disappear when the last “white” was buried? Did he leave Russia when the door to his church was closed? Did Ivan escape his life slowly as the vodka faded from bottle after bottle? Has Ivanocide occurred over the past eighty years in wonderful and beautiful old Russia? My search for Ivan has become a challenge of significant proportion to my somewhat heavy and burdensome, yet curious and provoking thoughts. Questions on the whereabouts of Ivan clearly show an overview of my limited knowledge in his plight through life. Of course, without having lived it, indepth knowledge of the rigors, the disappointments and failures, the struggles and despair, the unhappiness and questionable existance is simply not there. But as an American, I want to know.
The yellow haired, strong and tall frame of a man, his voice filled with goodness and joy, would sing out with happiness and contentment to a robust and smiling mother, to a happy and loving wife, and to the outstretched arms of playful children when he and his father returned from a long day in the family fields. His name was Ivan Where did he go?
The pencil raised slowly from the sheet of paper it had so carefully marked in words and numbers the young mind had determined to be best choice in answers to the questions posed by bright and disciplined young school teacher. The handsome, bespectabled teacher peered over the heads of his room full of students as if to momentarily, silently reminiscence of the days when he sat as one of them. What would their future hold? What greatness might lie in the free mind of any one of them? Thus were the rambling thoughts of Ivan Ivanov, the school teacher. Where did he go?
I wonder about the merchant with storefront windows decorated by the finest and most colorful bolts of cloth, shiny pots and pans, strong durable utensils, the bright ribbons to adorn the beautiful hair of blossoming young women and little girls. Or, whether there is a merchant and a store.
I wonder about the respectable , courteous and and wise policeman who willingly arbitrates disagreements between quarreling friends or scolds mischievous young boys caught taking apples from the fruit merchant's standd without paying. Or, are there any fruit stands?
There has been no reincarnation of old Russia. She is reborn. And like a newborn fresh from womb, is crying out for care and consideration, fro love and nourishment... and like a babe in the forest, is entitled to a chance in life.
Was Ivan a casualty? If so, a casualty of what? Maybe that is the answer to Ivan's whereabouts. Ivan has become a casualty of something that I, as an American, cannot identify with. What could it be? There have been so many small wars and preparations for wars that never occurred. Did he disappear in Europe, Africa, Cuba, Afghanistan, or maybe some secret mission never to be known. Or, maybe he was just wounded in that long and painful battle known as the Cold War. If he was only wounded maybe soon he will be well again. Oh! How wonderful it would be to know that Ivan is now healing, recuperating and traveling the road to good health. It would be great to have my old friend Ivan back!
Hey, American, come back to reality! You have let your wishful thinking turn into dreaming. You do not know the whereabouts of Ivan Ivanov nor do you know of his condition or whether he still lives. My thoughts of caution would not prevail.
But Ivan was good! He must live! I want to believe that he does. So, I shall. Maybe Ivan has evolved an even stronger person because of his hardships. He may be living a quiet, uneventful life, yet still strong and powerful in his own way. He may be waiting for the most appropriate time to exert his influence; ready and destined to father a nation giving birth to future masters of their households with strong influences, knowledge, and determination; ready to open the doors of of churches and synagogues, community centres and theatres. Yes, I must believe Ivan Ivanov still lives.
I do not know of all the places he has been. I do not know of his trials and tribulations. I do not know of his pain and sorrow. I do not know the condition of his spirit today. Though it may have endured much and waned considerably, the spirit of old Ivan is still there. It is alive, and though I cannot speak of the Ivan Ivanov of today as I would the Ivan of history. I can rest assured knowing from whence came the roots the new young Ivan shall grow.
As Ivan's American friend, I believe the strength and goodness in old Ivan, his wisdom and love for life would never falter long enough for him to have not planted the seeds of love and joy, of family and friends, peace and freedom, in a secret and protected fertile garden awaiting the warm summer sun of change to bring new growth bursting through the soil of a good and prosperous life.