If you read carefully the articles about Prof. Berman’s mighty exploits in the 1960’s, you will find that this man brought his 4 children to Russia with him! Not for just a visit or vacation but for a whole year. I was one of those children…third in line at the age of 11.
The whole thought of traveling “through the iron curtain” gave me nightmares. I have a vivid memory of a huge ominous Red Iron Curtain dividing the sky and us trying to crawl in vain through it. It was like being literally up against a wall of iron and just spinning our wheels. I would wake in fear to these recurring dreams. Not to mention having to go through the day with my day dreams. ‘Commies’ and Russia in 1961 during the very height of the cold war, were not part of the 7th grade “fitting in” phenomena I so longed for.
We arrived at the Soviet border at night from Minsk and Smolensk. I was trying to get over that fact that Dad actually slept in a tent in these magically named places. I mean we camped out. That was highly unusual for us. My world as I knew it was already challenged. Now, curled up in the far back of our VW Bus, I was up all right and looking around. We were at the border where the IRON Curtain must be hung. Much to my joy, the iron curtain for me turned into 4 cute Russian guards waving and smiling and watching with awe and delight as I waved at them from the back of our red and black Volkswagen Bus on our way to Moscow. Now I was behind the curtain, and my whole perspective on life was about to change.