This is the photo of me and my friends in High school years. The photo was taken in Bologoye in 1930s.
I don't remember some of the names, but I recall that the first girl from left is Irina Kalach. In those times I liked to dance and was very joyful girl. I had many friends (both boys and girls).
I took part in amateur talent activities; we had a wonderful theatre studio, and our Physics teacher managed it. So I was the main star over there, played the main roles. We performed 'Poverty is not a trouble' [play by A.N. Ostrovsky ], and I performed the main role.
There were evenings of amateur talent activities in local Palace of culture [some kind of recreation centre], there was a good House of pioneers Also, when they organized evenings of amateur talent activities, I made some recitation of poetry to musical accompaniment.
I recall my childhood with great pleasure, not paying attention to all difficulties. We had always been in the very center of life, not looking to that fact that we were Jews. And we had friends, and were dating.
We were friends of Parmit brothers, they were Jews; all three of them were murdered during the World War II. Brothers played different music instruments, first mandolins, and then violins. I had friends only among my schoolmates.
We danced: in summer in the railway club and on the area of Putyatin garden. We danced foxtrots, tangos, and waltz. We had the additional dancing facultative at school.
We had, besides, a very good music teacher, Gregory Vikentievitch Uspensky. He told us a lot about music and composers. I started to take some additional music lessons: there was a piano at my aunt's (Ghenia, sister of my father), but it was standing in a very cold room, which could be hardly warm up, and it was almost impossible to study, so I stopped doing this.
I liked our geography teacher Galina Konstantinovna and our chemistry teacher too. He always said: 'Nobody knows chemistry so good to get an excellent grade, I know it for four'. I remember also, that we had a very good Physics teacher, Ossipova Anna Semenovna.
Her brother came once from Leningrad for the New Year Eve, when we performed 'Poverty is not a trouble', he invited me for a dance and started to make compliments, he said that I should apply to the theatre institute.
I was burning to do that and before the World War II had begun wrote to GITIS [the State Institute of theatre arts, places in Moscow], I even got a booklet with rules of admittance from there. Daddy, of course, tried to dissuade me from it: 'To be an actress, you need to be beautiful'. And I replied: 'Father, I'm not ugly'.
And my boyfriend Valery Buchinsky (he was murdered during the World War II); he tried to dissuade me too. And then the Great Patriotic War came: we had the graduation party on June, the 17th of 1941, and the War started on June, the 22nd.