On 1 January 1946 my great-grandmother, Catherine Nicolaievna Jakowzoff (formerly Countess Kleinmichel), sent a Christmas / New Year greeting to her granddaughter, my mother. The images of the card and the photo she sent are above. At the time of writing my great-grandmother was 81 and living in France, and my mother 23. She wrote:
My own beloved darling Tatiana!
I want to tell how happy and thankful I am to know that you are such a dear girl and a help and joy for your parents, and for me, your old grandmother. I have read, over and over, the dear long letter that you wrote to me and did so want to answer it but could not do so, feeling weak and at once overtired! My thoughts and prayers are always near you, my dear child. I am stronger now but not quite my own self yet.
Helen has been lately here to see me. We spoke in loving terms about you and she told me that you had written saying you had sent a parcel to her with some things for her baby. She is rather anxious not having received it yet, and fearing it had got lost. She was so touched by your idea and your thoughtfulness about baby. We were so pleased on receiving your snap-shots but you are such a big young girl, that I can scarcely recognise my darling little Tatiana – no wonder after so many long years absence!
I send you hereby a little photo of myself, made for my carte-d’identité having no other, meanwhile – Aunt Claira and I both hug and kiss you most tenderly, as well as your dear parents. May the Lord send you His blessings as I do!
Your old and loving Grandmother
My great-grandmother must have been writing about my mother’s cousin Helen and her baby boy Andrew Khasoff, born in 1945 (see photo below). I wonder what was in the package my mother sent them and if it ever arrived.
France at the time was still recovering from the aftermath of World War II and would not have been in a good state. Much of the population was going hungry with rationing to continue for another three years. I am certain that whatever my mother sent to them would have been very welcome.
I believe my mother met with her cousin Helen later in life and I am sure they must have corresponded, although I have not found any letters to date. I have attempted to find Andrew Khasoff and his children (if there are any) but I have had very little luck. I believe they are my only remaining relatives on the Kleinmichel side of the family. I did discover, thanks to Google, an Andrew Khasoff who worked for a company in Switzerland but he has not replied to the emails I sent. Perhaps someone from the Khasoff family, or someone who knows them, will see this post and get in contact…