Was I named after Empress Alexandra (pictured above), wife of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia? It is a question I have been asked time and time again. It was not something I ever discussed with my mother. How do parents decide on names for their children? I had a few
This week I began to sort through the numerous photo albums which I inherited. My parents and grandparents, and no doubt other relatives, were very vague with their inscriptions on the photos, if they wrote anything at all. Some are inscribed with random names like “Helen”, or with simply a
I have a vague childhood memory of the evenings between Christmas on the 25December and Russian Christmas on the 7 January spent curled up on the sofa next to my mother, who was reading to me from The Nutcracker and The Mouse King. Opposite us was the Christmas tree we
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
Once upon a time – let’s say seventy years ago – there was a handsome young man and a beautiful young woman. They had only been married for around four months and were beginning to build a life together in a big city. They were not wealthy but they were
What do a gold mine, a window display and a bookshop have to do with my mother? Well, in 1952, when my parents were living in Colorado Springs, my mother designed a window display for a bookshop which won her the third prize in a nationwide competition. In previous posts
- Knowing your place: the boundaries around relationships in pre-Revolutionary Russia
- Searching for an April birth month and finding more questions
- Ella – elegant, enchanting and somewhat elusive – was she also evasive?
- What’s in a Name? Was I named in memory of the Empress?
- The Tsar is buried… the Emperor is no more…