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Hrushivska Sofia Tymofiivna (born 1912)

 the village of Shevchenkove, Zvenyhorods’kyi district, Cherkasy oblast’ 




Sofia Tymofiivna: It didn’t use to be so bad. He has a disability of the first category; he was paralyzed during the war. No one noticed me. Ask my husband. […]

—Aunt Sofia, when were you born?

Sofia Tymofiivna: 1912. 

—Were you born here?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, here. 

—What was your village called?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Kyrylivka… Does anyone have a fence like I do? He has a disability of the second category, and this brought attention. 

—How large was your family?

Sofia Tymofiivna: My mother had eight [sic] children: four boys and three girls. 

—Were you the youngest?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, I was the middle child. 

—What was your maiden name?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Shevchenko Sofia Tymofiivna. My father was Taras Shevchenko’s great-great-grandson. I’m not lying. 

—What was your mother’s last name?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I’ve forgotten. 

—Were there various neighborhoods in Kyrylivka?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, it was just one village. Kyrylivka was a good place. 

—So the neighborhoods didn’t have their own names?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They had names. 

—Which neighborhood were you born in?

Sofia Tymofiivna: How would I know? I lived close to Budyshchi. I know we had a house. I have a house in Kyiv where I was born. It’s displayed at the exhibition now [Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in Pyrohiv]. 

—Did all of your family live in one house or did you have two houses?

Sofia Tymofiivna: We lived in one house. Later on, we got married and left.

—What else was in your farmstead?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Three types of sheds: povitka (“tool storage”), klunia (barn), and komora (“cold room for perishable foods”). One of them was very good and was taken to the kolhosp nearby; it’s still there, but I don’t know where exactly. We have a wooden barn in the village somewhere around the training school.  

—How much land did your father have before the kolhospy?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Not a lot. He had a mill with a set amount of grain that people paid to have their grain ground (in place of money). This is how he made a living. During the famine, there was nothing.  

—So, when people came to use his mill, they didn’t give him money?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, they paid with graineither a large bowl [koriak] or a bucket [mirchuk]. 

—Did they pay with wheat?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Whatever grain they brought to the mill. 

—So, your father could have less land but get enough food supply from the mill?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. Later on we got married and left. 

—Who was in charge in your family: your mother or your father?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Both of them. And I can tell you now that when we went to cut the hay, my father would never carry the rakes on his shoulders. You had to carry the instruments and rake up the hay. Nowadays, they don’t rake it together so carefully. My father had everyone under control, what can I say? I had a brother named Kupriian who lived in Kyiv and worked in a museum; he had a summerhouse here and he died here. He moved here when he got weaker and was buried here. His wife is still alive. She was recently bitten by someone’s dog when she was on her way to the station, so she had to go to a hospital. 

—Was your father in charge of the family money? Did he go to fairs?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, he used to go to fairs and he had some money. He used to sell plums and apples. We had a large garden with apples, plums, and cherries. They would go to a market in Shpola. At times, he’d take one of the guys to look after the horses. He would bring home some goods such as cotton for shirts and skirts. One time, he went to a wedding and found a few capsules there [TN: artillery shells]. He put them in his pocket and thought he’d make pens and cups for the boys out of these capsules. So he kept carrying them in his pocket and one day he came to the mill and found a stitching awl. My mother just had a baby (Tetiana) at the time; she was by the oven and I was standing by the table with my brother Lion’ka. My father did something with the capsule, it exploded, his fingers got thrown in all directions, and the awl went right into a pillow. I had a wound right here. He grabbed his hand and tried to put it in the bucket with water. My mother fainted. He poured the water over her. When he woke up, she saw that his hand was gone. So they ran to the neighbors and took my father to the hospital. It was in the winter; there was a lot of snow. The doctor stitched the skin, and my father lived without his left hand. 

—When was this?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Before the war. I don’t know for sure because I was very little. This was our life. 

—Did he continue to work in the household and go to fairs?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, he went to fairs and did everything. He took care of us because there were many of us. He had two wives. He had two sons (Pavlo and Mykyta) with his first wife; she died. We were his six children from his second wife. The sons went to different places: Baku and elsewhere. The six of us stayed here and lived together. 

—Do you remember how the kolhospy began?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They gave us land near the mill, so we sowed wheat. The wheat was very good. Since my father had one hand, he used a rope to tie a scythe to his arm. He reaped, and my mother and I sheaved. We sowed everything including sunflowers. 

—Did they not confiscate your garden and the mill?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, my father was old, so the deceased Khrystia just took the mill apart. Her name was Khrystia Kuliova. She used to sew the blankets [riadna]. The mill over there is said to be one of the three mills: ours, the one belonging to Bilenky, and someone else’s. 

—Did they take the mill apart because your father was old and could not work?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—He didn’t want to sell it?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. We all moved away, and my youngest brother inherited the house. 

—When was the mill taken apart? Was it after the war?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know. My brother didn’t want to live in that house; he sold it and moved to Vatutino. He built a house for himself with some man from Kyiv: half a house for one, and half for the other. Then he didn’t want to live there either and left. 

—Why did your youngest brother inherit the house?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I guess because we all got married. 

—Did he look after your father?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, we looked after our father and mother. I lived here at the time, so I buried my father with my other siblings. That brother sold our house to the museum in Kyiv. 

—Did young guys and girls work as day laborers before the kolhosp?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Some went as hired workers, and some stayed at home. 

—Did your father hire someone at times to help at the mill?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, he didn’t. My husband Oleksa used to help out after we got married. My father was old, so he’d replace him once in a while. My father was 86 when he died, and my mother was 85. All my brothers are dead, too: Kuprian died here, Oleksa died in Vatutino, and Lion’ka died in Kyiv at his daughter’s. One sister is paralyzed in Zolotonosha, and the other… 

—How old were you when you started working in the kolhosp?

Sofia Tymofiivna: 12. 

—What kind of work did you do?

Sofia Tymofiivna: All kinds of work: carrying water, weeding, anything. 

—Did you have your own plot of land or did you help your mother on her plot?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I helped others. When my mother worked on her plot, I helped her. The field was beyond the village; I weeded and carried the water. 

—Did people use to sing a great deal at the time?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Oh, yes, people sang a great deal at the time. Everyone who was walking home from the sugar beets fields in Budyshchi during the Green Week would sing songs. And the main holiday was Kupala Night [TN: July 6]. People sang all kinds of songs if they knew how to sing. Those who could not sing did not, just like today. 

—Did you make a fire on Kupala Night?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Back then? I can’t say. I haven’t noticed. 

—Did the ladies go to the river?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, they would put the wreaths on the water; people with the flags [korohvy] would go from the church; they went to the lake and consecrated the wreaths there. 

—When you were a young girl, did you sing the spring songs [vesnianky] in the spring?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, I did. 

—Did you do the circle dance?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. You know the Easter holiday? The bells would ring a great deal in the church, and the boys would wear the embroidered shirts and make a round dance [shuma zaplitaly] around a man dressed in green boughs. This man was Hantypenko Khrystoforovych. They would make that dance, people would sing songs, and the bells in the church would ring. 

—How did they do the round dance?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They would walk around [the dressed up person “shum”]. 

—Was shum in the middle?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I’ve forgotten some. I know they used to dress him up and they would sing on the way. 

—Do you remember the year the kolhosp was set up?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, I don’t. 

—Did everyone join the kolhosp in your village?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Not everyone. Later, they saw that it wasn’t working out, and they joined the kolhosp. 

—Were people forced to join?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Who was forced? Our neighbor Zubko here had two children and a daughter-in-law; they didn’t join the kolhosp, and worked and had enough to eat. Nowadaysgo figure. We work, but there’s nothing; our money is weird, and what can you buy with it? 

—How did the people who did not join the kolhosp make a living?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They had land; later they joined the kolhosp, worked, and lived. 

—Were there families that refused to join the kolhosp and were deported to Siberia or elsewhere?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I think some were deported, yes. The rich ones were evicted and deported. 

—Did they come back?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Some did, and others didn’t. 

—Who set up the kolhosp?

Sofia Tymofiivna: The locals from our village. I know this because they also demolished the church. They pulled it apart. I was a little child when they were doing this, and I saw that people were carrying very nice icons, so I thought to myself, “I’ll go there, too.” Grandpa Stepan said, “Where are you going? Are you going to take icons? What for?” The people burned those icons.  

—Did people burn anything?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: The people took and burned everything from the church. We had two good churches: Bohoslovs’ka and Prechysta. Our side of the village went to Prechysta, and the other sideto Bohoslovs’ka. Those were lovely churches, and now we have nothing. 

—Did the locals demolish the church?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: Yes, the locals. Those who were not lazy, could come to loot and take a whole cart of anything. 

—Were both churches demolished in the same year?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: No. One was demolished first and then the other; they took it apart piece by piece as if it were the parents’ mill. Now they try to put them up again, but there’re no resources. 

—How much were you paid by the kolhosp?

Sofia Tymofiivna: We worked to have a workday marked with a stick. They would put a stick next to the house for each day worked. 

—For your work you got a stick?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, a stick. And we kept working. 

—Did they pay money or give any food for each stick?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Sticks were used to mark the number of workdays. They paid something, but very little.

—Where did you get the money to buy shoes?

Sofia Tymofiivna: We would earn a little something; people paid. I used to get 12 rubli from the kolhosp, so I could buy a loaf of bread and some shoes. It’s not at all the same now. 

—During the kolhosp time, did you use to go to the fairs to sell the fruit?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, we used to sell the fruit and we would buy the clothes at the fairs. We lived in my brother’s house; he left for Baku; he worked in Budyshchi. He worked, and I washed a barrel and made sauerkraut in the attic. People would pay for it, and we had sauerkraut and pickles to eat. 

—Did people steal from the kolhosp at the time?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They would take some, but not as much as they do now. 

—Did they fear punishments?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Of course. Our neighbor Motria had four children; she went to sheave wheat, took some home, and was caught. She was sentenced to something like seven years, I think. Then she came back, and her children were still living here. 

—When Motria stole that wheat, did people disapprove?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, not the people, but she was caught by the head of the kolhosp. His name was Zahoruiko or something like that. 

—Who was the leading authority in the village before collectivization?

Sofia Tymofiivna: It was probably the village council. 

—Was there a starosta?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, just the village council. 

—Did people gather in the neighborhood to sing?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, the girls used to gather in the neighborhood. 

—What were the voices called?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They differed from girl to girl. One would start, and the other would end the song. We would go around singing in the evening, and the mentally retarded one would follow us. 

—Did people use to say, “She leads” or “She’s a bass singer”?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, they would also find someone with a balalaika to play. 

—Were there any women who were good singers?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, some girls and women were good singers. We had Iaryna Hrushivs’ka who was born in 1912. She was great. 

—Did people invite these women to weddings?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. If there was a wedding, they would go there to sing by themselves. 

—But no one hired them?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. They would just go to weddings to sing. 

—Did you have dosvitky or vechornytsi in your village?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, both. 

—What was the difference between the two?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Dosvitky is when the girls gathered in a house and spin yarn in the evening. Vechornytsi was when girls gathered in the grazing field and sing. 

—Where did dosvitky take place? 

Sofia Tymofiivna: In a house of a single mother or an orphan. 

—When people went to dosvitky, did they bring kerosene or did they pay the house owner?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, they brought a large oil lamp to put in the middle of the house. They would put chairs around it, and sit down to spin yarn; guys would play cards behind them. 

—If people went there in the winter, did they bring firewood to keep the house warm?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Oh, no. Where my husband lives, there used to live Vania and Motria. Their house was very cold. A guy used to sit in that house and shake, wearing a long linen shirt. It was cold. 

—Were there women in your village who assisted with childbirth?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—What did people call them?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Baba-branka

—Did she help anyone who asked or only her relatives?

Sofia Tymofiivna: She helped everyone. 

—How did people have to pay her?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They would give her some cloth and a loaf of bread. 

—Were there women who were hired by others to keen at funerals?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. 

—Were there women chefs?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, and we still have them. 

—Did they make food for the weddings?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes.

—How did people pay them?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Back in the day, it was somehow… Nowadays, I know that people give them money, cloth for a dress, and a rushnyk

—When you were young, how long did the wedding last? 

Sofia Tymofiivna: Back in the day, they would start partying on Saturday and it would go on for a week. 

—What was the Saturday or Sunday before the wedding called? 

Sofia Tymofiivna: Saturday was called divych-vechir (“ladies’ night”) for the groom, and the bride would gather her maids of honor and go to the groom’s to play and sing. On Sunday, he would come to get her for the wedding in the church. Then they would go back to the bride’s place. 

—Who played at weddings?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Men played the bubon and the harmonia, same as now. 

—Was there an ensemble of fiddle and bubon?

Sofia Tymofiivna: There were fiddles, too. I remember my father bought a fiddle because he wanted the boys to learn to play; the fiddle was in the house for a long time, and we sold it. They didn’t learn to play. We still have Mykola in the village who’s a very good fiddle player. 

—How old is he now?

Sofia Tymofiivna: He’s old. 

—Was he the one who bought the fiddle from your father?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. And he played it. It was a very loud fiddle. Mykola Panteleimonovych is his name. He is still alive. 

—Did your father buy the fiddle because he wanted his sons to make some money playing?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. He bought it so they could play for fun because they were little. But they played their father and mother instead. 

—Did you want to play?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, but I didn’t have time. I had a lot of work. I only had one year of school because I had to spin yarn and make cloth or sleeves. I didn’t have time to study. 

—Did you tell your father that you wanted to play? Did he let you?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I didn’t say anything to anyone because I had no time. We had a cow, a horse, and a large family, so we worked. 

—Was there a tavern in your village before the kolhosp?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I think there were two. 

—Who used to be the sellers there?

Sofia Tymofiivna: The present-day profiteers. 

—Did the musicians use to play there sometimes?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. 

—Did you go to concerts in the village club?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, because the club was far away. You had to walk a long way to get there. 

—When you were a young girl, did the startsi go around your village?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—How did you call them: blind or temni?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. They would come, collect the alms, and go away, same as nowadays. 

—During the kolhosp time, did you go to vote?

Sofia Tymofiivna: You know, there were no elections before the war. 

—Were there any startsi who played the hurdy-gurdy or the bandura?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. 

—Were there any hurdy-gurdy players on the market?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I didn’t see any. 

—Did the regular startsi sing?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, a blind man with a boy would sit and put a hat on the ground. 

—What did they sing?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know, I don’t remember. I know that on Shevchenko’s holiday, my mother would bake fritters and people would come to one house to celebrate. They would bring Taras Shevchenko’s portrait. I still have the portrait that my mother used, but I gave away the rushnyk to the museum. Shevchenko’s portrait is on the wall in my house. On holidays, the inspectors would go around the village. My father had a large portrait of Shevchenko and he gave it to me. 

—Did the whole village celebrate Shevchenko’s holiday?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, the whole village. We were little and curious about the celebrations. At some point, it was forbidden to celebrate, and then allowed again. 

—Did landowners from Kyiv come to these celebrations?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. My father and I went to Kaniv twice on invitation. I also went to Shpola for the opening of the monument with my director. 

—Among the startsi, were there any women?

Sofia Tymofiivna: We had one blind woman named Bulachans’ka in a village nearby. She was surrounded by her many children. 

—Did she sing on the market or in the villages?

Sofia Tymofiivna: She would sit on a bench somewhere in the center of the village, and people would give her money. 

—Did she not have a husband?

Sofia Tymofiivna: She had one, but she had too many children, including the illegitimate ones. She was blind, but she was as sturdy as a cow. She went around asking for alms. 

—Did people dislike her and not give her alms because she had children out of wedlock?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Was it her fault? People were sorry for the children. 

—Did the bandura players use to come to the kolhospy?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know. 

—Were there any ensembles in the club?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, they used to participate in some expo at the time. 

—After the church was dismantled, what happened to the priest?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know where that priest is. Nowadays, we have a corrupt one. 

—After the priest and the church were removed, what was the burial like? Who sang at funerals?

Sofia Tymofiivna: The woman who read the psalms. People would come into the house, and we would ask her to sing. 

—So, the women were the ones who sang?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, the women. Later on, they started hiring wind instruments for funerals. 

—Was there a group of women who sang the psalms?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—When they were invited to funerals, how did people pay them?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They paid them something. We had one woman who lived alone and only had 800,000 saved. She wanted to call the priest, but he charged 100,000. When he found out that her daughter worked as a plasterer, he said, “Come to plaster my house.” Son of a bitch! How is that possible? 

—Do you remember if there were any “red” weddings in your village after the kolhospy began? 

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Did the komsomol’ members get married in a different ceremony?

Sofia Tymofiivna: There were various weddings. 

—Did the relatives intermarry?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, this was not allowed, but it used to happen. People didn’t like this. 

—After the churches were demolished, where would the people baptize their children?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: If only they were baptized. When my boy was born and the priest was still alive, my husband went to his house but didn’t find him there. The priest’s wife said he was in another house. My husband went there, “I need to baptize my son.” The priest said, “I don’t have the scissors; do you?” My husband had them, so the priest baptized our child in his house. 

—Why did he need the scissors?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: To cut the hair on the head in the shape of a cross. 

—What did the priest do since there was no church?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: Nothing. He played cards. He baptized our child because we gave him the scissors. We closed the windows because baptism was forbidden. We had dinner with closed windows and went home. 

—Who did you ask to be godparents?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: A husband and wife. 

—Your relatives?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: Acquaintances of friends. 

—Were they afraid to come?

Sofiia Tymofiivna: No. 

—Do you remember if people got together to build a house for someone?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, they helped each other to build houses. This was called toloka. You’d come to help me, and I would come to help you. 

—Did any of your relatives take part in the civil war?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Did they come back to the village after the war?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Not all of them. Many didn’t come back. 

—Did you sing any revolutionary songs?

Sofia Tymofiivna: We didn’t have time for this back then. 

—When you were single, did you do seasonal jobs as a day laborer?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Everyone would go to the landowners to make a living. 

—In your village or somewhere else?

Sofia Tymofiivna: In my village and elsewhere. 

—When would you normally go to work?

Sofia Tymofiivna: When the season would start: weeding the sugar beets and such. They would pay 10–15 kopiiky. At the time, 7–10 kopiiky would buy you a meter of fabric. 

—Were the day laborers usually young or would the older people go, too?

Sofia Tymofiivna: All ages. Whoever could walk and work. 

—Was there a store?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, and they would call out to customers. 

—Who worked in the store?

Sofia Tymofiivna: The Ukrainians were selling things there. The merchants would lay out their goods on the counters, “Come take a look at my fabrics.”

—Did people go caroling in your village?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Did you go, too?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, I didn’t, but they went caroling. Guys would dress up and have someone dressed as a goat. 

—Was there a potter in the village?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Is he still alive?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, those potters are gone. They didn’t work in our village; they made pots, jars, bowls, and pots. 

—But there was no potter in your village?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. 

—Were the startsi present only before collectivization?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I guess so. 

—Were they gone after collectivization?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, they always existed and still are. My daughter-in-law is in Kyiv, and she says, “Good Lord, old people are sitting outside in the streets.”

—Who lived in your village before collectivization: Ukrainians only or perhaps there were the Jews, Poles, or Romani people?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know any Poles, but there were the Romani people. We bought a whitewashed house and they rented it from us. 

—They rented it?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Did they pay you rent?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, we used to bring the materials and they looked after them. They would also chop the wood. 

—Were there any Jewish people?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Where did they go?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Oh, we had one named Heshko. He was dispossessed and exiled. 

—Did he have a lot of land?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. He was a Jew, that’s why. Oh-h-h, he was dispossessed. 

—Was he a kind man?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, he was a good man, but they took him away, and that was it. 

—What happened to his children?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They ran away and were hiding in other people’s houses. Malia was his wife’s name; she was a beautiful woman; his name was Heshko. 

—Were there any other Jewish families?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know. 

—What word did people use in your village: ievrei or zhyd?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Both words were in use. 

—Did you go to school?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I did, for a year. 

—What was the language of instruction?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Ukrainian. 

—Could one buy books or newspapers at the time?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, and the main thing was that you had a primer. 

—Were there any icon painters in your village?

Sofia Tymofiivna: He is still alive, I guess. Mykola Panteleimonovych paints well. 

—Did his father paint, too?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No. 

—When you were getting married, did your mother give you a “blessing” [an icon]?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Where did she buy them?

Sofia Tymofiivna: How would I know? I still have these icons. 

—Are they painted on wood and covered with glass?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, with glass. 

—Were there any icons painted on wood?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. I gave two such icons to a museum. The museum workers were asking for them, so I gave them the icons; next thing I knowthey sold them and kept the money. 

—What was on those icons?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They were old icons. They kept asking me to donate them, and so I did. I could have sold them myself like they did. 

—What was painted on the icons?

Sofia Tymofiivna: A woman on one icon, and a man on the other. 

—Do you remember if there was an icon painter to whom the people went to commission icons?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, I haven’t noticed such a painter. People used to by icons on the market. 

—Who sold the icons: a man or a woman?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Both men and women. 

—How many icons did your mother have in her house?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Oh, plenty. There were wooden ones on a shelf for plates and there was a large icon in the corner. She had many icons. 

—Did the icons have a specific place in the house or did your mother sometimes switch them around?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, they were always in one place. 

—Did people put rushnyky over the icons?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Did they have special rushnyky for the lent and the holiday?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No, I think the rushnyky were the same because there were some that were embroidered on cloth and some red ones. 

—Did you put an icon lamp?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—When did you light it up?

Sofia Tymofiivna: In the evening or for the holidays. 

—What did this mean?

Sofia Tymofiivna: How would I know? We just used to light it up. 

—Did people put icons into coffins?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, and they still do. 

—Were those icons small?

Sofia Tymofiivna: They were large and small.

—Why don’t you know?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know. 

—Did people cross themselves in front of the icon when setting out on a journey?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—In front of which icon did they do this?

Sofia Tymofiivna: People would always cross themselves in the house before going to bed. I don’t know if they do it now. I do. 

—Did people tell stories of icons getting angry and punishing people?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I haven’t heard of such things. 

—Did people use to say that the spirit of the dead lives behind the icons?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Perhaps they said this because they were afraid to leave children alone in the house. They would say, “Don’t touch this or that because the icon is looking.” So the children were afraid; maybe they thought that if no one was watching they could take the food and eat it. 

—Did people use to tell their children not to do something because God would get angry?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes, God would get angry. 

—Did parents use to say between themselves, ‘Don’t swear because the icon is in the house’?

Sofia Tymofiivna: Yes. 

—Did you hear what could happen if someone had a dream of an icon?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t know. One time, our dog was howling a great deal. I got up and [accidentally] burned a boiler. How does the dog know what I did?  

—Do you feel that you are of Shevchenko’s lineage? What do you think of your relative?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I don’t feel anything. I know that I’m related to him, but no one pays any attention. They used to, back in the day, but now I have this fence… 

—Where could you turn to have the fence fixed?

Sofia Tymofiivna: I can’t get one anywhere. I went to the head of the village council, but he said, “I can’t get you a fence anywhere.”

—Does your son not live here?

Sofia Tymofiivna: No.





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