A blizzard is blowing down my street this morning as it did in November 1941 when Soviet troops paraded patriotically across Red Square in Moscow. No onion-domed cathedrals here, though. No hope for early crocuses, either.
When I was seven years old, on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis, my brother taunted me with a dark family secret. I wasn’t born in Columbus, Ohio. I didn’t really belong to the family. I was adopted. They found me in a trash can on Red Square.
Even at seven, I was a skeptic. “Oh yeah? How’d you get to Red Square?”
Unconcerned with plausibility, he stuck to the taunt. “Trash can,” he said. “Communist.”
My fascination with Russian history, and Western perceptions of it, began then. So did a sense of otherness that came to be nurtured in Russian literature and language.