Hungarian furniture

She was born in Vladikavkaz, the capital of a small republic in the South of the Soviet Union, Northern Ossetia. At the beginning of 1960, when she was 5 or 6, her family moved to a new flat which had two rooms and no furniture. After some time, her father returned from a business trip to Moscow and said that he bought furniture there which would arrive by train. When the furniture was placed in the rooms, it turned out that in fact there were two sets – one for the bedroom and one for the dining room. The dining room, which she shared with her elder brother, became absolutely packed with furniture. There was hardly any space to move with a huge dining table, six solid chairs with stuffed seats and backs, a big sofa, a cupboard, a bookcase, a writing cabinet which had an unusual name ‘secretaire’. But she put up with it, as every piece seemed so gorgeous.

At that age, she was not an expert in furniture, but whenever people visited them, both adult acquaintances and her friends, she saw how impressed they were, and she heard them asking where her parents had got this furniture from, and she remembered – “it’s Hungarian.” At that age, she was also not aware of geography, but she learned that Hungarian meant “from Hungary”, and that it meant “very good”, something one could not get easily – have to go to Moscow!

In the mid-1990s, her mother moved to Saint Petersburg and had to sell that furniture, but she brought along a small table, on which there used to sit our TV set, with the whole family sitting on those wonderful chairs and lying on the sofa.