• when all the children in the yard know each other and you will never have such a strong and friendly company;
• days off at school due to the bad weather conditions expected with bated breath: parents go to work, and you – to walk in the yard;
• giant snow slides: down – on sleds, ice rinks or wooden skis, whistling and whooping, up – along steep slopes imagining yourself as a rock climber;
• jumping into snowdrifts from garages, risky, but exciting: parents forbade it, and my father even told how he had jumped into a snowdrift from a barrack as a child and had almost drowned in snow once;
• snow caves with three, four,…ten rooms connected by winding corridors, it was hot in them in any frost, and the collective drying of mittens on radiators in the entrance after playing in this caves;
• when in the morning in winter you go to school, to the art school, to dance classes, and there is a huge full moon in the sky instead of the sun, because it is polar night;
• when in summer, on the contrary, you can walk even until night, it’s still light, because it is polar day: there is sand in the yard, a huge painted wheel from BelAZ and daisies that have made their way through the cracks in the asphalt;
• a million games: catch-up, hide-and-seek, Cossacks-robbers, ‘into the Indians’, football, lapta; rubber bands and ‘classics’ for girls, knives, slingshots and caps for boys; secrets in the sand – a beautiful candy wrapper, a flower, a piece of glass on top;
• bonfires in the yard: bread fried on twigs and baked potatoes, lead melted into molds and smelly sticks from the construction site, for some reason called “ebony”;
• Norilsk spring puddles, sometimes waist-deep, rafting on Duck or City lake, catching minnows for bread in a jar on Dolgoe lake;
• pasties for 11 kopecks and pies in greased paper, ice cream in a tub, cakes decorated with mushrooms, Cream Soda and Pinocchio lemonade in exchange for returned bottles from the previous batch of lemonade;
• cafe From two to five with aquariums, a squirrel and flowers taller than you, the Flowers – Souvenirs store with a fountain and parrots, but most important is the Severok store, the one that at first was simply called Children’s World, there are German dolls and a set of plastic soldiers;
• a bear on Valek; going to the tundra with dad for mushrooms, to the pioneer camp Taiga on a boat and back to your favorite city.
In the History spot photo project previous publication we told about the Norilsk biggest shortages.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive