Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 141. A password is needed

I love my relatives, and they reciprocate my feelings. And it’s been not only now, but always this way. During my student years, as soon as I managed to get examination questions for an exam, I immediately went to one of my aunts, Nina Mikhailovna or Nadezhda Mikhailovna, and they made as many copies as possible on a typing machine, and I was disseminating them in my group. My aunts were secretaries – typists. Well, as it used to be at the times of socialism, I had never had any problems with stationery. My another aunt, with who we were growing up like brother and sister, as she was only four years older than me, her name was Valentina Mikhailovna, but I lovingly called her Valka. So Valka was a radio and television engineer at a regional communications administration. The administration was in the same building as the central post office, but its entrance was from the Soviet avenue, next to a café “Kholodok”. I used to come quite often to visit my dear aunt to have a chat; they even knew me at the pass-through. So, once I came to Valentina, we were having a chat, and I noticed a pack of envelopes without stamps on her desk. And in my briefcase I had about ten letters, I had written to my parents and friends. I’ve written in my previous essays that I did not waste my time during lectures and was writing letters for future use. And there were envelopes that were missing. Valentina off her master back offered me to take as many as I wanted.

So I took the whole pack, and then asked whether a stamp had to be put on them. Valentina laughed and said the envelopes even without a stamp would be delivered quicker than airmail. And it was really so: an airmail letter was delivered to Frunze, where my parents lived, for five days, and that one arrived already in a day. My mom was so surprised that she even made a long distance phone call to ask me why I had sent a letter in an official envelope of the Ministry of Communication of the USSR. And Ilgam, my friend, who was in a camp then, next to a flea market across the Iskitimka. So he also wrote to me a letter with a question, where I had managed to get such kind of envelopes, as when he received my letter, it was not checked by the censor’s office for the first time, and he was given the letter on the second day after it had been posted. After correspondence was checked a censor put a special stamp on the envelope with the State Emblem of the USSR and text: “Passed by military censorship”, and lower a personal number of the censor.

Passed by military censorship
Sure enough I went to Valka to thank her for the envelopes and get some more, if there was any luck. Valentina was pleased with my reaction and my admiration of the envelopes, as if it was her, who I was admiring. She gave me one more present, though made me promise beforehand that I would use the gift only to communicate with my parents. Why not? I gave her my word without a moment’s thought. And I want to assure you, that only now, forty years later, I am talking about this for the first time. Now I know exactly why the Communists fooled away their power. They trivially did not appreciate the power they had, did not even try to increase it. Generally speaking they had a couldn’t-care-less attitude towards everything. For instance, chancellery of the ideology department of the regional committee of the communist party had not changed a long distance telephone communications’ password for two years. Of course, the Inspection and Revision Department had never ever checked up the CP regional committee, in other case they would find right away outside long distance phone calls in the bills. And sometimes the outside long distance calls lasted for almost an hour. But who cared? Or maybe that was customary in everyday practice of the CP regional committee? So Valentina gave me a password of the very ideology department for telephone operators.

I was afraid first, when right from Valentina’s office I made a long distance phone call and said only one word “Vostok” (East) and gave a telephone number in Frunze.

My dear mom was extremely surprised to hear my voice. I called her at work. The audibility was amazing. There was no any background noise and rustle. As Valka said, the noise and rustle were caused by the tapped telephone lines. And with the password, everything was super. To cut it short, the test went just fine. The more the better, after that I was talking for an hour with my batya and my mother on weekends. Of course, they were asking me, where I got money for such long distance phone calls to talk to them. I lied that I earned the money. And what else could I do? I had given Valentina my word to keep the secret.

2 July, 2012

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #214040200685

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content