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´╗┐Ukrainian Oral History Project

Interview with: Geraldine Czebiniak

Interviewed by: Sarah Joy Hutcher and Erman Sahin Tatar

Transcriber: Sarah Joy Hutcher and Erman Sahin Tatar

Date of interview: 6 April 2016

Interview Setting: Sacred Hearth Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Johnson City, NY


(Start of Interview)

Sarah Hutcher: Okay so, my name is Sarah Hutcher.

Erman Tartar: And my name is Erman Tartar.

SH: And we are here with--

Geraldine Czebiniak: Geraldine Czebiniak.

SH: And we are here at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and we are interviewing Geri about Ukrainian life in Binghamton.

ET: And first we want to start with how old were you and when did you immigrant to the United States? And how old were your parents and grandparents?

GS: I was thirteen years old when I came to the United States I was seven years old when we left our Ukrainian village, our town that we lived in, my father was the principal of a boys school because they had a school where boys and girls were separated, he was the principal of a boys school and we had to immigrate because of the war, going back and forth, so we ended up in Germany when the war ended, World War II, than um so we were displaced persons as we were called then and we lived in a camp, they were schools made into a camp, we lived there for several years and the United States and other countries would take people into their countries to immigrate and that's why we immigrated to the United States after the war and there was a man here that my father's friend and he went to New York and saw this man at some kind of concert in New York and we had to have immigration, you had to have a job over here and a place to live and so this man signed papers saying he had a job for my father and a place to live.

SH: Wow. That's crazy.

GS: And that's how we came.

ET: Yeah--

GS: Not like the way to do it now.

SH: Right!

GS: So, this friend of my father's found this friend from Binghamton actually.

SH: Okay.

GS: He was here and he said that he had a job and stuff so that's why we came.

SH: What kind of job was it?

GS: Actually my father was washing dishes at the old hospital, but it was okay because we were so happy to come here, we didn't care where he worked.

SH: Yea, it was something.

ET: Yeah, absolutely.

GS: And then my mother got a job in the factory and it used to be a shoe factory, antigenic, but not anymore, it's not what it used to be and it was me and my two sisters that was my family, yeah.

SH: That's sweet. And so, I know there were a lot of people working at the cigar, like the cigar factory, do you have any memory of that?

GS: No, nobody that I know.

SH: No? No one that you know?

GS: No no one I know of--

ET: And you said you stayed at a camp after the war?

GS: Yes, we--

ET: What was that like?

GS: Well after the uh, actually, we stayed, at several camps, one camp was run by Germans and we were very worried that we were going to get killed cause that's when Germans were killing Jewish people and we thought that we were in the crowd that we were one of them so our lives were very always worried about living, that's all you worried about, living. Yeah, know? And um, so that camp was--

Pause because the lights in the room when out.*

ET: and your camp?

GS: and the camp after the war, when the United States took over they organized all these people, and they had no place to live, they made the camps out of schools, building schools that was very nice because the United States treated us very well. There was no question about it, especially the children, we had extra, special care packages and things like that.

SH: Yeah.

GS: The children were um,

SH: Treated well.

GS: Treated very well.

SH: And I mean, how old were you when?

GS: When we lived there?

ET: Seven years old right?

GS: I was seven years old.

SH: Okay seven.

GS: We lived, when we left Ukraine, I was seven and when we left I was thirteen, August time was during the war and Germany and other countries right from Ukraine all the way to Germany. We moved from place to place to get away from the Russians.

ET: Woah.

GS: And so it was a rough, it was a very rough.

ET: This is amazing, you're remembering, you were only seven years old, yeah.

GS: I don't remember too many things about when I was little, you know, I don't remember, but the war and hiding, and running to the shelters all the time and I was little and I just, didn't want to leave sleep, I didn't want to go to the shelter but you know.

SH: Even just going through that, even if you font remember it, still--.

GS: Yes, Yes, okay, any other questions?

SH: Let's see what we got--um so when you got to Binghamton what was it like being Ukrainian here and um you know, did you notice a difference in your upbringing than like compared to like the kids that lived here?

GS: I was, well, I didn't know English very well, I knew a couple of things yeah know in the camp you learn how to sing songs and stuff like that, I didn't understand the language, so um I was put in sixth great but I went to second grade to learn how to read and write and stuff, but it doesn't take long, when you're young you learn very fast.

ET: Yeah, very fast.

GS: A couple of months I was okay, you know? I was right where I belong, you know, and then I went to St. Patrick's and then I graduated from there.

SH: Wow.

GS: So I was okay, it was okay.

SH: Wow.

ET: I was just wondering when you came here did you, all family came here?

GS: Yes, except my oldest sister, because she was older, she came like three months before we did.

SH: Oh okay!

GS: We were separated because she was of age.

SH: Right.

GS: I was the youngest of the three.

ET: She have to wait here?

GS: She had to, her visa came, her paper came three months before ours did, but it was okay because we knew she was coming here too, she was included in our family package, but she came three months before we did.

SH: wow okay. So at least you got to be all together.

GS: Yes, yes, we were very lucky because we used to ride together because there were many people, lost their parents or their children during the war, it was terrible.

SH: Oh gosh.

GS: So,

SH: Thankfully you don't have too much memory of it.

GS: I know, because it's amazing, my kids, I have four of them,

SH: That was one of the questions.

GS: Oh yeah? And they just are amazed we're as healthy as we are mentally, yea, but you live through that and your kind of forget, it's like a dream, a bad dream.

SH: You got to keep moving forward.

ET: Definitely.

SH: I've met other survivors, and they have the same mentality.

GS: That's right, you have to survive.

SH: Just push forward.

GS: That's right, no matter what country you are or nationality or the all lived through things, you survive it.

SH: Yea, alright, so, where were your parents born?

GS: My parents were born. Oh you mean city?

SH: Yeah.

GS: It's Ukraine, um, my parents, my father and my mother was from Stanislav, which is now called Ivano-Frankivsk, it was a city that they lived in, they were born there and then they, my father he went to school and he became a teacher and then a principal and then he moved to a smaller city and he became a principal of a smaller school it was a smaller city, it was not Stanislav.

SH: And I mean there is a pretty decent sized Ukrainian population here in Binghamton, did they know anyone coming over here?

GS: Well the person who signed that paper, he was Ukrainian, and he brought a lot of people over and then right away we joined the Church because we were Catholic and they communicant welcomed us so to speak.

SH: That's great.

GS: It was very nice.

SH: Like a home away from home.

GS: Yes yes, that's it.

SH: It's easier to settle.

GS: You have the church, you know. Right away and the church has the same language which was the same so that was very refreshing so to speak.

ET: We are wondering; your friends are also Catholic?

GS: Yes, that's right, they were, brought up from way back.

SH: And so when you had kids was religion something.

GS: Yes.

SH: That was emphasized.

GS: Yes, we were very active in our church and religion is very important to me, to us, and they all go to our church and I'm lucky because all four of them live locally.

SH: Oh that's great.

GS: So, we see each other at least once a week.

SH: That's good.

GS: They're all married.

SH: Do they enforce it [religion] in their homes?

GS: Yes they do.

SH: Look at that.

GS: So far so good.

ET: Yes.

GS: One of my daughters, the kids they used to go to the church and now they kind of broke away a little bit

SH: They'll come back, they'll come back.

GS: They'll come back, I hope so.

SH: Maybe they just need a little time, they have to discover their own thing so--

SH: Yeah, very cool.

ET: Did you have any household items or relics from the Ukraine in your home?

GS: No.

ET: Anything you remember from when you were a child?

GS: Not anything, nothing because at one time or place where we lived it was bombed so all we were left were what we had on ourselves.

ET: Yeah.

SH: Wow.

GS: We had nothing left so, nothing nothing that reminds me of home.

SH: Wow.

GS: Yeah so.

SH: Have you ever visited Ukraine?

GS: Pardon?

SH: Have you ever visited Ukraine?

GS: Oh no, but I've always wanted to, with four children and my husband, well he passed away, but I've been busy and never had the finances. I never had the money, when I had my husband we had to work because he says, you know, that's our family and we're to bring them up the way, you know, as you should be home which I did, I stayed home for eleven years and then worked, and then you know, we couldn't really afford to go back, I'd love to go but now now I'm too old and I can't walk too good, I have problems, too late too late.

SH: You never know! Hopefully.

ET: Your husband also Ukrainian?

GS: Yes he was Ukrainian but he was born here, he was born here, we got married in our church because he was part of, he belonged to this church, and when I came you know.

SH: How'd you guys meet?

GS: Oh, in the choir.

SH: Oh did you? That's sweet!

GS: And I was quite a young bride but you know that was okay.

SH: How old were you?

GS: I was 19, 20 when I got married, I was young.

SH: My cousin just got married at 18.

GS: Oh yeah?

SH: Which is very young.

GS: Very young nowadays.

SH: Nowadays, oh my gosh.

GS: Because everyone gets married later.

SH: My other cousin got married at like 37 so, it's different, definitely different.

GS: To each his own.

SH: Yes, but yea 19 is young.

GS: Yup.

ET: Do you think that there is a problem or an issue if they are not from the same culture? Like if not Ukrainian or Catholic Orthodox and want to marry at this time?

GS: No I font think there would be any problems, no.

SH: Do you think it would have upset you parents if you wanted to marry someone that wasn't Ukrainian.

ET: For example, if you didn't want to marry--

GS: No not really.

SH: Wow that's cool.

GS: I don't think so.

SH: I thought maybe they would.

ET: Because sometimes a minority wants to protect their culture.

GS: Right right, I never felt that, well you know I never felt that they would forbid it or anything like that they just, I got married to a Ukrainian and so did my sister and it just went on, my other sister also, it never appeared, it never became a problem so no.

SH: Did you, you know, raising your four children, did you ever have special Ukrainian things in your household that you did, special holidays.

GS: Yes we have lots of embroidered Ukrainian pillows, we did a lot of Ukrainian Easter eggs, I font know if you know of those.

SH: We just saw them downstairs; they are so cool.

GS: Yea they all know how to do those. They're very ornate.

GS: they're very very, takes hours to do one, but they like to do this.

SH: So your whole family does that?

ET: Yeah, it's very cultural.

GS: Yea, we love the American ways too but we have our own.

SH: That was a question too!

GS: As long as, I font have anything against living in the United States, they allow us to do this, to have your own culture, we you know so, we're very lucky, we love the United States, they gave us a life.

SH: that's awesome, you keep answering our questions, you're doing awesome!

ET: Very good.

GS: Oh no!

SH: No that's okay, that's a good thing.

ET: How long did it take for you to feel at home and comfortable in Binghamton?

GS: Um, I would say probably a couple of years.

ET: A couple of years, I can understand that.

GS: You know when we left there completely different kind of life. We had our own apartment, completely different kind of life, I would say a couple of years to feel at home.

SH: Do you think it took your parents and your older siblings a little longer.

GS: I think so cause younger people, they adapt.

SH: Right.

ET: A lot quicker.

SH: They're flexible.

GS: Yes, they are.

SH: How long would you say, did they ever feel totally comfortable you think?

GS: My mother, she didn't speak English very well, she went to the factory to work and she worked with people who spoke Ukrainian and Polish, so she didn't.

SH: She didn't have to learn.

GS: She didn't have to learn English.

SH: Did she--.

GS: My father did, he knew how to speak English.

SH: In your household did you feel like you used Ukrainian more.

GS: Yes, I font do that now.

SH: I was going to say, are you still fluent?

GS: Yes I am actually.

SH: That's really cool.

GS: My kids when they were little I used to speak to them in Ukrainian and once they went to school that changed a little and in the neighborhood they learned English, and they speak English at home now.

ET: Right.

SH: Do you think any of it stuck with them?

GS: Oh yes.

SH: Oh wow.

GS: My grandchildren, Steven, has one of my grandsons he wants to learn Ukrainian, at school they're going to give classes so he wants to learn.

SH: That's great.

GS: It's great.

SH: I was going to ask, and, I know I keep asking, did your husband speak?

GS: Yes, he spoke it.

SH: Oh wow so everyone.

GS: We all spoke Ukrainian in the house and you know then they went to school and--

SH: It's hard to enforce it because everyone is speaking English.

G: And the neighborhood, big influence.

SH: Did you go to college?

GS: No I didn't.

SH: No?

GS: I got married, I finished high school and I got married, I was almost 19 when I got out of high school because I was losing time during the war I didn't go to school, for almost four years I didn't go, it was like no life.

SH: did you friends? Did any of your friends go to college or was it more common to just work?

GS: Far more common to just work, you know.

SH: And just settle down.

GS: My children it's a different story, they all went to college, but that's different.

ET: We were both wondering at this time did you feel any disconnection from social life when you came here.

GS: not really I didn't not really, I never really felt that and maybe it was because we were amongst our own but then when you work, I worked in a hospital, I never felt discriminated against, I font know but I never felt that way.

SH: That's good, probably cause it seems more common, it such a large community up here.

GS: Could be could be.

SH: Now just out of curiosity, with the church population, is everyone Ukrainian? Is there a mix?

ET: All different?

GS: Oh no, some are married to English people or other nationalities, they come, they want to come they can, and some of them do come, some of them are married and are from different nationalities want to come and do come and they want to be a part of our church, and they're welcome to, and they feel comfortable, wife or husband they are connected in that way.

ET: We want to ask, which culture do you feel has shaped you, Ukrainian or American, because you are so young when you come here, you are just seven years old.

GS: Yeah, I would say American more.

ET: What do you observe in yourself that is more American culture?

GS: I don't know.

ET: It's a hard question.

GS: It's a hard one, American culture well maybe my other question, probably I should change it, because I'm more Ukrainian than American because we keep our own culture more or less so I, but American.

SH: You could say both.

GS: Yeah well both, that's the best way because a little bit of English and a little bit Ukrainian

SH: Yea I mean one of my questions was um did you feel comfortable or I guess assimilated enough to celebrate, oh well I mean did your parents celebrate things like thanksgiving?

GS: Oh yes.

SH: All that stuff? Wow! You felt comfortable right away.

GS: Absolutely yes, cookouts and Thanksgiving.

SH: Your generation seems I think more grate than my generation to live where we live.

ET: It's true, it's true.

ET: Do you see the differences between your generation and the younger generation with faith maybe?

GS: yea with the faith maybe a little different, the younger generation doesn't seem to be as connected as or as how you say it connected, definitely not as connected. They're more Americanized, which is okay you know there's nothing wrong with that but I feel like.

ET: Are there any differences between the Ukrainian catholic culture and American catholic culture? Also catholic Ukraine orthodox?

GS: No, the culture is different than the religion, the Ukrainian catholic orthodox is the same, we have the same services and everything it's just that the Catholic Church belongs to and is

connected with the pope and that Vatican as the orthodox does not. That's the difference, but the services are not the same but similar, let's say it's similar.

ET: What kind of things are similar.

GS: The church service is what time talking about the service itself when the priest dresses the same as ours does even some of the prayers the same but they are font, the orthodox church does not recognize the pope as we do, that's the big difference like the catholic church.

SH: and I'm not catholic, what does recognize the pope mean? Do they just not see him as being?

GS: Head of the church.

SH: Oh okay.

GS: Because the Catholics are Latin right Catholics and recognize the pope as the head of the whole church, excuse me, the catholic church has a lot of right and we're byzantine rights and there are 22 right, 22 ways of serving God but they're still connected with Rome with the Vatican, so that's the differ and the orthodox font recognize him as the head of the church.

SH: Okay and did you ever have a confirmation?

GS: We are confirmed when we are baptized.

SH: And what's when yours little?

GS: Yes.

SH: Oh I was going to say, did you have a confirmation in America? Ukraine? Germany?

GS: No no.

SH: So you don't remember?

GS: That happened in Ukraine when I was little.

SH: Little little, that's probably smart too.

GS: Yeah.

SH: Get that done early.

ET: I was always wondering when I was a child I saw some Armenian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian orthodox church. What they are different? Why are they not the same Orthodox Church?

GS: Why font they go to? Probably the language, I would imagine probably the language because I think if it was all in English it wouldn't all be different.

ET: Yes yes.

SH: anything you want to ask? You're like good, you're sticking to the script.

GS: I'm glad you're asking questions cause to think about what to say.

SH: It's probably so much.

GS: I wouldn't know what to tell you.

SH: I mean what has happened in your life in the first ten years is more than my 21.

ET: I really wondered about this, did you remember the Soviet Union years.

GS: Oh yes, I remember those few incidences when the soviets came to our town and our house , I remember we had holy picture on the wall and they threw them on the floor and that kind of stuck in my mind so much and I remember my mother had watches and jewelry and they took everything, and my parents we were just standing there and you couldn't do anything cause they would shoot you, if you say 'don't touch your something like they, when they came it was like ' just take whatever you want' and it was bad, it was bad, yes and then the Germans would move them back and the Germans would take over, and when the Germans would take over my father was arrested by the Germans.

ET: Oh whoa!

SH: For how long?

GS: For a couple of months but the reason he was imprisoned because my uncle had a store and he was helping the Ukrainian underground army, fighting and trying to keep Ukraine independent and they were trying he was helping them and eventually and giving them food and the Germans wanted to know where the main office was and my was uncle arrested and my father, they had him in the next cell and they would beating my uncle to death because they wanted to know, they wanted my father to tell my uncle where is the main office? And where is the army the underground army and my father told them he couldn't tell him, my uncle what to do. So--

SH: Wow, so how old was your uncle, do you remember?

GS: He was like in his early forties, like forty-two.

SH: Oh my gosh!

GS: And you know those boots the Germans had, I'm talking about Nazi's, I'm not talking about German people.

SH: Yeah, no, oh definitely.

ET: Definitely definitely.

GS: Those boots, they kicked him so much he died.

SH: Oh my gosh!

GS: Yeah, it was terrible, so we have, and then the front would move back, we we under the Russians, we kept moving from one town to the next to keep away from, from being over our enemies.

ET: Okay so.

GS: That's why we ended up in Germany.

SH: Yeah.

GS: Because Ukrainian and Germany are quite a few countries, we were in Poland ya know we kept moving so that's what, that's how we ended up in Germany when the war finished and that's when the Americans took over and also when the we stayed in an underground shelter for two weeks.

SH: Wow!

GS: We couldn't get out because we were being bombed so much that, America bombed so much, it was the end of the war that we had to stay in the bunker for a solid two weeks, we didn't get to change our clothes, my toes were rotting in my shoes, so yea, you know it was a bad time but you know some how you survived, and when they stopped bombing we came out and we didn't know how the Americans were going to treat us.

ET: Oh yea yeah yeah.

GS: cause we didn't know but they treated us very well, ohhh they were so nice to us and they and like I said the organized the schools, like one room classroom there was like 35 people in one class room, different families and they would give us blankets and there was one family there was another family because they had to put us all together, and you know we had to live like that and little by little different countries would different people, I font know Belgium would take people Britain took people, displaced people and you know like now we have refugees and so that was yeah.

SH: I'm like wow.

ET: That was amazing, that was really amazing, yeah.

SH: I font know, that really moved me.

ET: How many friends your family have?

GS: Friends?

ET: Oh I'm sorry, sibling?

GS: My father had my aunt, my uncle, three-- there was four of them, four total, he had a brother and two sisters.

SH: Did any of them come over here?

GS: Yeah, one of my aunts came.

SH: Oh that's great.

GS: Yes and she was here living with us but she passed away, once he found out that his siblings, cause he didn't know where they were but somehow she got to the united states, and my father found out that she lived here he made sure she came here, you know bring the family together as much as you can.

SH: Did you feel like your parent's kind of you know like? Did you feel like--

GS: Yeah, my uncle.

SH: Did you feel like your parents sheltered you from that or did you find out later in life?

GS: Yeah, they sheltered that.

SH: They didn't want you to know that.

GS: I know this is terrible but when the Germans came and were going after the Jewish they were throwing babies up against the wall to kill them, cause they didn't want to use the ammunition to kill them this is terrible, I get goose pimples so my mother wouldn't let us go see anything that happened like that cause she protected us from seeing things that people and stuff like that, she protected us as much as she could.

ET: Did you lose any of your friends?

GS: No we didn't we were so lucky, so lucky, my mother had a blessed mother picture and God saved us, that's what she felt you know, that God saved us cause a lot of times.

SH: You're so cool.

ET: Yes!

GS: Because a lot of times the way things looked my father worked even during the war he had to have a job so he worked the railroad station and when the bombs started alarm came, we ran to hide he would hide in one place and we would hide in another and you know chances are we might have gotten killed, but so far, I font know we always got together somehow.

SH: That's amazing.

GS: that's where we're, very religious because we feel that God saved.

SH: He brought you through so much.

ET: Yes, yes.

SH: So much.

GS: The whole family, there's five of us and we didn't lose any, I didn't lose any.

SH: That's amazing.

ET: Amazing.

GS: A lot of people lost their parents during war, ya know bombs and stuff, we were very lucky, we were very fortunate.

ET:  I know this time was very hard, but did you miss anything about these times about Ukrainian life?

GS: To be honest with you I font, I font remember too much to, yea, I was seven years old when we left so I just started school I didn't, you know I can't say that I missed too much for Ukraine.

ET: Yeah, I understand, you had a friend before we came here.

GS: Oh in Germany I did.

ET: Do you remember?

GS: I don't remember anyone in Ukraine but I remember people in the camp because we lived there for a few years, about four years.

SH: Were there Jewish people?

GS: No there were, they were all displaced people.

SH: Oh yes you said that.

ET: Yes, displaced.

SH: It wasn't like.

GS: No.

SH: Okay.

GS: Just a place to stay and from there we came to the United States, no no it wasn't a camp, like you talk about Jewish camps, it wasn't a concentration camp.

SH: It wasn't like like that okay.

GS: No it wasn't.

SH: I think you would've mentioned that by now.

ET: So, on one side you have Germany and the other you have Russia.

GS: Yeah they kept going back and forth, Ukraine.

ET: Oh my gosh!

GS: They , the front, they would move back and forth so that happened a few times to us we kept moving back and that's how come we ended up in Germany.

SH: Now here in Binghamton, do you feel, not to totally change the subject but do you feel like there are any other, cause I'm not sure, I know the Ukrainian population is pretty prominent do you know of any other populations here.

GS: oh yes there is a Polish Community, there's a Slavic community, there's you know, other nationalities that kind of hung together.

SH: Do you think they came here around a similar time.

GS: Well you know it depends, some of them came after the war sometimes some of them were born here.

ET: Yes, because Poland like Ukrainian, also with Germany and Russian.

GS: Yes, because the fronts, the immigration more or less.

SH: I was just curious, I wasn't sure.

GS: Yeah yeah.

ET: So, you are saying ethnicity and religion are not important, they tried to save all the displaced people, this is amazing.

GS: That's right, that's right, it didn't matter. We were already in camp we had services, they had one room set aside like a chapel, orthodox had their service, catholic had their service other religions whatever had their services this was like in the camp so we got along with everybody, you have to, you have to help each other, that's what it is, when you're in trouble you help each other, it didn't matter who you were as long as you could help. You know, so--

ET: What about your mother's side, we know your father's side, but what about your mother? She's Catholic.

GS: Yes yes.

ET: She came here--

GS: Well my mother and father, no, none of them were here, my grandmother, she died before we came here so, and my mother had, the uncle who I said was killed by Germans, he was my mother's sisters husband so it was that kind of family, but none of my mother's family was here at all, my father's family was here but none of my mothers, they died before they got here.

ET: All of them or?

GS: Yeah, it was just the father died long ago when she was just a little girl and the mother was older and the sister, the sister was left behind but she died shortly after when we came here, my mother didn't have any family here at all.

S: That's hard.

GS: Yeah.

SH: Do you feel like she had a preference? I know my mom's family came from Ireland and before they were able to get into the country they stayed in Canada for a little bit and she was always really mad they didn't stay in Canada. Do you feel like your mother had a preference?

GS: Eh not really.

SH: no she was just happy you guys were all safe, alive and well.

GS: Yes that's it, right.

SH: I'm sure you don't get too picky after what happened to you guys.

GS: That's right, that's right after you lose your home and your place.

ET: I was wondering after all this hard years, did your father try to go back or ever want to go back because it's hard to adopt here after.

GS: No no, this is how, we said, no he never tried to go back.

ET: I can understand.

GS: No he was happy to be here because it was a free country and you had the freedom which we didn't have for years, no he never expressed that he would like to go back or anything like that.

ET: Yes, yes, are you watching the television and news about Ukraine right now?

GS: Sometimes.

ET: Do you follow the Ukraine?

GS: Yes, yeah I do, we do, we do; we keep up. We have a collection for the soldiers you know in our church we have a bake sale and we donate the money we've collected and send it to Europe because we have to help them. You know Russia is not very nice to us, you know Putin is not very nice taking, they're stronger than we are so they're going to take advantage of us but you know, Putin is something else, that's all I have to say.

ET: Do you think Ukraine and Russia is close to each other, I'm just wondering.

GS: Well I think maybe now because Ukraine was under Russia for what, seventy years, under Russian rule but I think, I'm talking about over there not here.

ET: Okay.

GS: I imagined inter marriages, maybe there is some mixed up, I really couldn't tell you for sure, because they were close, they lived together so to speak, but we still wanted our independence you know.

ET: Absolutely.

ET: Do you have any other hobbies here?

GS: I love to cook and bake, you know so, I do that for sure, I worked for 38 years at Wilson hospital and not a nurse, I was a secretary.

SH: My mom did that when I was younger!

GS: Oh really?

SH: Yeah, she was a secretary, she loved it, at a hospital; you see a lot.

GS: Yeah, um I did, so I worked for 38 years, I retired when I was 69.

SH: That's a long time, a long while, very cool. Just out of curiosity, where did you work in the hospital, like a certain?

GS: Surgical floor mostly, orthopedic surgery.

ET: Just another thing, did you feel assimilated enough to celebrate holidays like Independence Day and Thanksgiving?

GS: Yes yes I do.

SH: You seem pretty pro America.

GS: Yes absolutely absolutely I'm both.

SH: A lot of people are pretty down on the United States right now.

GS: No no not me. I mean there politics and stuff but I mean that will blow over.

ET: Yes.

SH: I think it will blow over, I think things are going to get better, it's been weird for a few years.

GS: Ehhh it comes and goes, you know.

SH: Yeah, it does it does so I think it will, we'll see, we'll give it a few years, oh that was my question.

ET: Yeah.

SH: Oh okay so I've been to Israel a few times and then I'll come back to America and try Israel food and I'm like ugh this is horrible, do you feel that way? Is there any Ukrainian food around here? Um or do you have to make it.

GS: I have to make it!

ET: I'm sure it's much more delicious.

SH: Any restaurants for it?

GS: I hear there's Ukrainian Restaurants around Binghamton, on Court Street or something, but I've never been there.

SH: You've never tried it out.

GS: No no never tried it out.

SH: What is Ukrainian cuisine? Because I've never.

GS: Well you know--

SH: Because you like to bake and cook?

GS: Okay, one thing is tortes, we call them tortes, they're eight layers of pastry that you bake and you have to put filling between each layer, there's a walnut torte, you know, different kinds of tortes we make, and that's baking most of the time and food wise pierogi and all kinds of soups, you know nothing specific.

SH: Yeah, I know Israeli food is very similar to the countries around it, you know like Lebanese food, do you think it's probably similar to that.

GS: I think a lot of those countries are Slavic polish, the foods are more or less the same because they're all so close together, they kind of borrow from each other, you know.

ET: You know I am coming from Turkey there is a lot of the same food.

SH: You guys have a lot in common.

ET: Yes Ukraine and Turkey are so close, and they support each other.

GS: That's right that's right, yeah right on the border.

SH: Are your languages similar?

GS: No no.

ET: Not much.

SH: I was going to say you could like try and talk--

ET: The same basics are for the Russian and Ukraine?

GS: What?

ET: For the languages?

GS: The alphabet is the same but the, you know I speak Ukrainian but I don't understand Russian, some words I might understand but hard Russian, no they are not similar.

ET: Actually we really want to say thank you.

GS: Oh is that all? Oh wonderful.

ET: We appreciate it.

SH: You answered all our questions really well.

GS: I hope you get something out of it.

SH: I feel like I learned a lot.

ET: It really affected me.

SH: I know I teared up.

ET: I almost cry.

SH: That was awesome, Thank you very much.

ET: We want to say thank you very much.

GS: Oh you're welcome, no problem, I hope you do well in school, I know you do.

(End of Interview)