My memories were blurry, but the more Beau and I drove into Russia the more they became clear again. When I was 12 years old my dad brought me to Moscow. The band my dad plays in was traveling to Moscow for the second time, even though they'd been there before, I can remember the excitement everyone felt. It was 1989 and things were changing in the Soviet Union, the iron curtain came down one month after we left. I was too young to completely understand but I remember the lines for food in Gum Mall and that everyone seemed to be serious. Lots of dark brown floral dresses and button down shirts stood out in my memories. If you were a hip dresser, then you would wear a plain t-shirt. I also remember some of the clothes my mother bought me from GAP for the trip. I had three different "neon" colored shirt dresses, a white jean jacket, and a pair of turquoise jeans. Needless to say, I was bright and easy to spot in a crowd. The band and guests visited all the main sights and had a few private tours. We were given a tour of the apartments in the Kremlin used by Czars. One of the band members played the gold and gem encrusted piano, which I don't think was supposed to happen. The band preformed four concerts while we were there. We then returned home and the memories of Moscow slowly turned into a dream. It became one of those things that happens to you and doesn't seem real. Coming back to Moscow made it all real again. The Kremlin, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square were just as beautiful, maybe more to me now. The square seemed smaller to me. I'm not sure if it was because I was a kid, and my sense of scale was different, or if it had grown in my mind over the years like a fish story.
During our visit to Red Square, Beau and I managed to get caught in a rain shower. It was a great opportunity to stand back and absorb the view of Red Square almost empty.
From Red Square we walked into Gum. With polished marble floors, crisp painted walls, and luxury store fronts, I could barely recognize it, but the beautiful architectural bones are still there. The huge lines waiting and fighting to get a loaf of bread or any food ration from a store has now been replaced with Tag, Gucci, or Armani.
Russia has changed a lot since my first trip there but it was nice to walk through the old memories… and make some new ones there too!