Here are slippers. Let's go. A professor's family had this apartment, apparently. A professor's family.
Ilya: Is this the original apartment? It wasn't subdivided?
Lena: No, it's the original one. Right over here was the library, and it was sort of, as far as I know, set off by a door, so that the professor would, you know, not be bothered. And further down, the way I understand it, that's where the family's rooms were, that's where the family's rooms were.
Ilya: Everything is just on one side?
Lena: It's a "comb" apartment, yes. Let's turn on the light. What this was, was, I guess, a living room, I don't know. This may have been a children's room. This was probably a bedroom. It had a second entrance, a back entrance. And the maid lived in this room, but it's locked.
Ilya: So this is a kind of store room?
Lena: No, it's fourteen square meters with a bay window.
Ilya: Oh, I see. So this is, as it were, the masters' half, and this is the servants'?
Lena: Yes. And the kitchen servants, the one who was the cook, probably, right? The cook lived right here.
Ilya: Oh, in the room off the kitchen.
Lena: Yes, in the room off the kitchen. They had to use the back staircase, they didn't have the right to use the main one. They used the back staircase. I would, you know, if this were all my apartment, I would take this wall down and make a bathroom with a window.
Ilya: Oh, I see, this window...
Ilya: It's blocked now, looks like with brick?
Lena: Yes, with brick. This was the window into the bathroom. I would make a bathroom with a window.
Ilya: And what's going on with this wallpaper?
Lena: We wanted to put up wallpaper, but we haven't gotten around to it. And Svetik, when she moved in, at first she tried her best, she started to fix things up, she fixed these... she painted the ceiling here. We painted too. It used to be worse. Here there used to be shelves on the wall; we took them down. Svetik was really trying to make it nice here. She brought in this little table, we put in a TV, and we yak away. Some people smoke, some people do other things. You see, you can roll this table out, and then you can sit down and have a cup of coffee. I go in to make coffee, I make it for everyone. Everyone gets a cup, I put them on the table. That's what I do.
Lena: We used to have a wooden floor.
Ilya: There's a wooden floor under this?
Lena: There is. But the Housing Office came and said, "You want linoleum?" We said yes. They came and look what they did. You see these? Now all of them are nailed down. Marina goes and nails them in.
Lena:We used to have a lot of tables here. There were three right here. This is where my place was. There were only two stoves but we never argued over that. In the evening the kitchen was always free, go cook whatever you want.
Ilya: So you never needed to make a schedule?
Lena: Absolutely never. And we baked, too. Everybody baked pies for holidays. I'm not a good baker, but I made Napoleons. But Pasha Davidovna, she baked a lot, and she treated everyone. Everyone got a piece on a little plate, she'd carry them in, put them down, can you imagine? She treated everyone.
Lena: You go into the kitchen, in the morning someone is always up and about. You get yourself a cigarette, make some coffee, and yak away.
Lena: We had one garbage can for the whole apartment. So every time I had my two-week cleanup duty I would have to take the garbage can out and empty it every day. And finally one day I just had it, I bought my own little can and I said, "that's it, friends, there is no way I can deal with something that heavy." They grumbled for a long time, but in the end everybody got used to it. And then they gave in, and pretty quickly everybody got their own little cans.
Ilya: Let's have a cigarette.
Lena: Let's do that, that's a good idea, let's have a cigarette.
Ilya: Does the building have hot water now?
Lena: Yes. When they got the hot water connected, we were just thrilled. Because before there was only cold water and a hot water heater in the bathroom. We heated the water, and everybody washed their dishes in a little basin. This is an exhaust pipe. There were fireplaces everywhere. Everywhere, you see how they were everywhere. Everywhere there were fireplaces.
Lena: The kids did this. Vlad was very little. Sasha. So, the children were little, and when the grownups would get together, well, you remember how it was in a kommunalka. The grownups would be at the table, and the children would be sent to the hallway. And they'd run up and down and chase a ball.
Ilya: Chase a ball?
Lena: Of course, what are you surprised about, they even rode their bicycles... Hello, Nastya! This is our neighbor Nastya.
Lena: In this apartment everybody always loved children. No kid ever got scalded or burnt with a hot pan.
Ilya: Do you know the people in other apartments on this staircase?
Lena: On this staircase? Well, we say hello, but I never visited anybody.
Ilya: Thank you!
Lena: You're welcome.