Why are so many of our women unhappy in marriages with Americans? The interlocutor of Olga Tarasova - Lyudmila Shropshire (now Stevens), author of the book “American Tears of a Russian Wife”, which became a bestseller in Russian-speaking America.
- Ludmila, we met several years ago, when the Russian-speaking community was excitedly reading your book “American Tears of a Russian Wife”. What news? I see that you now have another surname: did you marry again? ..
- No, I did not get married - I do not want to take any more risks. Burned for many years to come. I changed my last name to a more easily pronounced one - through the court. I paid 200 dollars and try to forget the old ones. Only the book reminds her.
- Remind me when you wrote “American Tears of a Russian Wife”?
- The book was published in 2003 year, reprinted in 2006 and 2011. Readers asked me to write a sequel. The second book was published in 2010 year. I state with sadness that “American tears of a Russian wife” are pouring ever stronger, and the book is not only not outdated, but is becoming more and more relevant. Marriages with foreigners cannot be stopped, but even after 20 years of seemingly happy life, soul-chilling tragedies occur in such families ...
- Do you mean a specific case? ..
- In March, 2016 of the First Russian Channel showed the program “Let They Speak” with Andrei Malakhov about another American tragedy that happened in the city of Evans, Colorado. Richard Perrin, Medical Officer (respiratory therapist) after 20 years of marriage with Russian wife Natasha, shot their common daughter Danika 17 for years, then shot himself in the head of his sleeping wife and shot himself. At the time of the tragedy, Natasha was 47 years old, her American husband 61. The family was considered prosperous. Daughter loved Danika at school, she was a sociable girl, played volleyball. Neighbors and police puzzled what could have caused such a terrible tragedy ...
Natasha survived by a miracle - a bullet flashed through the brain and went right through - into the pillow. At the hospital, it turned out that the optic nerve was damaged, and Natasha stopped seeing. American doctors could not return her sight, and she came to Moscow with the help of Channel One: Russian ophthalmologists are famous all over the world. To survey Natasha took the daughter of the famous academician Fedorov, who participated in the program "Let them say." The woman was placed in the Eye Institute ...
- Has she managed to return the sight?
- I really hoped for it ... In general, Natasha's tragedy shook me just to the depths of my soul. I contacted Irina Alpatova, the editor of Channel One, and asked for the coordinates of Natasha to contact her in the future, support her and advise me to write a book about my American marriage and life in America.
In early April, Irina informed me that, alas, Russian doctors could not return Natasha's sight, since there is no such technology all over the world. And Natasha is flying back to the USA, along with her mom. Irina gave me the American number of Natasha and asked to call her in Colorado. Support her and, if necessary, go to her and help. The fact that Natasha was going to America with her mother made me happy: a native person would take care of her ... Mother would never leave a blind daughter without help. But alas, I was wrong ...
- Has the mother left the unhappy woman? ..
- In Colorado, I called at the very end of April. Natasha herself picked up the phone. I said who I am and where I got her phone number. And immediately asked to write down my phone and email address to establish a connection.
If Natasha herself can not write, let her mother help her. But it turned out that my mother could not write in Latin letters, did not drive a car, and, moreover, she was leaving in early May to go back to Russia, having been in America for less than a month. Mom does not want to stay longer. Natasha is left all alone, rarely one of her acquaintances helps her - everyone has her own business, her own problems ... Her husband's relatives also do not help. She does not know the computer, it is necessary to study. But she wants and will live on - in America.
I admit, I was shocked: the mother leaves the blind daughter alone. To my question “Why?” Natasha replied: “This is my mother ...”. I asked Natasha to call me. If necessary, I will come and help her. Or take her to Oklahoma if she chooses. Let's write another book: dictation. Natasha promised.
- Yes, sad story ... Lyudmila, your book is, after all, largely autobiographical. The main character, Tatiana, is that you?
- Yes, I am a “Russian wife”, a Muscovite, who came to American husband 24 a year ago. Then I was 50 years old. Roman began to advertise in the newspaper "From hand to hand." The Internet was not yet there. The American wrote me several letters a day to Russia — he promised, he assured, he swore. I believed it. But after a few months, he was thrown out to the mercy of fate: alone in a foreign country, with unimportant English, with a Russian engineering degree, which is not recognized in America. I had only my sign of Scorpion and five thousand dollars brought from Moscow.
- Scorpio, as you know, is a great hard worker. This sign is also famous for being reborn from the ashes ...
“So I began my life in America from the very beginning, from scratch, from low-paid work, at the same time studying in various courses. I only saw a personal computer before America in the picture. The year was 1992.
And the book began with a title. In a short time of American marriage with a man suffering from manic depression, I went through hell and felt that I could not remain silent. Understood - it is necessary to tell Russian women with whom and with which they may have to meet in an American marriage. To warn, to explain the peculiarities of American men and to tell why they want to marry Russian women.
- Aloud, they curse the American, but the real reasons are carefully hidden. They curse in vain: American women, no less than Russian women, want to have a good family and a reliable husband. The health statistics of the American nation back in 1998 just killed me. It turns out that 50 of millions of Americans, and this is every 5-th resident of the country, had a mental disorder. 2 millions have schizophrenia and epilepsy, 19 millions have manic depression, the rest suffer from all kinds of fears. In addition, drugs, alcohol and the tyranny of their wives (National Institute of Mental Health). Russian women and have no idea that almost everyone will get just such a husband - "every fifth".
A lot of readers have responded to the book. Mostly, of course, women. They wrote and called. They told stories that it was simply impossible to listen without tears. And almost everyone said that in every line of the book they recognize themselves and their American husband.
The telephone calls and letters from Ada Z. from Baltimore literally shook me. Ada's first American husband was a drug addict, the second a sadist. She had already decided to commit suicide, but after reading the book, she remained alive, following the advice of my heroine Tatyana: it’s too early to cry on her grave, you have to live and fight. Ran away from both. And if my “American Tears” saved at least one life, it means that the book was not written in vain.
- What would you call the main feature of American husbands?
- They are absolutely no different patience. Light up quickly and cool down just as quickly. After two or three months, they no longer want to teach a Russian wife either English or driving a car, saying: "These are your problems, I myself had to learn in Russia." Their feelings are far from the first place, even among the young. At first, comfort, money, amenities ...
- Ludmila, why do Americans so dream of marrying Russian women?
- The reason for this is simple: American women don’t follow. It’s no secret that foreigners are often married by those who haven’t taken place in their lives, real “losers”, and they want to take place at least in the family. American women know the laws and know how to protect themselves. Russian with American laws are often not familiar and will endure a lot.
Another reason: many are sick and know that they will need care soon. That is why our nurses and doctors are so in demand as wives. Some are looking for a nanny for their children, for nurseries and kindergartens in America are very expensive. Americans happily marry foreign women with children: this allows them to write off a tidy sum from taxes. It is no secret that many in the United States live at the expense of children - to the aid of the state.
- Lyudmila, the heroine of your book, Tatyana, survived, did not break. Same as you. Share the secret that helped you? ..
- The secret is the easiest: work and study. By the way, just recently I retired after working 20 for years at the Oklahoma State Transport Authority, in Traffic Engineering - department of safety of automobile movement, the designer. I had to confirm the diploma of an engineer. According to my projects, lighting systems, masts and traffic lights, barrier barriers and road signs throughout the state are still being installed. I earned two pensions, the amount of which is incomparable with the meager Russian pension accrued to me for 30 years of work as an engineer in Moscow. Another country, another financial system and other laws. Other - EVERYTHING! ..
Olga, you smile, and I survived in anger. Anger at itself. I told myself: “Have you, a half-life in Russia, a mechanical engineer, worse than any American student who feels like a fish in water here? Not!". And I began to catch up with America, living for a year over 5 years and learning all aspects of American life.
Looking for a permanent job, I studied in courses and worked as a chauffeur, governess, salesman, music teacher, translator, deputy teacher, and conducted evening Russian language courses for American adults ...
Now I can say that all the years of my life in America (before retirement) were terrible stress, work without days off and vacations. I sat at the computer on 15-16 hours a day - at work and at home. The first book, American Tears of a Russian Wife, was written for seven years. In the book I honestly, without embellishment, told how my character changed - for the worse, as it seemed to me, side. I became tough, counted every penny, made plans for each day and month. Without a rigid organization in this country can not survive. Golden rains do not go here.
- Ludmila, what do you think, why women who suffer in American marriage do not return home to Russia?
- There are several reasons. First, shame on you to come back. It means to admit that you did not take place in America. This thought will sit inside for many years and every day remind: “I could not stand it, I gave up, I returned a reconnaissance ...”. From myself you will not leave. The result is depression, inferiority, gossip, and gloating of acquaintances. Who will believe that you returned by yourself, and not your husband sent back? ..
The second reason is that in Russia it is very difficult for women of “Balzac” age to find a job. The third reason is that they stay for the sake of the children, with the hope that they will go to college and get on their feet. Many are stopped from returning to their homeland by the fact that “all the bridges” have been burned down in Russia: no housing, no work, no money ...
There are letters from Russian women who came to America to work, being married to a Russian husband. They live here often illegally and work as carers, nannies and housekeepers. Salary and parcels are sent to Russia to their husbands. But it often happens that the husband in Russia converges with another woman, and when the lawful wife is about to return from work, he declares that he has a different one and he submits for divorce.
Women in America are crying, tearing their hair and ... they are aging in the USA.
The reason for the latter is hope. Hope that next time everything will turn out and the next American marriage will definitely get lucky. Everybody hopes to get married again - both young and old.
- Lyudmila, you know that our public organization U.S.-Russia Civil litigation Society Institute helps "Russian wives" who are in a difficult position. By the way, very often women call us whose American husbands spread their arms. What do you advise women who have a similar problem to you?
- In no case be afraid and do not tolerate beatings, violence and humiliation, and immediately seek help. Balzac also wrote: "They do not like slaves, they are used and thrown away." Therefore it is necessary to keep with dignity and go under the protection of the law. Right now, after several Russian women were killed by their husbands, the American government pays much attention to the problem of Russian wives. Here's a free phone to call: 1-800-787-3224, National Domestic Violence Help.
- Ludmila, in 2006, in Russia, on Channel One, the documentary “American Tears of Russian Wives” was shown, which received a huge response: the film was watched by 80 million people. What does your book have to do with this film?
- In the spring of 2004, Mikhail Feinstein, a journalist, producer called me. He said that he had read my book and wants to make a film about the problem of Russian wives in America. Asked to arrange several interviews with women in Oklahoma. Soon he flew along with the operator Yevgeny Braslavsky. First of all, we went to rescue a Russian wife from “dog captivity”. The American husband sharpened her in a kennel, away from people, forcing her to raise fighting dogs for sale. In the film, she tells the story of her marriage. To say horribly is to say nothing. And this woman was an actress in a Russian theater. The second book is devoted to her chapter "Zombies".
I gave Mikhail Feinstein official permission to use the title of my book as the title of his film.
- What is the second book?
- The second book is more informative and interesting, it consists of a series of stories with the same heroine Tatiana, and describes many aspects of American life. The relationship of Americans at work, at home and in the family. Russian-American families: relationships, orders, laws, habits, characteristics of characters ... Scenes of American life from mixed marriages. How to look for work, what is possible and what should not be discussed in America at work and at home. The head of the Black Widows is about Russian wives who bring American husbands to the grave and marry the next. Stories unusual, unthought, from life. Travel notes and observations of Tatiana, the heroine, about trips to South America - to Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, the islands of the Caribbean, France, Alaska, and Mexico. The head of Zombie, in which the American husband kept the Russian beautiful wife in constant fear and deliberately drove her to suicide, enjoying his power. And Tatiana's story about the seven hours spent in “Angola” - the bloodiest American prison, where only suicide men and convicts are kept for life. Hours that the heroine does not forget until the end of life. The second book gives a more complete picture of America and its inhabitants. It is read according to the readers, also, without stopping, in one sitting.