If you haven’t read It’s Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella, you shouldn’t read on. This blog holds secrets for the eyes of my true followers only!
Today I am going to tell you about the crazy Russian woman, Mrs Molchalin and the reason she lost her mind. It's a melancholy tale.
The first time we meet Mrs Molchalin is at Manya’s prize-giving ceremony and we know something isn't right.
Manya’s gaze had switched from her father to her mother. Mrs Molchalin was wearing her smart grey suit with the fox-fur collar, her black hair was scraped back tightly, and her red lipstick glistened against her pale skin. She was not looking at her daughter.
At this point, I hadn’t quite decided why Manya and her mother didn’t get on. I thought it might be because Mrs Molchalin was jealous of Manya’s achievements, and perhaps the fact that Mr Molchalin was so proud of his daughter. But then, one morning after I had dropped my son off at school, I was listening to a story on the radio about a Russian award for mothers who had successfully borne and raised a large family. It was so fascinating that poor Nelly had to wait until the article had finished before she could have her walk.
When I got home, I searched for as much information as I could about the award. It was called “Mother Heroine” and was established in 1944 in the wake of the catastrophic losses of the Second World War. I found photos of the ceremony itself, with beaming mothers wearing their special gold badges, sitting amongst their vast array of offspring. Generally they were all wearing the same outfit, or very similar. A bit like that scene in “The Sound of Music” when the children all wear clothes made out of a pair of curtains.
Now I can’t deny I have an affinity towards mothers of multiple children. I have five of my own. Would I have been tempted to go for the ten required for the award? Well yes, actually!
Unfortunately, the Mother Heroine award was abandoned in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union.
Oh no! I thought, that won’t fit with my contemporary book! So I continued my search.
Fortunately, President Putin decided to establish the “Order of Parental Glory” for parents (note, not just mothers) who have raised seven or more healthy children. Gosh – two more and I could have emigrated to Russia and got myself a badge!
It was a topic I could relate to, and it got me thinking about poor Mrs Molchalin. What if it had been her heart’s desire, her single aim in life to be a Mother Heroine? And what if all her hopes and dreams had been shattered because she was only able to have one child? Well you’ve read the book so you know what happens. She’s a tragic character but, at the end of the day I am more concerned for Manya, poor girl.
I will leave you with Babushka’s haunting words,
…well, you know the only thing Mrs Molchalin gave her daughter, and you know what it means because you’ve read the book. But if you haven’t read It’s Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella I expect you’d like to know what it was that Mrs Molchalin gave her daughter.
If you would like the answer you can buy It’s Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella on Amazon. Just click here, 😊 And when your beautiful book arrives, you will find the answer on page 31.