Ivan, Remember No Relations

In old-times Russian Empire, when a thief or a run-away slave was caught and interrogated, they were asked their name and origin. The answer was the same: “Ivan, Remember No Relations”. From those times a person who lost his roots is called “Ivan, who remembers no relation”. I was told this story by my chess coach, my Teacher, Ivan Alekseevich Sidorov. He was one of the most important people in my childhood. And not only mine. There are people who are regarded for turning bad kids good. He did better than that. He kept good kids good and made them better. . I have never heard anyone referring to him, even behind his back, without using his patronymics. That, in my opinion, is the greatest measure of respect.

It has been 12 years since I have seen him or heard from him. How did I become that “Ivan, who remembers no relation”? It is always easy to find an excuse: too busy, too far away, too many Mondays. How did I lose touch with a man who shaped me so much? We grow up, we move on, but loosing sight of people like Ivan Alekseevich is irreparable. I hope he is still alive and well. I hope I could find him to say: “My name is Albert, I remember what you did for us. Thank you.”

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