Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

I Myself at Home With Dictionary

SOMETIMES things happen that remind you that for all its problems, the United States remains a magnet of hope for many in the world. A few days ago a member of the editorial-page staff arrived feeling burdened by news of violence and hunger, in the US as well as abroad. On top of that, he had been working on his tax return the night before. It was raining that morning. Schedule C was a wreck, and his feet were wet.

In the incoming mail bin was an odd letter from the Soviet Union, "Moskva," directed only to "Editorial Office of Newspaper The Christian Science Monitor," in clean block letters. A lot of mail shows up here from the far corners of the world, but not a lot from Moscow. This envelope was neat and thick, covered with Russian stamps and postal cancellations. And its lettering was hopeful looking.

About these ads

Following are the contents of that letter, slightly abridged, with a reproduction of part of the letter. One or two corrections have been made, but generally it's word for word. The parentheses are Mr. Teryohin's when he is not sure of the exact English usage. He was, after all, alone "at home with dictionary," as he says. A more forthright appeal for human betterment hasn't been seen for some time.

Good Morning! Ladies and Gentlemen! To you appeal citizen of the Soviet Union! Allow me to introduce myself: I'm TERYOHIN, name GLEB, patronymic LEONIDOVICH. I was born in 1960 year in Moscow-city. I very want to live and to work in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. For help I make up one's mind to appeal in your strong and influential newspaper "THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR." I agree to any work. I am ready on any difficulties, who will be in first 5 years of life in USA. I worked chauffeur on diverse automob iles and tractors.

I agree to work by driver any of automobiles: regular bus, coach bus, trolley bus, motor lorry, dump-body truck, taxi, personal motor car, trailer-refrigerator, automobile first medical aid, fire-engine, post's automobile, prime mover-technical aid, road-roller, asphalt paver, automobile for tidying of street dust, grain harvester combine.

I agree to work: worker, metalworker by repair of automobiles, janitor, worker in agricultural farm. I agree to any work. (Janitor-man who takes care of the yard and the pavement in front of a house.) I understand, what in big towns difficulty to find a work. Therefore I agree to work in different regions.

Allow me to tell a little about myself. My nationality Russian. My father Russian (1930 year birth). My mother also Russian (1930 year birth). I completed 10 classes of daily school in 1977 year. Then I worked electrician and learned in evening courses of driver automobiles. Then I six months worked by chauffeur on motor lorry (truck). Then military service (1978-1980). After army I worked and continue to work by chauffeur. Relations and familiars (friends) in USA I have not (don't have).

Respected Gentlemens! In Moscow people speak, what for an immigration to USA of every man pay private social organizations. Then in USA a Russian emigrant pay off back all sum of money, who was use (spent) on him immigration. This cost approximately near $2,000 of USA. People also speak, what have (be available) dishonests, dishonorable emigrants, who this debt $2,000 of USA not (don't) reimburse or else avoid (deviate, evade) from payment of debt.

I ready to sign (to write) guarantee obligation or credit pecuniary agreement (agreement state or agreement with business-man employer-man, plenipotentiary of private firm), what in case (occasion) of my immigration to USA I at once shall work and at once shall put aside money on payment of debt. I ready to live in penury and in privations until, that will do pay off all of debt. On one's arrival to USA I right away (at once) will go off in search of a living. I shall look for a work starting with AIRPO RT.

About these ads

Respected Gentlemens! Possibly you will be unpleasantly to read my letter, because a letter in English language translated I myself at home with dictionary. In the letter for sure much of mistakes. But if I shall give my letter to professional translator and will pay him a money for translation from Russian into English, then you will think, what I easily speak in English. But it is not true and I don't want you to deceive. At the same time, if you will demand, in order to (that) the following my regist ered letter I must to write correctly (grammatically), then I without fail will ask about help of professional translator. I have elementary knowledges in English language. Excuse me at coarse grammatical mistakes.

Dear Sir! I with big hope post you this my a letter. I understand, what in USA be required highly educated, skilled specialists, but I common driver of automobile. None the less I shall believe in positive a decision of my request. My petition about immigration to United States of American for constant place of residence.

Respected Gentlemens! I shall hope on your help or concrete a consultation and information about questions, conditions, demands of immigration to USA. I shall be infinitely grateful if you will write and will send to me to Soviet Union by post a letter. I without fail will answer on everything your questions.


Yours sincerely!

We were proud and a little abashed at having been selected for this appeal. It was an unexpected reminder that this country continues to exert a pull on the world's aspirations. From where we see it, the United States's faults are magnified and the advantages often missed, but for people like this letter writer, the simple ability to work as hard and as freely as possible is paramount. Someone here remarked that this emotion could have been found in a million human breasts at anytime in the last h undred years of American history.

We'll be happy to pass Mr. Teryohin's address on to anyone who thinks he has need for his services. He will probably be a very good worker at any of the tasks he has listed. Or maybe with a little work even as a translator from Russian to English. Especially if honest directness is required. Just him with dictionary.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.