A Birthday Kiss
Some birthdays you just can’t forget
Marisha Toumanova and I were born on the same day, in the same room, but a year apart, more than 80 years ago in the mission hospital at Aba, a small station in the Northeast Corner of what was then the Belgian Congo.
Marisha’s parents were Russian aristocracy who fled Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. My parents were Americans who fled the United States because of the scandal of a mixed marriage in that my father was Baptist and my mother was Presbyterian.
The Toumanova’s had a coffee plantation. If you want to know what life on a coffee plantation in Central Africa was like, rent the movie “Out of Africa” with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, if you can still find it.
My parents were missionaries. If you want to know what the life of a missionary is like, don’t go to movies or anywhere else where you might have fun.
The Toumanova’s plantation was twenty miles from where we lived on the Aba–Dungu Highway, which was a single-lane, gravel road, but the government called it a highway, probably because it was the only road that went from Aba to Dungu some100 miles away. I’ve seen farm lanes that were bigger and in better condition than that highway, but I digress… Continue reading