Clary Estes is a documentary photographer from Central Kentucky who works internationally on stories about the human condition.
Focus:Photographer, Photojournalist, Filmmaker
Skills:Research, Film Scanning, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premier, Apple Final Cut Pro, Photo Editing
Before the family had been deported to Kazakhstan, Ana and Pasha’s mother, Maruşca was in hiding from the Soviets, working by night in the neighboring village of Caiinar-Vechi (pictured above), about 8 miles away from Vadeni. She would walk back and forth between the two villages in order to make money and care for her young daughters. “We would wash her feet [when she arrived home at night], but the water would become red, for she was walking barefoot, poor soul, through the woods and thorny bushes.” – Pasha Graur
Maruşca had to go to extreme lengths at times to hide from the Soviet militias who were looking for her. Ana recalls the day her mother was forced to hid in a hot, newly used, oven to evade the authorities, "[The Soviet authorities] were watching for our mother but they couldn’t find her. One day she left the house, thinking that no one was watching, but when she came to the yard of Ilena Repesco (a neighbor), two Russians with weapons came up from behind her. Tanti Ilena didn’t know where to hide her, so she quickly hid her in the hot oven from which she had just taken out the bread, putting hemp bundles in front of it. The two Russians had seen that our mother had entered the gate but they did not notice where she went from there. They entered Aunt Ilena’s house and asked her if somehow a woman had entered the house. Because of fear, dear, kind Aunt Ilena suddenly had an idea to save Mother, and she said to the Bolsheviks, 'Yes, the woman you are looking for came through the garden and left out the back. If you go quickly you can catch her near the ravine.'
The two Russians went out looking for my mother, and Aunt Ilena went quickly into the house and pushed aside the bundles from the front of the oven and pulled out my mother, who was more dead than alive. All day my mother stayed at Aunt Ilene’s house, but that night she returned home and told us what happened. I can never forget when old Petrea Sochirca (another neighbor), with a wooden leg, came and knocked on the door at midnight and told my mother, 'Marusca, run! They are coming after you!' My mother jumped the fence and hid in Petrea’s cornfields until morning, escaping this time."