Russian Nesting Dolls

Russian Nesting Doll, Matyroshka
Russian Nesting Doll, Matyroshka

When I was a young girl I remember admiring this doll that my grandfather had in his room. It was so beautiful and delicate, yet also mysterious because she was not merely one doll, but she had multiple dolls hidden inside of her. One by one, I would open her up and reveal a smaller, although identical looking doll as the previous one. Once I was done, there were five dolls lied out across the table. My grandpa, who immigrated with his parents and twelve siblings from the Ukraine in the 1920's, would come over and point to the smallest one and say, "That's you. When you're all done growing up you will be the biggest one. You'll always be the same person, just a bigger version of yourself." He had kept this doll that belonged to his sister that lived far away from us as a reminder of the place of his birth and it was within this doll that I felt a connection to my ancestry. Playing with a Russian doll, or Matyroshka as they are called in Russia, I felt in tune with my roots because I knew that back in Russia, there was another little girl playing with these same dolls as I was doing here in the United States.

Year: 1928

– April Jenelle Diaz

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant