Lee Harvey Oswald’s Lesson

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Lesson by Lobo Tiggre – International Man

It’s disturbing to suddenly find that one has something in common with the likes of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Fortunately, the commonality is merely circumstantial: we both came to Minsk, Belarus and fell in love with a woman here.

But it was still something to discover at dinner here in Minsk last night. After a fabulous feast made by my amazing wife for our family here, we were all relaxing around the table, chatting about children and whatnot. During a lull in the conversation, Grandfather looks at me and asks if I know Oswald…

I do know someone in the mining business named Oswald, but that couldn’t be it, so I asked who he meant. The conversation, with a little translation help via my wife went something like this:

Grandfather: “Oswald, who shot Kennedy.”

Me: “Ah, yes.”

Grandfather: “Moscow sent him here to Minsk. It was a much smaller city then. It was easier for them to keep an eye on him here than in Moscow or Leningrad. They followed him everywhere. They were glad to have an American defector, but they weren’t sure he wasn’t a spy.

Me: “Wow. I didn’t know that.”

Grandfather: “They gave him a job at the factory I worked at. We worked together as metalworkers for about two years. We all gave him a Russian nickname and called him Aleksey. He met a girl here, Marina. They had a daughter who was born 10 days before my son. We shared the gift pool our co-workers at the factory put together for the babies, because everyone was paid only once per month.”

Me: “What was Oswald like, as a person?”

Grandfather: “They paid him a lot. He also got money from some international organization. But there were no bars or anywhere to spend the money, so it piled up. He had a nice apartment overlooking the river. With these advantages, the ladies really liked spending time with him, and he slept with a lot of them.

“He liked to read the newspapers. He would sit at our workbench wrapping a piece of scrap metal around a screwdriver or something as he read. It made a most annoying sound.

“He also smoked a lot. He’d take lots of cigarette breaks. So when the supervisor came around, Oswald was often not at his place, but out smoking. The supervisor would go tell him to get back to work, of course. He asked his friends what to do, and they told him to tell the supervisor to “f*cK off” (in Russian). Oswald did exactly that the next time the supervisor interrupted his smoke, very loudly. It was right outside the window so everyone in the factory heard him.”

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