Their life wasn't easy. Stalin's repressions got them shipped off to Siberia, to live in a tiny settlement in the middle of nowhere. Both of them worked hard, but still they could barely get by. Often the only food on their table was what they managed to collect in the forest. After the war ended, they were allowed to move back south, but not out of USSR. For many years, Grandma couldn't contact her remaining family. It only happened in the '60-s (don't remember the exact year). Her parents and sister were slaughtered, but she still had five brothers. How joyful she must have been when she found out they were alive!
Grandma and Grandpa never had much money, or any of the things we usually regard as "average lifestyle". They couldn't afford a car, fancy clothes, or trips abroad. Or even as much food as they could have wanted. As a matter of fact, the variety of products was small, and often Grandma would stand in line for hours in order to buy milk or eggs. They only got their own phone line and TV in the 70-s. Health care was not what we have today, either, and one of their 4 children died as a baby.
But whatever happened, they knew how to stay together and true to each other, and how to treat each other with generosity and love. Mom told me she never heard Grandma or Grandpa raise their voices, or speak unkindly to each other or to any person. They didn't dwell on things they couldn't have, and tried to make most of what they had. In the evenings, Grandma and her two daughters would sew or crochet together. They had a garden, which supplied them with fresh fruit, vegetables and berries, and the whole family worked there together.
... Now Grandma is 91, and has been a widow for many years. However, she is still full of joy and life, and enjoyes cooking, knitting and watching football championships. She lives with us, and we feel blessed to have her.
Grandma was about 25 when this was taken (sorry it's a bit blurry):
Grandma (center) with me and Mom's cousin: