Antique Vintage Portrait Retouching Restoration Photography Cabinet Card Boys
FRONT & BACK:
Portrait of my father, Kiva Polivy & his 7 year older brother, Calvin Polivy, in Kaluga Village just south of Moscow, Russia, circa 1917.
This is the front of a "cabinet card" containing a professional portrait of my father at 3 years old in 1917, Akeem Gregorivich Polehvo (Kiva Gregory Polivy) and his 7 year old brother, Cortz Polehvo (Calvin Polivy) in Russia, circa 1917. This is just when the Russian Revolution was in full swing.
My grandparents, Bertha & Harry Polivy, had an upper-middle class life in Kaluga Village, just south of Moscow by 20 miles, approx. The heartland! My grandmother was a watchmaker and my grandfather a jeweler, which is how my father learned the trade, later in the USA.
They had a good life, unlike so many others in those times. Unlike so many Jews, they did not have to live in "ghetto" areas. The Russian Revolution was beginning and going through many changes. Totalitarian Soviet Russia was on its way in with Communism at its forefront.
Fortunately, my grandfather, Harry, was also a scribe, for the Czar's generals and then later, the "Proletariat Comrades", as well. Some "higher-ups" told my family that my dad's older brother, Calvin, was in for trouble as a Jew, attending "Gymnasium", the Russian military HS (which was an honor from the generals that they got him in). Being Jewish and mid-class wasn't a good combination. They were given the go-ahead to leave Russia/U.S.S.R., legally.
We had family in upper NYC already, so they took 2 months to get through Europe by train and waited in Amsterdam for 4 months. They got onto the 2nd to last legal ship to America called the, Odessa, in 1922-1923. By then, Joseph Stalin took complete control and began to go wild with his horrific "pogroms" against all kinds of people. He killed millions more people than Hitler, in the end. My family lucked out big time!
My family had their heads shaved clean to prevent or get rid of lice. My Aunt Anne, was a year old. They left most of their possessions behind but they did take their gems, gold and beloved samovar, (a traditional sterling silver urn, usually, to keep hot water all day long with small flame below tea). It rocked to pour as on gimbles.
My father used the name Charlie for a year or so. He desperately wanted to assimilate with American culture; and, that he did. After a year or so, he was proud to use his real name. He met & married my mom, Virginia Wise at 18-20 years. My father graduated St. John's Law School in Brooklyn, NY, but did not take his bar exam. He was legally blind in his left eye and so was rejected for active military duty.
Military put him to work right away when they realized he was a master watchmaker and jewler! He went right into watchmaking full-time for the US military, Navy Seals, for jewelry accounts in Wall Street area throughout mid-town and jewelry districts during, "The Great Depression" and WWII. He became extremely successful as, "Kiva Polivy Watch Company". Dad was a talented, gentle and kind man. He was also a very good business man. He passed away in 2002 at 88 years of age of natural causes. He is much missed.