In the late 1990s, Holly and I taught English classes during the summer semesters at a small university outside of St. Petersburg, Russia. One year, a professor joined our classes, to brush up on conversational English. Over those weeks, made longer by the famous White Nights, we had the delight of getting to know Vladimir a little more. We traded stories, and he shared books with us by his wife, who translated Russian poetry into English, and vice versa. We went mushroom hunting with his family in the grand forests north of the city, where I learned there are mosquitos that can bite through denim. But the most memorable time we spent with Vladimir was during a visit in March 2000 when he took us on a guided tour of St. Petersburg and shared stories of his youth during the siege of Leningrad during World War II.