These are Russian lapel pins. Russians love their pins, and there’s millions of them floating around. This little display I have at home are hockey and 1980 Olympics pins, and of course, there’s a story here.
In 1991, I told my friends, a Russian couple living in Leningrad, which shortly after became St. Petersburg, to start sending me pins and I’ll sell them (three for five bucks) and raise enough money to bring them to Canada to see some hockey. I raised $4000, they came, and we saw two games in Calgary, one in Edmonton, and were invited to a closed practice in Calgary where this husband and wife met all the players, got their picture taken with Theoren Fleury, and at the practice, GM Doug Risebrough came up to our seats to say hello.
Now this is where I hope you keep reading. Just a week before this couple had even landed in Canada, after all the pin selling, after all the preparation, my first wife informed me she wanted a divorce. So the whole month the Russian couple were with us, my wife and I pretended all was well so we wouldn’t ruin their holiday. But I was a hurtin puppy, and when everyone went to bed, I stayed up and drank myself into oblivion.
Now, I hope you’re still reading, because the story takes another twist. Not long after the couple went back to Russia, a letter came saying that they were also getting a divorce.
Ten years later, I married this Russian woman.