Happy to be here OLENA YEVTESHYNA

Giving Thanks

November 26, 1998|By Linell Smith

On Thanksgiving Day, 10-year-old Olena Yevteshyna will feast upon turkey, blinis, caviar and lots of fruit -- and watch the grown-ups in her life toast the holiday with Russian vodka.

Now in her fourth year in America, the fourth-grader at Mount Washington Elementary School wants everyone to know how thankful she is that her grandparents brought her and her mother to Baltimore from Ukraine.

Olena's grandfather, Oscar Elzee, has lived in America for 20 years. He owns the Dudes and Dolls Billiard Club in Pikesville where Olena's mother, Victoria, sometimes lends a hand when she is not helping to take care of Olena's 89-year-old great-grandmother.

Olena was born in Dnepropetrovsk, an industrial city of roughly 1 million people between Kiev and Odessa. Now she and her family live in Stevenson in a 138-year-old stone mansion with an 8-year-old poodle named London.

"I like having more friends than I did in Russia," Olena says. "And there are better schools. And, in Russia, you have to go to school on Saturday."

Olena says she hopes to become a doctor. At the moment, though, her favorite subject is math. But just in time for turkey day, she has also learned a lot about the Piscataway and Nanticoke Indian tribes, as well as one of the region's best-known historical figures: Misty of Chincoteague.

Pub Date: 11/26/98

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