Thanks to Isabella Mori for this suggestion!
This also qualifies as a good childhood memory...
As far as I know (though at some point surely I must) I have no Russian ancestry. However, I was very fortunate, as a child, that my father made up stories for my brother and I (he refused to have a television in the house). In fact, Dad invented a mytho-comedic cycle that began on the Volga river and featured the famous boatmen of that area.
(I am not sure how he came to choose that setting, but I do recall a book of Russian folk tales that I read several times).
In any case, partly as a result, I was always curious about Russia. During the space race, that interest naturally grew. I remember visiting a booth at Expo 86 and purchasing a children's book by Yuri Gagarin.
Many years later, as a UBC employee, I was able to take a first year Russian language course. Since then I continue to take advantage of every opportunity to increase my vocabulary, although it is a slow process!