Mom and Daughters

crocus-flower-spring-buhen-55828 (1)At least one continent is celebrating Mother’s Day today and since this great Nation adopted us, we celebrate it like everybody else. Flowers, gifts and kisses on my cheeks,I have a sweet time with my two daughters in the Bay Area up North in California.

As they sat up in bed next to me with a cup of coffee this morning, I was so grateful for my two beautiful little girls who turned into such amazing women. I remember them crawling on my lap, coloring a card with the word “mom” on top, with sticky fingers from a lollypop.

I love you, my girls!

 

 

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Mom’s Picture – Poem

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Mom’s Picture

Poem By Rodica Iova

My heart is full of your love.

I look at your picture on my nightstand

And I see you smiling at me.

I remember your blouse

With white and black pattern

And the scarf from dad.

You never had a necklace, mom

Because you placed yourself

On the bottom of the list all the time.

You gave me not only life,

But you gave yourself to me

To see me stretching my wings

To conquer the sky.

 

 

Ice Cream during the Communism

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There were basically two kinds of ice cream when I was little. Number one in the nation was vanilla ice cream. That was because the cost to make it was the lowest. Cocoa powder ice cream (not chocolate) was the second. Cocoa powder ice cream was the most popular one. Light brown, with a slim pinch of cocoa powder per piece to keep the cost of the production as low as possible, cocoa powder ice cream was out of this world for us.

I found out many years later that the base for the ice cream recipe was heavy cream in the beginning of the communism. They switched to milk with water after that when food started to be a problem.

There were another two kinds of ice cream you could get only in the sweet shops, raisins ice cream, pink and watery, and pistachio ice cream. I have no idea why they called it “pistachio” because nothing in it resembled with that flavor or color. The ice cream was green and had a sugary taste. But the elegant ladies wearing their floral dresses on summers ordered that kind at the cake shop. Once a week everybody could be a little snobbish.

I ate my first ice cream in my second grade. Not in a cone, but in a shell. Small and delicious, I was so grateful to my parents for buying it for me. They let me walk in front of them that Sunday, while mom and dad were arm in arm. Mom was wearing a pair of white lace gloves, the pride of her wardrobe, and high hills.

That was happiness.

 

The Stranger

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I was five or six years old and the whole street was our playground for my friends and I. My parents had me in the kindergarten during their work shift and the building was next to their factory. When they worked first shift and got out at 2:20 PM, I was at home by 3:15 PM, happy and ready to play outside.

I remember getting out on the street that day. I stopped on the sidewalk in front of our apartment complex’s big green gate looking for my friends. When this man showed up from nowhere. He wore a light brown raincoat and a hat and was holding a briefcase, the kind my dad had for work.

The stranger asked me, “Would you be so kind and show me where this person lives?”He didn’t say who that person was, but that didn’t bother me. I was happy to help. “Yes,” I said and walked down the street with him. After a few steps, he held my hand and I didn’t oppose.
While walking with him I asked who was the person he was looking for, but he didn’t say. As we were getting closer to the end of the street by river Bega, I knew my mom would give me a spanking for going so far from our home.

“I have to go back home,” I said. “My mom will punish me.” He clenched his hand on mine to not let go. “Let’s do something and I will let you go.” Not even at that point I was afraid. We turned the corner on the street by the river where the bread factory was. He got on the stairs in the quiet building, pulling my arm.
I followed him a few steps and then I pulled my hand out of his fist and ran away yelling, “My mom will beat me up.”

I kept running as fast I could, got back home, and never told my parents what happened. But that was my first and last time when I went with a stranger.

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PHOTO – My street with the bread factory on right #realstory #childpredators

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A Mother’s Day Story

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IT WAS the end of the summer in 1939 when my grandma from my mother’s side told grandpa, “I’m pregnant again.” He could tell his wife was pretty upset. They already had 5 children, and the oldest one married the fall before.
“What am I going to do? I’m old and my daughter is pregnant. I can’t have a child younger than my grandson,” she decided and run to the end of the garden to hide behind the trees and cry.
Her husband looked tough, but had a soft and carrying heart. He filled a mug with fresh water from the well and went to find his wife.
She was sitting on the grass, tears streaming on her cheeks. “What would people say?”
He crouched next to her and held her in his arms. “People would say that you have a husband and you two are having a baby.”
She saw him smirking under his mustache and pushed him away. “Stop laughing! I’m going to throw myself in the well.” She stood up and run to the courtyard. He reached her and grabbed her in his arms again. “You don’t do such thing! We will love this baby.”
It took a few weeks for grandma to come at peace with herself, time when she wasn’t left alone for one minute. There were either her husband with her, or her oldest daughter, to watch her.
“I will take the baby from you and raise him or her with mine,” the pregnant daughter told her mother for a few times. But little by little, her mother could feel a sentiment of love for the little one growing inside her.
That was how my mother came into picture during the 2nd WW and both her parents loved her to pieces.

PHOTO – Mom at 17 years old

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FOUR

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When my husband then came home from work told me that there were rumors about some hooligans and agitators who were under the Securitate’s radar, and that they were trying to destabilize our society. Some said they were Russians, but others said they were from the Western Europe or even the US. Nobody knew exactly what was happening.

The communist leaders in every factory had given strict orders to the workers that after their shift to go directly at home and stay out of the streets after the dark.

We followed our Saturday routine, with my precious chicken soup simmering on the stove, our weekly celebration. I also made crepes and the children were happy. I had left the warm water faucet on to catch the moment when the city would give us warm water and fill the bathtub.
“Will Santa ‘Mos Craciun’ come to us, mama?”
“Oh, yes,” I reassured my children.

The tradition was to get the Christmas tree only a few days before Christmas and hide it from the children. Then on Christmas Eve, while the little ones were sleeping, the parents would decorate it with Christmas treats ‘saloane’, apples and walnuts in their shell.
It was sad that I didn’t have the money to get the treats or gifts yet until the 23rd of that month when my husband would get his salary.

After giving the kids a bath and putting them to sleep, I took out their church outfits for the next morning. It was important to have them dressed “properly” in their Sunday-only clothes in order to fit in our Baptist Church. You could never be over-dressed, and as sad as it was, I knew I had to keep up with the majority and keep the appearances.

My best friend and I had planned to go to church together next morning and we were meeting at the tramcar’s station a block away from us.

We waited for a long time at the station until a passerby told us that there was no public transportation available. We didn’t know why, but I could see my husband and my friend’s husband whispering something in each other’s ear. We decided that we should not miss our church service and we started to walk, holding our children’s hands.

When we reached Maria Square we saw that the bookstore there had the window broken, and a pile of books were partially burned in the middle of the sidewalk. The destroyed books were Ceausescu’s political allocutions that nobody bought.
It was silence. There were no personal cars on the street but a military truck rolling down in a low speed.

We didn’t dare to say anything to each other, but pulled the children’s hands to walk faster and kept up to the church.

THREE

THREE
My best friend who lived two blocks away called me right after my daughter went to school. She asked how I was feeling, but I could sense there was more she wanted to talk to me. Our conversations on the phone were listened by the secret police Securitate, I knew that. Not only ours, but of the entire country.

People spied on people, and Securitate spied on everybody.

“Did you hear anything about what was going on at The Maria Square?” She whispered while I was taking my son’s jacket off.
“No. What?”
We let the children play in the boys room and we went in the kitchen.

“Somebody said there were people who gathered in front of the Reformat Church to back up their pastor, pastor Tokes.”
I didn’t know who pastor Tokes was. The Reformat Church had their services in Hungarian and I didn’t speak the language.
“The Securitate was going to evict him from the parochial house because he spoke against the system from the pulpit. His congregation didn’t let them take him, but made a human chain in front of the main door, in the street. More of that, people from our church and our pastor and people from the Pentecostal Church joined them and stayed there through the night.”
I couldn’t understand. “How could that help?”

My friend continued in a low voice. “They sang hymns and prayed together and the communists just sat there. Then somebody shouted, ‘Freedom! We want freedom!’ And everybody called for freedom in one voice.”

I was paralyzed. “Did they arrest them?”
“I don’t know. We’ll find out more when our husbands will come home from work.”

It was still morning and my little son and I left her house to go and stand in the line for food. I was stacking up on butter, eggs and flour of good quality for Christmas. Our rations were small, but every day I would get something and, being with my son, we could get double portions.

It was ice cold out there and the line was outside, as usual. We took our spot and I gave my son a sugar candy to keep him happy while waiting in the cold winter wind.
He was used to that.