It was springtime 1970 when my parents couldn’t get their time off for their vacation for summertime. They could buy some vacation time in the mountains at a reasonable price through the Union, but only during my school.
One day dad came home with tickets for us to go to a resort in the mountains for 12 days in the month of October. I remember mom and dad sitting at the table in the kitchen and trying to figure it out how to make that work.
“We can’t take her from school for 12 days,” mom said.
They both knew that. After toiling in the factory for a whole year, staying at home during their short vacation wasn’t a happy choice. My parents called me at the table to talk to me.
“How do you feel living with your uncle and aunt while we go to the mountain this coming fall?”
It was not the news I was waiting for.
“Are you going without me?” I asked. They always took me with them. My sister was three years old at that time. “What about Simona?”
“We want to take her with us.”
I was smart enough to understand that any pleading wouldn’t make any change. So, I saved my breath. But I didn’t give up on one strange plan for an 11 years old. Since our family and my uncle’s family had a common yard, my parents left me at home by myself, having my aunt and uncle checking on me during the day.
When I told my teacher that I was at home by myself and I could read my books for as long as I wanted, poor man was perplexed. I went to the school library and filled my mom’s grocery bag with lots of storybooks. As I walked back home, I stopped at the store and bought candies, chocolates and crackers, keeping in mind that I couldn’t spend all the money in one day.
My aunt was waiting for me with homemade lunch. I ate and then walked to our apartment. With nothing interesting on the TV, I dove into reading. Early in the morning I continued reading and eating sunflower seeds in bed, storing the shells in a cup.Then I went to school.
I was happy with eating nothing else for breakfast and having salty croissants with butter for my snack at school.
The twelve days went by like a beautiful dream. I had borrowed more books from the library and ate only sweets for my dinners.
As a surprise for my parents, I bought a living cornish hen from the farmers, asked one of my neighbors to cut it for me and I made my first soup.
Under the communism we had to survive.
Forty-five years later, I’m still here.