Homage to my Beloved Mother

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The other day I invited a few Italian colleagues and friends for a brunch, Romanian style.

I woke up at 6:30 Am to make the dough for the bread and dried fruits rolls because both had to rise twice before baking them.

While doing that, my thoughts went to my mother from whom I learned to cook and bake from a very early age.

She used to cook the most delicious soups in the whole world, bake the most fragrant sweets cheese pies in this entire universe, and I used to think I will never be able to make any of that. I seriously believed she was a sort of witch or something.

I wrote a few phrases about her in my short eBook, published on Amazon. Those who managed to read it, know about it. Anyhow, there is going to be a lot more about her and my father in my integral autobiography, which will be published in hard copy in the next few months.

My mother will turn 82 shortly, same as my father. She seldom cooks nowadays as she hasn't been very well in the last 10 - 20 years.

Born in 1935 when Romania was a Kingdom under the reign of Carol II (from the dynasty of the House of Hohenzollern), she worked for rich people on their land from an early age until her parents became relatively wealthy.

My mother also lived and survived the atrocities and the hunger of the World War II, to be catapulted in completely opposite types of political games.

From 1947 to 1970 the country underwent several changes of names and rulers. From Kingdom to Socialism, from Socialism to Popularism, and from there to Communism; back and forward into an absolute chaos. Many individuals fought for the supreme power and no mass media to let people know what was happening, however, life moved on.

During this turmoiled period, my parents (born in the same year and village) met, fall in love, and got married in October of 1953.

One day, my parents powerless witnessed at how all their land disappeared in an intricate and absurd system called Collectivisation.

None of my parents remembers exactly which year that abomination took place for them (the Collectivisation was made in stages), but my mother suddenly turned into a slave on her own land. My father was "luckier" because he had a job in the city.

In 1967, when Nicolae Ceausescu became the President of Romania, new rules were imposed and many things changed again. At first, was just confusion, then Ceausescu started to "dream big" for the country. He did it all on his own, whatever he commanded was law (obviously) and people paid a huge price, some with their lives.

Between 1954 and 1977, my mother became pregnant 12 times. Minus a miscarriage and a sibling (a boy) who passed away when he was just 6 months old, she still managed to raise 10 children.

During all these years, pregnancy or not, my mother was forced to work the land for the state every single day in which the weather permitted. That explains the abortion.

She wasn't allowed to stay home, not even in the last days of the pregnancy. She could have brought us into this world while seeding potatoes, weeding corn, harvesting hemp or beetroots. However, the Universe was "good" to her and didn't let that happen.

My first siblings (2 sisters) were born at home, with the assistance of a midwife, and the rest of us had "the luxury" of a Maternity house in the village.

In 1956 my father was conscripted into national military service for three years. My young mother remained home with two babies (one had 6 months and the other 1 and 7 months of life) to raise on her own in a tiny house made from dried mud.

The stories she's told me from that period tore my heart apart. Every single time she speaks about her life, I can't hold back my tears.

She was scared of lightening and when was about to rain, she used to take her two little girls in her arms, sit in a corner of the room, and cry her heart out from terror.

One New Year's Eve, she barricaded herself and the little daughters in the only room they had, terrified that a drunk person could get in and hurt them. "Outside was so much joy, children were singing traditional songs, the bells were ringing... and we three were weeping in despair, longing for your father to come home... Then someone started to heavily knock on the door, but I was too afraid to open. The person spoke: 'Maria (Mary), I know you're in there, I can hear you breathing, please open the door.' It was my brother-in-law and I still didn't want to show my face, he could have been inebriated. I couldn't take that risk. But he insisted promising that will knock the door down if I didn't unlock it. So I did, against my will. He wasn't drunk and invited me to go to the next house where another brother-in-law had a gathering. I said I can't go with two babies and bother everyone. I was holding one child - the youngest - at my chest, and the oldest by one hand so he bent and grabbed the oldest in his arms and run away. I had no other choice than following him. My heart was heavy and I had no desire of celebrating. Inside the house was a warm atmosphere and everybody was listening to Radio Deutsche Welle (Free Europe). It was utterly prohibited listening to such transmissions, so we carefully locked the doors after us. Mihai (Michael), the former king, was giving his annual speech from exile. He was always clear and concise, with a nice calm voice that touched your heart in profundity. I still remember some of his words: 'Don't lose hope, my people, we will soon be reunited.' And we all started to cry as we were groping in the dark."

It was a different world, you see, which only a few remember.
As I said, I might not be lived a war, but when I listen to my parents' real tales, a storm of conflicts assails me. I can feel their pain and fear, the regrets of broken dreams, the tiredness, the complete desolation and helplessness, and I cry with them on wounds that never healed and scars that will forever hurt.

So, I want to thank you, MOTHER, for everything... You did what you could with what you had. Your memories might fade away in your mind, but I am putting them on paper so they will live eternally.

Thank you for teaching me (even if sometimes indirectly) to cook and bake, to sew and weave, to be elegant and gracious, to be a sensible person so I could be able to take care of myself in a different era which, in some way, is still the same.

It is for you - and my father - that I am fighting now. May the Universe be on my side. <3

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Thank you for your visit. See you soon, amazing human being.


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