The Snow of My Childhood

florentina-apostolescu-photo Photo: Florentina A. 2017
The first snow of 2017 finally arrived; a couple of inches covered the ground early before sunrise, turning our world into a powdery-white winter wonderland. The woods were unusually quiet and the animals disappeared with the exception of the resident fox. She ran from the back bushes and left a trail of swirling dry snow disturbed by her bushy tail. My two squirrels were nowhere to be seen. Continue reading

How Much Did the Equally-Poor Proletariat Travel?

Romanian Family Rare photo of my mom and dad (second row left) and my grandma (bottom row), taken in the village
For the first twenty years of my life, I never traveled much. I have actually seen more of the world since I escaped the clutches of Ceausescu’s communism than I had actually seen of my own country as I was growing up. I changed that in the last five years when my husband and I did cover at least half of Romania. But I still have not seen the other half and I find that to be so sad because Romania is not that big of a country. It is beautiful, with stunning vistas and a rich history, but very small when compared to the United States. And I have seen a lot of the United States! Continue reading

The Kindergarten Booties

botosei Photo: noastracopilaria@yahoo.com

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,
And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free. – Kris Kristofferson’s song

The photograph of a pair of kids’ booties posted on a social website, “Copilaria anilor 80-90,” triggered a flood of memories – it was the exact pair that I used to wear as a child. They were the only ones available for purchase, and required uniform for all children who attended pre-school and kindergarten. Continue reading

The Polar Vortex Was Called Winter in My Childhood

104It was bitter cold last night. Tiny snowflakes started to fall in the afternoon, turning lawns into a fantastic winter wonderland. Snow began to accumulate like a soft immaculate blanket. Then the hawk came and started blowing the soft dry snow into swirls of wind, howling past the windows, biting and stinging cheeks with the pricking sensation of needles. The wind chill was below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
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My Christmas Tree

As long as I can remember, my Dad came home every December with a scraggly blue spruce, fragrant with the scent of winter, tiny icicles hanging from the branches. The frozen miniature crystal daggers would melt quickly on Mom’s well-scrubbed parquet floor. I never knew nor asked where he had found it, or how he could afford it. His modest salary of $70 a month barely covered the rent, utilities, and food. Mom had to work as well to afford our clothes. Prices were subsidized by the government and salaries were very low for everybody regardless of education and skill. We had to make do with very little.
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