Christmas caroling in Romania, 1841 Photo: Wikipedia
Christmas was my Dad bringing home proudly a scraggly fir with sparse branches – fragrant with the smell of winter, tiny icicles hanging from the branches, miniature crystal daggers, melting on my mom’s well-scrubbed parquet floor. I never knew nor asked how he could afford it from his $70 a month salary that barely covered the communist subsidized rent, utilities, and food. No matter how bare the branches of my Christmas tree were, it was magical to me. Continue reading →
My sweet Mom in better times, 2015
Entering the nursing home, I never know what human drama peppered with dark comedy emerges. It is a life that most Americans turn their eyes and minds away from. The residents are the forgotten sick, disabled, recuperating, and old Americans about whom few dare to whisper. “This is where people go to die,” I was told by a very good friend. “I would never put my mom in such a place.” But this is where people live now and they want dignity and proper medical care delivered with humanity and patience. Continue reading →
Princess, whom I adopted and saved
In our throwaway society, where nothing is sacred anymore and is discarded with the speed of an unwanted darkening banana peel or a lit cigarette butt out the window of a moving car, the miser in me keeps coming out periodically. Continue reading →
My second grade class, almost 50 years ago
I found a photograph of my second grade classroom with students in dark uniforms, mostly devoid of smiles, with sad and serious faces. It is a depressing moment in time that speaks volumes of the strict disciplinarian code enforced in communist schools.
Children had to stand when called upon to speak, or when asked a question. If they took notes, hands were busy writing. When asked to pay attention to the teacher, they had to keep their hands behind their backs in a very uncomfortable, back-numbing position, leaning against the wooden bench behind. If anybody entered the classroom, the entire student body had to stand and greet them according to rank. The word ‘comrade’ teacher or professor, followed by name, was required to be used at all times.
Modesty and protection of the honor of the classroom, of the school, of the communist party had to be a very important goal of learning. Nobody was allowed to use hateful and insulting language, to exhibit nationalism, superstition, religiousness, or mysticism. If anybody failed in the subject of school discipline, the entire student body was to rebuke that student and take a stance against the offender. Parents were called at school, reprimanded, and embarrassed in front of all the other parents present as inadequate members of the socialist society. Continue reading →
I was surprised by the statement made by former Florida governor Jeb Bush at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in 2013. “Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans. Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity.” (Aaron Blake, Jeb Bush: U.S. Economy needs immigrants because they’re ‘more fertile,’ Washington Post, June 14, 2013) Continue reading →
My mom’s hands are now trembling. She has difficulty holding a cup without spilling it. Her hands fail her more times than I can count. They are still beautiful and soft, the hands who caressed my forehead when I had a fever, the hands who held my little hands and the hands of my children when we learned to walk and to cross the street safely. Mom’s strong, loving hands rocked the cradle, guided the stroller, pushed the swing, or held us while we fell asleep enchanted by her made-up fairy tales. Continue reading →
It does not matter how many weeks of vacation (Europeans get five), often paid by the nanny state, leisure time and holidays are not enough for the socialist-minded, entitled liberals. In these five weeks of vacation, employees have the choice to go to spas abroad, often in five star hotels, where pampering, massage, physical therapy, mud baths, sulphur baths, excellent food, and strolls in the most beautiful resorts of Europe are all subsidized by the generous employers “nudged” by socialist policies or by the government. Continue reading →
Princess, the cat we babysat for a military family assigned overseas, was pregnant. What a joy! We had no idea because she was a plump kitty. She gave birth on January 18 to three smoke-grey kittens and a yellow one. She dropped him on the garage floor far from warmth and his mother’s care. We found him meowing weakly on the cold cement and we decided to adopt him. Who can resist the determined and lucky runt of the litter with such a will to live? We gave the other three to good homes and returned mom, Princess, to its rightful owners when they returned. Continue reading →
Sweet Lucy moves painstakingly slow and carefully, her arthritis twisting her back in pain, forcing her to slow down. The sunshine turns her hair into a fiery mane, warming and soothing her painful arthritic joints. She sits down in her favorite chair on the patio, taking in the gentle breeze with a sigh of elation and a smile when she notices the ducks floating on the nearby pond.
The first 48 years of her life were very hard and deprived under communism. When she arrived here in 1980, she was so thin and malnourished – she looked like a skeleton, with sunken eyes and pallid skin. She never returned to Romania except for brief visits. Her life was so much easier here and my beautiful daughters became our lives and her universe. Continue reading →