Poplars and Nostalgia

I parked the rented beige Jetta under the tall tree that I had planted as an 8 year old, a life time ago. The entire street was shaded by poplars, painted white half way up the trunk to prevent insect invasions. The lush green trees have grown taller than the five story buildings surrounding them.

On a regular schedule, the Marxist community and street organizers would show up and corral everybody to a day of volunteer work, sweeping the streets, picking up trash, mowing the grass, planting trees, shrubs, pick up garbage, rocks, and pull weeds. Adults would work quietly, fearful of saying something that would be reported downtown, but the kids laughed and ran carefree in their exuberant playfulness.

The hill where I used to run sleds in wintertime was now occupied by 9-story apartment buildings, so clustered together that one could touch a neighbor’s hand in the other building through the bedroom window.

Near the stairs leading to another housing project below, there was a patch of heaven where I ran my sleigh many winters ago, laughing, falling, and rolling in the snow. It was now strangely covered in asphalt on a 30 degree incline.

I walked down trying to retrace my steps but I froze at the bottom of the hill. A large pack of street dogs was approaching, barking and growling. I went uphill quickly, regretful that I could not continue my exploration. The street below, with 40 or so homes still standing, was familiar – three of my school mates lived there with their families. I was surprised that these homes had not been demolished to make room for more high-rise ugly concrete block apartments. Utilizing every inch of space to the max was a primary goal of city planners.

My former home, a tiny match box sized apartment on the fifth floor, still painted the same dirty sea foam green, was oozing decay and pollution stains. Nothing has changed since 1977 when an earthquake damaged many buildings but somehow left ours with cracks and a bathroom window dangling chunks of concrete from the reinforced steel bars, like a loose tooth. That was my family’s bathroom window. The concrete bar was still missing and the window looked odd. Why fix it, nobody was going to climb to the fifth floor and invade the home through the gaping hole in the bathroom. The only addition to the old building was a security entry at the main door. All apartments had been bought for $30,000 each by the former communist era tenants who used to pay subsidized rent to the Communist Party.

The sidewalk was cracked, leading to the shopping center where we bought our milk, bread, bones with meat on them, wilted vegetables, and the few groceries available for which we stood in line a few hours every day. I was shocked that the building still stood. Half of it was abandoned in a pitiful state of decay; the other half did not fare much better but it was occupied. A lone, dingy grocery store sold a little bit of everything – the shelves were full of food and merchandise. I don’t know why but tears welled up in my eyes. I remembered the empty, clean shelves of my childhood, the pharmacy, the bakery, the dairy, the “cofetaria” selling sweets, the book store, and the pub always full of people who were trying to drown their sorrow in beer and plum brandy. They were long gone. The young shopkeeper ignored me after a cursory look at the middle-aged woman in front of him.

My old elementary school was still behind the shopping center, surrounded by the same fence and locked gates. It was freshly painted a happy yellow. The educationally-themed mosaic created by a commie artist on the left hand side of the building was still intact. It showed mother education as a goddess of communist learning holding a book adorned with a hammer and sickle.

I will never forget the misery and torture the dictator Ceausescu had subjected my people to during his reign of socialist/communist terror. Some individuals have short memories though, especially those who try to excuse the horrible treatment of a nation as a “fatherly,” well-intentioned attempt to rid the country of the national debt to the west.

A professor who used to be the communist party secretary to the university system during Nicolae Ceausescu tried recently to blame Ceausescu’s demise on his announcement in 1989 that Romania had paid off all its debts to the west; additionally, Ceausescu allegedly forbade the Romanian government to seek any foreign credit. In other words, Romania had become such a threat to the one world government bankers and their ill-gotten interest-based fortunes that they were able to get rid of Ceausescu and “punish him physically for his insolence.” Perhaps this professor forgot that Ceausescu did not consult the Romanian people if they were willing to suffer so much hunger, cold, poverty, neglect, misery, torture so that Romania would owe no money to the west. He also forgot the brutal abuse, imprisonment, and swift punishment citizens suffered if they dared to criticize the communist party.

This professor’s national debt explanation makes for an interesting conspiratorial theory. The powerful western bankers cowed by a “maverick” defiant dictator who stood in their way to control the world financially. God forbid Ceausescu’s move would be copied by other dictators and turn into a contagion around the globe, robbing the bankers of their fortunes acquired by shameless interest charged to poor countries. Did someone force his hand to sign on the dotted line? Did the dictator with an elementary school education not become a wealthy billionaire from these loans, and lived a life of luxury while his people starved? Did I miss something here?

Communism did not die behind the Iron Curtain in 1989 – it re-emerged in a more nefarious form around the globe, promoted by the compliant media and hypocritical Hollywood. McCarthy was right about some of them after all.

The has-beens of the old communism and total government control are nostalgic for the good ole days of totalitarianism, romanticizing the past, trying to reclaim their positions of power and privilege. The global communism of U.N. Agenda 21 is making great stride, using environmentalism, land preservation, zoning, and care for the planet as a tool. And the Fabian socialists in the west are winning the hearts and minds of low information voters who believe anything they are told over and over by the main stream media.

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