A town of too many tales
I don’t know how I feel about my native town. I was born there, but because my parents had to work and I had no one to take care of me, I lived almost my entire childhood (up to 6yo) with my grandma, 400km away in the countryside. It may not sound too much 400km today, but at the time, when cars and gas were a luxury and there was only one overcrowded train to get you somewhere nearby, it was like an ocean apart. It was not a bad childhood, but I know for sure it was one of longing. I don’t want to get too deep into this topic, but I clearly remember two episodes: one when I was sniffing on one of my mom’s dresses because it smelled like her, and one when I was sick crying for few days after my mom visited and left back. I came out ok, so no big deal, but I can’t pretend the feeling of abandonment was not there.
Anyway, back to the town I only came to live in when I was about 6yo, Targu-Jiu, I think I loved it back then, but it is hard to explain to someone from the Western world how was it like living in a Communist country as a child. Every day I was spending probably a couple of hours in queues to buy bread, oil, sugar, chicken or, in the special days, oranges and chocolate. It didn’t bother me, everyone else was doing it, so it was a kind of a ritual. The rest of the time, when I was not at school or doing homework, I was playing outside, reading books and my obsession, arranging books in my parent’s bookshelves. I don’t remember I felt like missing on anything, but at the same time, truth be told, I didn’t know what the alternatives were. Where food is concerned, I know we didn’t have all the choices the western world had, but we were probably eating better and healthier than other kids in the world. Every family in Romania had a farm at the countryside, and we always had fresh food straight from the farm.
To cut this long story short, my parents built a house and moved from the apartment we lived back then, so I didn’t get the chance to see that neighborhood for a very long time. This time we made the time and went back for a little walk down the memory lane. The place seemed so small and crowded, but still full of life. I don’t imagine is a bad life for kids living there, but I would imagine is a life everyone would want to escape at one point or another, even if it’s only moving closer to the city center (it’s a small town, so it would’t be that far anyway). I have no idea how to describe this place, but it’s like anything else I’ve seen in my travels.
And a different part of the city, one that wasn’t touched by communism as much. One part where you can get an idea of what this town could had been had the plague that is communism never existed. Many times I wonder what if… 😦