first i wanted to write some text for this post, as usual. but analyzing all the thoughts that came into my mind i realized that a better way to express myself is to give you a fragment from a famous Romanian book called Childhood Memories, written by Ion Creangă, storyteller and memoirist. The book was translated into English a while ago under the title "Memories of My Boyhood". In this book the author gives an extraordinary tribute to his childhood, by reviving those days page by page. Actually, now that i think about it, things aren't that much changed in a certain way. Romania is, in proportion of 60%, still a rural country and many children are born and raise there until they have to go to college, if they go. Creangă's memories are in a way brighter than the reality today, when the children play less and work more, starting at the early age of six or seven.
I realize the fragment is quite long, but i have no doubt that you will enjoy it. it's a real delight. oh, and by the way, one more detail to increase your interest, almost every child had ore has to learn it by heart in secondary school, as a requirement for maternal language classes.
so.. there he goes:
"I don't pretend to know what other people are like, but for myself, I seem to feel my heart throb with joy even to this day when I remember my birthplace, my home at Humulesti, the post supporting the flue of the stove, round which mother used to tie a piece of string with tassels at the end of it, with which the cats played till they dropped exhausted, the flat ledge of the stove that I used to cling to when I was pulling myself up and learning to walk, the place on top of the stove where I used to hide when we children played at hide-and-seek, as well as other games and delights full of childlike fun and charm. Lord, what good times those were, for parents and brothers and sisters were hale and hearty, there was everything needful in the house, the sons and daughters of our neighbors were for ever romping with us, and everything was exactly as I liked best, without a shadow of ill-humor as if the whole world were mine! I myself was as happy as the day was long, whimsical and playful like the gusting wind.
Mother, who was well-known for her spells and cantrips, would say to me sometimes with a smile as the sun peeped from behind the clouds after prolonged rain: "Go outside, you fair-haired child, and laugh at the sun, maybe the weather will change." And the weather did change at my smile.
The sun no doubt knew what I was capable of, for I was my mother's son, and she in truth could work wonders: she would chase away the black clouds overhanging our village and drive the hail away into other places by sticking the axe into the ground, outside the door; she would so curdle water by means of a couple of beef bones that the people crossed themselves in amazement; she would hit the ground, the wall or any wooden thing that I bumped my head against saying: "Take that!" and forthwith the pain was gone.
When the red embers moaned in the stove, which is supposed to foretell wind and bad weather, or when the embers hissed, a sign that someone is talking about you, mother would scold the hearth and beat it with a poker to make the enemy shut up. More than that, if I didn't look as well as she thought I ought to, she would immediately lick her finger and make a muddy mixture with dust from the heel of her shoe, or, if she was in much of a hurry for that, she would take soot from the stove and say: "As heel or stove are free of the evil eye so let my baby be free of it!" and she would make a mark on my forehead lest her precious pet come to harm. These and many more things did she do.
That's what mother was like when I was a child, full of strange and wonderful practices, as far as I remember; and well do I remember, for she rocked me in her arms as I sucked at that sweet breast of hers and nestled in her bosom, babbling and fondly looking up into her eyes! I have taken my blood of her blood and my flesh of her flesh; I've learnt speech from her and wisdom from God at the time when a man has to distinguish between good and evil."
- Memories of My Boyhood (Childhood Memories), by Ion Creangă
Translated by Ana Cartianu and R.C. Johnston at Minerva Publishing House, Bucharest, 1978