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Memories

I’m the greatest nostalgic you’ll ever know in this life. I treasure things that most people don’t even notice, let alone remember and I make history out of things that most would label as junk. I’m not materialistic in the dictionary-meaning of the word, my materialism represents a tendency of falling in love with things that awaken in me special memories of special instants that are now far gone.

Things not only have a voice of their own that they only seem to reveal to me, but they also speak volumes. They speak about sunny mornings filled with the smell of brief rain, about lazy afternoons in the park, about the sparkles in my grandmother’s eyes, about that special Sunday when my mother laid a blanket on the living room floor and we pretended to go to picnic with my dolls, about the book that I read over 5 times when I was turning five years old. All the things that may seem junk to you are secret and sacred treasures for me.

My biggest pleasure is to go wondering through my mother’s boxes or through old carton boxes with stuff from my childhood. Old books, ragged dolls, things that most people don’t even remember having. I have them vivid in my head, even more vivid that in the times when they were actively populating my house and my life. Why? I wouldn’t know. Maybe it’s my inner structure, I’m an inborn nostalgic, destined to make ties with everything and to put her heart and soul in anything she touches. I’m okay with that.

However, I do sometimes feel it’s more than that. Those objects, as old and as meaningless they may seem to another person, are the sole carriers of times gone by, of people whom are not among us anymore, of days in which things were so simple, of years in which I was carefree, of years which meant something to me. And as much as I love my life right now, I know it’s those years that have brought me to where I am now and maybe this is why they mean so much to me. My childhood was happy, it was amazing, that’s why I feel love for anything that evokes it.

I grew up in the times of communism. My first 6 years of life were spent in a system of scarcity where anything you could find was a gift from God. Daily food, a pair of jeans (the absolute luxury), a piece of clothing from „the outside world”. This is how „my little dress from America” was born, as a gift from an Armenian friend of my grandmother’s who had left for the U.S. before 1989, along with Frosa, the doll that was „the love of my childhood” (also from the US) and Ritzy-Pitzy, another doll of American citizenship. Those were my first treasures and the first things that made me feel different and lucky. Scarcity makes you turn anything into a blessing and into a gift. And I was indeed lucky and blessed.

I remember a scene in „The Girl With A Pearl Earring”, the book of Tracy Chevalier (I totally disliked the movie), in which Griet sheds a tear seeing that Vermeer’s daughter had broken her piece of faience with a boy and girl holding hands, a piece of faience that her father himself had made and which, as poor and as humble as it was, represented a great treasure to her. That was such a meaningful and heartbreaking moment in the book for me, since I can totally relate to that. My treasures from my childhood were things that any kid of our days would throw into the trash bin without thinking twice. They were poor and primitive things compared to the wonders one can find nowadays. However, they were mine. And this it what makes them the most important in the world for me.

For me, history is made out of small objects that tell stories. Of old framed pictures in black and white and of porcelain figurines that my grandmother had tied small ribbons on with her own hands. Of an small wooden cinnamon-grinding-mill that my grandfather used and that now resides in my kitchen. I am a supporter of modernity, but I love old things. They tell stories. And, in the end, that’s what it’s all about.

I was thinking the other day about all the things of my childhood that meant something to me and I set as a task for myself finding as many as them as I can (at least those that are still in some dusty box somewhere) by the end of the summer. It’s something I always felt the need of doing but never allowed myself the time to actually do.

Among these?

*My „little dress” from America that I had when I was 3-years-old.

*Frosa, the doll that I had since I was born until I turned 10 and that I absolutely adored. I may not have had pets as a child, but I loved that piece of cloth as if it were the most precious thing in the world.

*”The Adventures of I-Dunno” by Nikolai Nosov; „Povesti”/Tales by Petre Ispirescu; „Nu pagadi nu zaiet”(A Russian book that I adored) and a couple other books that I don’t remember the titles of but that I have vividly in my mind.

*The sacred image of St.Dumitru that my grandfather had hanging on his living room wall his entire life and that had been an inheritance from my grandmother’s great-grandmother.

*The plastic duck with a long neck around which I used to throw plastic circles (it was the most popular game for kids in Romania before communist times, I doubt that there was one household which didn’t have that).

*My doll Mimmi, she was „the bad girl” among my dolls and the one who gave me most trouble :) but I loved her dearly.

*My old sleigh, which I’m almost sure I don’t have anymore, but there’s still the hope.

*The old Globe that my grandmother had and which I had envied all my childhood. My father had bought me a smaller one but I secretly yearned for the big and shiny one that my Grandfather had. I want to put it on my desk now.

*The old beads and semi-precious jewelry that my mother and my aunt had when I was a child. I admired those so much.

*A porcelain figure representing a Japanese woman in a pink kimono that my aunt had in her living room and that I adored as a child.

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