I’ve written much about my history and now want to add more about being a little kid in Medias, Romania in the late 70s and early 80s. I wrote briefly about my childhood in Medias, sharing some pictures I found online. This is one of my favorite towns in Romania. The first time I went back to it during my mission, I felt right at home. I had many memories of this and that, the color of the homes approaching the train station, the walking bridge over the river into the main part of town, the swing set on which my sister and I would play, and so on. As with many other memories from my youth, on my mission I was able to recapture them. In fact, from memory, I was able to go with my companion right to the apartment complex where we lived when I was little! (I have a picture of that somewhere, I’ll have to dig it up and scan it).
My memories of Medias (and of Romania as a whole) are positive, even though many bad things had occurred. From my conversation with my father I learned that he had an affair with a neighbor and that I possibly have a half-brother somewhere in Romania. This was his excuse to flee the country. Needless to say that caused my mother quite a lot of heartaches, including being imprisoned by the Romanian Secret Police. After her six month incarceration, she considered suicide, but saved her life by thinking about my sister and I.
My father was also very abusive to my mother and to myself. Much of what I know about my father from my youth in Romania comes from my mother. My memories from Romania do not include anything of my father. I think my brain has purposefully suppressed those memories. According to my mother, my father would pick me up and throw me on the bed in order to shut me up (when I was a two year old apparently). I can’t say exactly what that meant, because well, I just haven’t had the heart to get more details from my mother, and certainly have not confronted my father about that possibility.
When my mother was held by the Secret Police, my sister and I stayed at her mother’s home in Sfantu Gheorghe, a small village to the north of Medias. We loved it there, and had a blast. We would run all over that village and explore the mysterious woods and thickets surrounding the village.
I have a few memories of first grade. Just a few that deal with school, but many others that are of me taking the bus around Medias and even exploring the other side of Medias (I stayed mostly in the northern part of the town, not usually going further south than the train station, where my mother worked). (Here is a google map of Medias – you can see the northern half being everything above the river and most of the bulge). I had more memories the closer we got to our leave date.
In the early 1980s after my father escaped and lived in Texas, my mother continued working at the train station (I forget exactly what she did there. I gotta ask her at some point). In the last few months before leaving the country, we lived in a home that had a television. What a profound object the television is! I can remember one time when they had a war movie on how scared I was at what I was seeing. There was also a show, a cartoon about animals on a journey to a paradise. They reached this massive wall that supposedly encompassed the paradisiacal land. All their attempts to get around, over, under, through the wall failed. I remember this show, but cannot remember how, or if, the animals made it into the land. I just know I have had it in my memory ever since I was seven years old.
Then at the end of June, 1982, we packed up our few items in Medias and got into a car to leave the home. I distinctly remember looking out the back window and seeing my grandmother among a few others (probably a few of my uncles) and I knew it would be a very long time before I would see them again. Indeed I didn’t see my grandmother again until September 1995, thirteen years later.