May you live a long life and be blessed with luck. Glad to find you well! Tell us aunt Marița, who you are? Whose daughter?
I am a daughter of Pusa
What was your mother mother´s name?
Bria. Poankă´s Bria. Daughter of Poankă.
And your father whose son was he?
Son of Ionișor.
What was his wife called?
God bless their souls, as these people were quite known people of the rich lineage.
Whose wife were you?
Who was your husband?
Whose wife are you?
Of Tanasie. Istrati. Istrate´s Tanasia whom people called Văkari. That was his nickname.
Live long, and be blessed with luck!
His mother was Drăghina, the mother of my husband.
God bless her soul!
We came to you to hear what happened at the Bug. Kindly tell us.
Indeed. We went to the Bug. Găleam ando Bugo. People brought us there, the tansfer. Transbranding ….
Speak up, speak up.
From one military post to an other , they took us until we got there, in Stlanilavka or so, I do not remember the name of that place. And there, they put us to built up our tents and waggons in a dump and there we stayed and they took us and brought us. First they took our horses, as they took the horses, they took our waggons and we were left on foot. We traveled further on foot, do you understand, we lost our strength as they took our clothes, our waggons, our belongings. We remained at the mercy of our luck to find a place to sleep. Well, and as they brought us there we remained a while and in the end we returned home, back here.
Do tell, do tell…
We were up to return home, but to come home from where they took us, we had no means to do so.
And they stopped the string that headed hither, the string. The gendarms who came from the battle.
No, on the way back.
Tell us from the beginnig how you got there.
When they took us, we stayed for a long time there. We worked the earth, at potatoe crops, we worked .
Right, tell me what were you doing there, wher they took you.
And we worked in the fields and we roasted potatoes in the fire and ate them.
So you had a good life there.
The ones who could, took some, who could not, did not, you understand. Well, in the end we stayed there for a long time and we wanted to come back when the gendarmes came. Do you get it?
I get it.
So we prepared to leavem to come back here. We started the return….
Please tell me where you lived there, was it in huts?
Well they took us and put us in huts, and when a big snowfall came, the huts fell in and many died. Some were sweeping the snow from the huts, those survived. Or they took the earth away. From there, swept it away, becouse if one did not sweep the earth away, the huts would fall in from so much weigth. Many died. And many ate humans, ate flesh. There were some poor people who ate, they cut their dead people and ate. You see, that’s how it was. And then we stayed, we stayed there for a long time and wanted dearly to come home. To return home. But as we prepared to come home, we had no means to do so, We had no means. So we styed for more, again.
Tell me more, as you were older, you ought to know. What was the life in those huts, how did you live ?
I told you that we were living in huts, that we stayed troubeled, we had no food. We were going to get food in the village, we sold the clothes we were wearing, clothes the ones who had clothes, and we bougth food. And if a gendarm would catch you, if they catch you, you would get twenty five (*whips) on the but; they nearly killed you. You hear?
And they cought my father and cut his hair, he had never ever been trimmed in his life so he weeped for his hair..
How many siblings were you?
There were many of us, but they died. We remained only three.
What were their names.
Stănika, Bulaşi, Iono, Tono …Don´t you know them?
Do tell, do tell…
You know.. the brothers Piparka… We were, well I do not quite remember how many we were…
How many are stil alive?
I have three more brothers. Ilari the old one, Bango, me and Mițari, you know him..
Yes. You know him.
We endured trouble and sorrow. The ones who survived, survived. So we entered a colhoz where there were a lot of roadies. What were we supposed to do, we were starving. Me made a fire there, one roadie gave us one corn and each of us ate one bean of it. You hear me? This one is true. My father brought that corn and each of us ate just one bean so that evryone could get some. You hear? We had hard times. Airplanes were swirrling … When we light a fire to cook something, they would shoot at it. Indeed, hard times, we suffered, starved, were filled with lice, just poverty, no words to describe it …. So this is how it was.
Just tell us whatever you can remember, how was your mother, Bria, handeling it.
What my mother did?
This is no joke, its for crying not laughing, it’s for crying.. Please tell us what your mother did, how she hold you, how…
My mother? She kept us. We were a lot of children and she carried for us.
As far as I know, your mother lived the longest. One hundered and twnty years.
Marița: One hundered and ten… one hundered and ten years.
God rest her soul!
And my father….
How long did he live?
One hundered years lived my father. They both died here. Here they died. Here.
Ionișor was the only one who died at the Bug?
Ionișor died when we went there. When we travelled and we carried him in our waggon with lighted candels. Then he died.
Where did you have candels from?
We bought them on those roads that the people took us on.
So he was ill?
He was old, he was ill. He was old. And in that place we went, those men put us built our tents and there, the men beat up this one, what was his name, I do not remember , Goood…. They beat him up so hard that he died for ever. So, my grandfather was dieing. People got quiet. They let us. They did not beat us any longer, you understand? When the old man died. When the old man died, the men calmed down and we burried him. We put with him one golden coin out of all that money that he owned, One golden coin in his pocket. You hear? And we burried him… oh, Gooood…. I do not remember.
God rest his soul!
What else do you remember?
What else should I remember, that we came back when we came back.
Where you engaged there?
We celebrated the engagement back there.
We ate, we drank. That was it, I could not call it wedding, there were just words, do you get it? But when we came back here, I paired with my old man.
Well how, please tell us some words too, how did an engagement took place at the Bug where the people were having so much troubles?
We did not celebrate, just some words, discussions or so, you get it?
But ho choose your man?Who took him for you, was it your father?
Who else? My father. Who else, me? Don’ you know how we procede? It was my father for shure.
And you spoke to him at the Bug?
We did not speak, Only nowdays do girls speak…
So before they did not?
No way, there was no talking? We did not.
What else can you tell us?
Why tell. We ate sorrow. When we were crossig to return, we did no cross. No, I mean we crossed, but my brother Ialere remained there. Did he tell you?
He told me.
He remained there with the wife: he was crying on one side, we were crying on the other. And his wife died there. People burried her, and we went there too. … And then he returned, later. He married again. He took a wife from the Moldavians, from a borther of Kreaia, or how do you say…
Not Kreaia, from his brother. Ehei, we came poor as we arrived on this side. We came to our villages from here. And we build small houses and lived one day by the other. So we lived until now.
And how many children do you have?
What I have? Three children. Istrate, Ilari and Verdeana.
Bless you too.
What do you wish to tell them, a message?
What you wish for your children?
What should I say.
Just tell them something.
How shall I say something. Sometimes I quarrel with them …
No, tell your wish for them on life, how you want them to continue? To remain united? To care for each other?
Yes. They should care for each other, and live good. They took daughters in law. Have grandchildren.
What do you thell to those?
What to tell? They should have a long life and be blessed! What else to tell them. They should work and earn money.
What about Verdeana, who lives in Sibiu, what do you wish her?
Verdeana? What to wish to Verdeana? You tell her what I tell?
Well I wish her to have luck, to be covered withz gold and if I´ll get money too, again, I´ll send her some. I gave her twenty three millions. I sent to her.
Money for the Bug?
Yes, money from the Bug.
She told us. God bless you!
She told you?
Ei, and I´ll give her a big golden coin when she comes. I give her a golden coin.
You love Verdeana?
Well, she is the only one I have, Lumină: How can I not love her? I have just this one daughter. Daughters in law are daughters in law. Don’t you know how daughters in law are? Well, you see? And when my grandfather died…
When he died, and we put that coin, people who saw the coin broke in after we left. They broke in to steel the coin from the grave. And took it…
And took it, took it.
What about the old lady, did she outlive him?
No way … she was not alive then, I do not even know her name. I didn’t knew her, Marika. Marika was her name.
God rest her soul! Did you saw my folks there?
Did you meet there my grandfather Bărkullika or my grandmother Lullika?
I shure did. Lullika, Bărkullikă. He was engaged, Marica, Ontolako’s one, was engaged with him…
With my father?
With your father.
And is this Marika stil alive?
She’s alive. She is here.
Where does she live?
Over there, near Bango, further onwards. And she was engaged but did not any more…
Marika was at the Bug too?
What else do you remember?
What else do I know to tell…
Please remember, recall…
But do I remember?
My brother, Stănika, paid one coin for a kilo of salt at the Bug. One one kilo slat he paid one golden coin. Hear thet? And he was the one who arranged for the cars to take us, we gave twelve golden coins to that big man to cross us over with the cars and in the end we did not cross, we cold not cross. And we remained again, At the Bug.
When we returned from there, that village was rich. And we were on foot. They got buckets with wine out of the wells, they gave us cheese, meat, white flower, they gave us everything. Do you know Mița?
Well, Mița, got drunk. Mița, what was I supposed to do with her? I could not carry her any longer, we came from the Bug stitched together, you know? And from there, we did whatever we did and took train carriges and came back here. When we came on this side, as I told you –
tell us mor eabout your brothers and sisters.
Mărî phei? My sister died. You do not know that she died. She was Onilă’s Persiga.
Onilă? Well then, tell us waht you personally did there? What were the many small children doing there?
Bad, they were starvind, had no…
Just tell, how was it to live in the huts, with so many children?
We crowded. Had no other chance. What else was there to do?
But you were so many…
Were many… many.
Weren’t you fighting each other, so many children on one spot?
We fought a lot.
Who was the eldest?
Persiga was older than Stănikă. And died.
That one sister I had. She died.
Lisandru was Onilă’s brother, was he?
He died long ago?
Lisandru did not, so long ago… I mean some time ago, one or two years after Onilă . Yes, but he died here as he was ill, here in …
Onilă died here too. They were old, ill, you know.
So the life at the Bug left you heartbroken?
The Bug experience left sorrow in your heart.
How else. You see, since then our feet hurt, our hands hurt. I was a lass, was not married. I got engaged there.
Well, when we came back here, we had a white mare, a horse, one we bought back there to carry our clothes on it. And one of those, a gendarme, run after us and I was holding the reins. He got the clothes down, took the horse and left. We were skared to death as he was threatening to take me too. You know? Big troubles.
Tell us more about the life there?
The life was hard. They lived bad. The ones who went to get food were beaten up by gendarms, and would no longer live. We were suffeing and beaten. No more to tell.
Sorrow. Weakness, Death. Deads lied around just as these rocks over here. Just like these here. This was how dead people lied arond. They just lie.
Anything else? Why are you smiling, this is a sad story. Its for ceying. As you put it, this money that has been givenm, soothes your pain and …
Passion, is that a passion.
Passion send it to me, as i was visited by that lady from Geneva. That lady was in my house.
And what did she tell you?
What she said? She wrote us all down as we were, she came to us and wrote all our names down.
What is your oppinion, it that money enough?
How can it ever be enough? How enough? For the pain we endured, is this enough money? They still have to pay. Katar te aven dăstul? Sar te aven dăstul.
That is right. Do you have a pension?
Do not. I do not have pension.
You could use the money for medicine as you are suffering?
I could use them, but there is no one to do me…
We will do it for you. So tell me, what do you say about that. Would it be propper to make a Romano museum, so that our childerens children and theyr children can visit and see testimonies like yours today? One that keeps this information over time, in history? Would this be good?
How else? Right.
Should we build up a museum of Roma people?
Yes. Do it.
Well, ok, aunt Marica. God be by your side, may He leave peace in your heart and may He make you go tp the gatherings as life is on His side, here we are travelers and we will not take anything with us to the other world. God may stay with you!
You too, be blessed!