This is how it began… the ordeal

The December morning of that year, 1958, which marked the cruel turning point in my life, was clear and cold.

The snow that had fallen in abundance overnight had not yet fallen, and the village streets seemed deserted.

Nevertheless, the black tarpaulin gas made its way smoothly and surely to the grove at the foot of the hill. Three elegant civilians climbed down and crept towards the gate, which opened reluctantly, held back by the soft snow. The dog was still breaking the chain. I stepped out, annoyed and surprised to see the bold men, who, without shouting or knocking, were advancing resolutely.

“We’re looking for Ilie Tudor! Who are you?”

“I think I have the right to ask you who you are, because, as you can see, I am leaving the house.”

A young man came up behind them with an outstretched hand and spoke to me politely:

“Don’t be angry! We have business with you! Comrade Stancoveanu from the Regional Party – Cultural Section – has something urgent to tell you. I understand it’s about the Writers’ Union! He asked me to take you there immediately. We’re from the district.

Not suspecting anything, I threw my coat on my back and went with them. Vali, the eldest girl, was 11 and getting ready for school. My wife, Fănica, worked in a knitting cooperative and could come home during her lunch break to do some more work.

– Where’s dad?

– He left in a car! They said he’d be back soon!

– They said??? ….Who???

– The guy he left with!

This “coming back soon” lasted 6 years, and my friends in the “cultural department” forgot to bring me back.

Not long after that, my wife was arrested. The wife of the bandit who didn’t report a refugee who asked her for shelter. The boy, who was a freshman in high school, and the tall girl were left alone. The girl was taken to Arad by the wife’s sister. She was one year old. They woke up in the morning by the cold stove, and the water in the cup that used to hold milk was now frozen.

The united tears were their food and clothing, their comfort and hope. The neighbours, some of them good people, were also afraid. Sometimes they found a piece of bread or a pitcher of milk on the veranda of their house. The lack of food, only when it was available, led to rickets and, after her mother’s arrest, to a state of despair that never ended.

But that’s how it went… days, months… and a few years, and they didn’t die, although they were on the verge of death.

…. Someone up there loved and cared for them.

(Ilie Tudor – De sub tăvălug, ediția a III-a, Editura MJM, Constanța, 2010, pp. 13-14)

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