by Doina D.
Name: Monica C.
Place of birth: Arad
Place of residence: Timisoara
When were you born?
I'm 67 years old.
How would you describe your childhood?
Childhood is the most beautiful period of our lives, of all. I was alone with my parents, I had no siblings, although I would have liked very much. But I had very good friends. I was raised by my parents, together with my maternal grandmother, only until I was 9 years old. My parents, having higher education, protected me and answered all my questions extensively and correctly, plus I enjoyed reading, and the family library was large, full of wonderful books. I have always felt protected in my family.
I attended the primary school, the gymnasium, the high school and I finished them all, every year, as a prize-winner. I did gymnastics and athletics, successfully participating in competitions, I won a chess competition in the county, at the age of 13, I was part of the high school volleyball team.
I had close ties both with the family of my mother's brother, who lived in Timişoara, and with the families of my father's brothers with whom we met periodically, at various traditional events at their parents' house, located at Zarand Mountains, in a fairytale setting. The days spent with my cousins there, the happy days of my childhood, remained unforgettable.
Tell us about your period from adolescence to retirement
I graduated, got married out of love at the age of 23 (my husband is an engineer) and worked hard at school, as teacher, until retirement. I loved my chosen profession very much, I was happy among my students, with whom I did many and varied extracurricular activities, although they were not remunerated or imposed on me. Just for the sake of the students, I followed many initiatives that came from them, not only from me.
Since I was a child, my father wanted me to know my country and I made trips with the school or I visited on holidays with my parents wonderful places, of great beauty and historical significance for Romanians. All this developed my horizon of knowledge, made me love the country in which I was born. I am sorry that I could not do the same for my son, that I did not develop his taste for travel, to admire the beauties of the homeland, to love nature and to want to live close to nature.
After the year 2000 I managed to visit several countries in Europe, especially France, in organized trips or with my friends settled in Germany, passionate like me about culture, not only tourism. I would have liked more trips, but I am also satisfied with what I have known so far. I really like trips and holidays in beautiful places in my country.
The events in my life have the stamp of work, and in general I enjoyed what I did, always putting my soul into everything I accomplished.
What was the position of elderly persons when you were young?
I chose my profession alone from an early age - 10 years, I wanted to become a teacher, and when I started learning French at school, I also chose my specialty - French teacher, because I needed knowledge in all fields, and French, then, was the language of world culture. That's how I was able to read the books of my favorite authors in the original, then I did literary translations myself. I was supported and helped by my family in my decision. In fact, I followed a tradition, because my parents, like my grandparents, worked in education. So I can say that I had in my blood the desire to teach others what I know.
The memories of the intergenerational relationships in the society in which I grew up show how different they are from those of today. But it is normal, each generation has its own conception of life.
Guests were always welcome at my parents' home. Being older, about 13 years old, I tried to help my mother to prepare the best dishes, I put the holiday table, I served with the polish the soup from the bowl on everyone's plates, then the plates with the second dish, and before dessert , I was carefully gathering plates and leftovers. After that I put plates for cake or fruit. I would get up from the table to bring everything I needed, whatever was needed. I never refused to help my mother and thank those who came to visit. I didn't get into the big talk, I only talked if I was asked. That's how I was educated and I knew it was good for everyone. No one leaves us without gifts and food packages. I was really doing more. Here is an example. After our uncle and aunt from Timişoara visited us, I took them with my mother to the train station to help them with their luggage. The distance was about a 30-minute walk. The train was very crowded and I went from car to car to find a place for them to get on where it was free. I managed to find two places, I called them from the window of the compartment, so they were very satisfied. But I got off after the train started moving and unbalancing I fell on the platform. My guardian angel was present and nothing happened. A simple scare for me, and for my mother I think more than that. As I regularly did all my homework at school, so I fulfilled the responsibilities I had in the household. I always had respect for seniors, because I knew they had gained a lot of experience and wisdom during their lives.
Please describe the intergenerational liaisons in your family
I lived separately from my parents; unfortunately they died out too quickly, when my son was still very young and I raised him with my husband; of course it was not easy for us at all. I took care of my parents as best I could while they were sick, but I still couldn't save them. Although many years have passed since then, I am still sorry that I lost them so early. My older husband's parents cared for my sister-in-law's three children, my husband's sister-in-law, and then their great-granddaughter, who was two years younger than my son. So they couldn't help us either. All these troubles and difficulties seriously damaged my health and I had to take care of myself for many years, because I had a child to raise, I had an important mission. And I succeeded with God's help.
Please compare what were you thinking about old age when you were young, your expectation of your life in retirement, and how it is really now. What does retirement mean for you?
Retirement for me is another stage of intense activity, also pleasant, because in the meantime I learned another job, that of magazine editor and today I continue to work voluntarily. I am the editor-in-chief of the cultural-scientific magazine “Coloana Infinitului”, edited by the Cultural Association "Constantin Brâncuşi" from Timişoara. It is a quarterly publication, dedicated to the homage of some great personalities from Banat and not only, which requires many hours of computer work, for correction, choosing the right articles, placing them on the page, etc. Collaborating with the publishing house is another aspect of my work.
I also write poems, epigrams, prose, participate in national creative competitions. I am member of several creative unions in the country. So far, I have published 8 books, which have been well received by literary critics. I have received numerous awards and distinctions for my cultural volunteer work.
Please describe the life you are living now
I live with my husband in the same apartment, but renovated in the meantime, using my pension wisely for maintenance, food and medicine. Communication with children is good, taking care of our niece. I communicate daily with friends from the country and abroad through Facebook, e-mails or by phone. I wish we could continue to have the strength and health to take care of ourselves, to enjoy everything that nature offers us beautifully.
What are the daily routines of the present?
I will first describe the daily routines before the pandemic.
The priority number 1 is the care of the young niece until the arrival of the parents from work. I cooked at home three times a week, sometimes for children, then I did voluntary work for the magazine, worked on the computer. I cleaned the house with my husband and went shopping together. I wrote when I was inspired, I commented on some books I read. Every week I went to symphonic concerts, less often to opera performances, very often to book launches, symposia, literary circles where I actively participated with thematic works. I often went to the church near the house on Sundays and holidays. I took care of my health through regular checkups at the doctor.
I socialized with friends, read a lot of books, some received as a gift, others bought.
During the pandemic there were no more concerts, cenacles, only sporadically, but I read books, I continued to take care of my niece, I worked at the magazine, I wrote many articles requested by various publications, I published a new book. Regular check-ups at the doctor were no longer possible, however I did my own tests. I had time to focus on areas that I became more and more passionate about.
Which media you consume in everyday life (TV, radio, newspapers); what new technologies do you use (Internet, computers, smart-phones)
I spend very little time on TV, possibly watching a movie. I use the internet, I work on the computer, I use a smartphone. In general, I think my generation uses all these technologies for communication.
What motivates you or can motivate you?
My motivation is that I can still be useful, helpful both to the family and to the people in general. It is still needed the knowledge I have, the experience I have gained so far. I feel great satisfaction when I can solve the problems that arise and make those around me happy.
What are the major roles of retired persons?
The role of retirees is undeniable. They are the keepers of defining traditions for the nation, and the experience gained during their lives is of great use to the young. But to stay in balance with health you need a continuous activity, done with pleasure, from caring for grandchildren to other creative-fun activities. Participation in activities within senior associations, for example, is very important. Painting, knitting, listening to music, debating a book read, playing board games, all play an extremely important role in maintaining a good general condition.
What would be your message for the younger generations?
“Whoever has no elders, let him buy them!” In a different way, a child grows up with grandparents, older people, who dedicate their time and experience to them throughout their lives, who have more patience than their parents when take care of their good upbringing, who know how to soothe them.
Questions specifically for Romania:
Which traditional customs do you still keep in your family?
Of course, we properly honor all Christian-Orthodox customs. Then we celebrate Martisor Day, the traditional spring holiday, which I really like. Also Dragobetele-love day, June 1-Children's Day, June 24-Day of the Romanian traditional blouse-IA- and the day of sânziene flowers, November 1, December 1-Romania's National Day. In the city the traditional customs are symbolically preserved.
Did you go through a painful experience caused by the communist regime (persecution, deportation, nationalization, etc.)? How did you manage to overcome that difficult time?
Because I did not aspire to any administrative or political position, I did not conflict with anyone. I liked the chosen profession, that of teacher and I dedicated myself to her and my family. I lived on my and my husband's salary, we had a normal apartment, a car received from our parents and we managed modestly, but we were respected.
When my father went to work in Bărăgan (in the labor camp), being an intellectual with a pre-war faculty, I was too young to feel this distance. I only know the situation from stories, but there was not much talk in the family about that period.
What are the values that guided you throughout life and that you want to transfer to the next generations?
The values I was guided by were and remain: honor, fairness, loyalty, hard work, and faith in God.