by Ana Z.
Name: Rodica C.
Place of birth: Tg. Bujor, Galati county
Place of residence: Galati
In which year were you born?
How would you describe your childhood?
I lived in a united family, my mother, my father, me and my brother. I had an excellent relationship with my grandparents. During the holidays, I lived with them or with one of my mother's sisters, who had no children. As a child, I was pampered. I did the school in the countryside, but with excellent teachers. I was privileged in this regard. The basis of my school education was excellent.
How would you describe the period from adolescence to retirement?
Unfortunately, adolescence came with great problems. My father was a party activist; when things lost their way (in his opinion), my father wanted to leave the system. He resigned and went to my grandparents in Buzau, leaving his family. Much, much later I would find out the truth, he told me before he died (he was only 54 years old). He left us without contacting us, without divorcing, without sending us a penny. (When someone left the system, both he and the whole family were persecuted, he resorted to the act of leaving us to protect us from the repercussions we would have endured because of his gesture to leave the system.) With all the problems that I had, I graduated the high school, then the college. During the holidays and beyond, I worked to support myself and help my family financially. I became a shipbuilding engineer.
I got married, I have two sons. I worked a lot, my work schedule was 10-12 hours a day. I built a house, I asserted myself professionally. I had a fulfilling life. I worked a lot, but I also had satisfactions. It was the period when I kicked almost all the mountains of Romania, together with my sons. Unfortunately, I divorced, but so, I had a quiet and rich life because I was earning very well. Dad got sick, I brought him to me and I took care of him until he died. When my mother retired, I brought her to me, I took care of her until she was 92 years old.
My sons both studied, the eldest studied law, the youngest graduated Naval Engineering. They are two very good children, who brought me joy in life. They have their own family and everyone gave me a grandson.
What was the position of elderly persons when you were young?
Due to my family situation, I made all the decisions for myself and did not regret it. I did everything the way I thought I would like my life to be and I never regretted it, because I had a beautiful life, full of achievements. I took care of both parents, my father very little because he died quite young. I brought my mother to me when she retired. We helped each other. She was no longer alone, and I was calm at work knowing that my sons were being watched while I was at work. He enjoyed my and my grandchildren's respect to the end.
Please describe the intergenerational liaisons in your family
The relationships in my family have been harmonious. We took the major decisions together with children when they were old enough to understand. We always respected our wishes and we did it in such a way that we were all satisfied. We have always helped each other and we still help each other.
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?
I didn't know my maternal grandparents, they died early, before I was born. My paternal grandparents had a beautiful retirement life. My grandmother, with whom I spent many holidays with her, was the daughter of a priest, with Pension. She met her friends at a tea every day, where they crocheted, knitted, worked tapestries, drank tea and ate cakes, and then went for a walk. There were very beautiful moments, especially since I was the character who received blouses, skirts made by them, I was a kind of princess pampered in childhood. My mother worked hard after my father left, but after she came to me, she had a beautiful life.
She took care of my sons, went for a walk, went to the movies, did everything they wanted.
As for me, until the pandemic broke out, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the retirement period and did everything I ever dreamed of doing, but due to lack of time I did not have the opportunity. I travel a lot in the country and abroad whenever I can, I write poetry, prose, reports. I go to meetings with writers, with my friends, they also come to me, I do everything I ever wanted. Unfortunately, I spend more time at home, but I don't miss my friends. We talk every day, we make plans for better times. When the situation requires it, I take care of my grandchildren. I still go with my sons to various places in the country. We spend all the holidays together, when they are not gone elsewhere. I couldn't feel the loneliness because I always had a busy time and friends close to me.
The retirement is a period of life when the person can enjoy everything wanted to do in youth and failed due to lack of time. It is a period of well-deserved rest and recreation after a lifetime of work. I can't deny, there are also health problems that appeared with age, but I try to deal with them
Please describe the life you are living now
Now I live alone, but I`m not lonely. I have my house and my car. I can't say that the pension is enough, but I was and am a thoughtful person in terms of expenses. I always set aside some money so I can travel. I have had very serious heart problems for a year. I am under supervision at the Heart Institute in Cluj, where I go periodically for check-ups. I may soon have open heart surgery, but that doesn't stop me from doing exactly what I want to do as before. My relationship with the children is as excellent as ever. I have friend in Israel to whom I go to every year and stay for a month at her. I also have many friends in Israel. We communicate weekly. In the country I also have many friends with whom I communicate daily.
Please describe your daily routines in present
I take a walk every day, either in the morning or in the evening. I take care of my little nephew sometimes, when the situation requires it. The older nephew now manages on his own, but I took care of him when he was younger. I get along very well with my neighbours. I have a more special friendship with one of my neighbours. We help each other whenever the situation requires it. When I'm gone, she takes care of my house, and I take care of her when needed. The biggest hobby is writing, which brought me great satisfaction and many friends. I like to travel, to read, to go to ballet shows. I have several friends in the country, whom I visit and they visit me
Which media you consume in everyday life (TV, radio, newspapers); what new technologies do you use (Internet, computers, smart-phones)?
I use TV, newspapers, magazines, laptop and smartphone every day. My generation uses the phone and the internet a lot, all for the purpose of information, communication, socialization.
What motivates you or can motivate you?
I keep a constant connection with my family and my extended family, with friends in the country but also with those outside the country. I couldn't live alone. I am a sociable woman who feels and needs people around her. You always have something to learn from those around you. This also keeps you in good mental shape. We exchange ideas, we help each other when necessary and why not, it is much more pleasant to stay at a friend when you go somewhere, than at a hotel.
What are the major roles of retired persons?
The role of retired people in society is a major one. First of all, they have an experience from which many lessons can be learned, they are the ones who transmit traditions, customs, teach their grandchildren the true moral values that underlie a good, civilized life. As in the saying "if you do not have an old man, buy one". They are the ones who help the growth of future generations, not only physically but also morally, spiritually. They are the ones who undoubtedly ensure through their work, the material basis of the new generations.
What would be your message for the younger generations?
Respect your elders, they are the ones who have provided you the material basis and provide you the spiritual and moral basis of society!
Questions specifically for Romania:
Which traditional customs do you still keep in your family?
In my family we keep the traditions of Christmas, Easter, New Year, Sânziene.
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?
Yes, it was terrible when my father left us to protect us from the repercussions that would have befallen us when he left the system. What could be worse than waking up at the age of 14, and you, your mother, and your brother have no income. I've always wanted to learn, and I did, but it was terribly hard for me. My brother dropped out of school and got a job, and I started working on vacation from the time I finished eighth grade. I started writing about those times and their memory hurts, it hurts terribly. I overcame everything
What are the values that guided you throughout life and that you want to transfer to the next generations?
To work, to be fair, to respect yourself and to respect the people around you, that's what I always respected and I passed on to my children and grandchildren.