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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hunger and Hard Times II


Read Hunger and Hard Time I.

But, boundaries are made to be pushed and broken. Mom had her own ways, too. . . not enough coupon for food?  She would simply go to the neighborhood restaurant and buy from the head waiter--meat and vegetables--and, the quadruple price did not really matter. We had enough food, even the exotic oranges and clementines were to be found at Christmas time. And bananas?  I do not remember. They must have been so rare that I don’t remember or my memory is letting me down (They say that is the second thing to go. Want to know what is first? Ask a woman. They know everything.)

Mom, who was a fairly good cook until she turned 40, rebelled. She decided she spent too much time of her life on this not-so-important matter. She started leaving me the prepared, stewed pot of peas and chicken, pork and beans, or beef goulash. It was not too much, but sometimes enough to feed me for a day and sometimes for the next. Being the generous kid on the block or because my playing buddies caught on that we had meat almost every day, I had lunch company lots of time.
We were brotherly sharing the stew pot, barely heating it on the stove and never putting it on the plates. It was too much work to wash the dishes, and the soccer ball could not wait that much longer. When the portion was kind of small for even two of us and in order to deter the other to keep on eating, we started spitting on the other’s portion and side of the pot. Of course, reprisal did not take too long to come; soon both were spitting. Because nobody was giving up his portion, we had to end the friendly duel, we turned around the pot and finished eating before we took off happy and almost full to the playgrounds.

There is a natural break in the subject matter as times become so much more harsh, unbearable by my standards. His mother had a good job, so she could afford to buy more. I just know this from innumerable times I talked with her on other subjects. His fairly normal childhood is disrupted by his mother's escape without him. Her life was in danger. His was not.


  1. Now you've got me intrigued. Can't wait for the next part!

  2. Wendy,
    I will probably put it up in two more parts next week. He told me something that he did not think would be proper on my blog or that people might not care to read. I assured him that people would be as intrigues as I.

  3. Thank you for posting this series from Johan. As he tells the story, it is not that different from current day Vladivostok, Russia where I spent a month just after 9-11. Although communism is past there, food distribution is such that it can be hard to get adequate amounts of many important foodstuffs. We look forward to the continuation of his recollections.

    1. Jane,
      I have an attorney friend who works for the UN. She spent months in Tajekistan (sp?) in about the same time period as you spent. Even her accommodations were modest and electricity was for about two hours each day, if I remember correctly. It was rather primitive from what she said. I will relay your appreciation to him.


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