|Johan, at Berkley Bob's|
Do you want to hear about hunger and hard times in the not-so-distant past? Johan (Ioan) is from Romania. I met him and his mother when he moved here from Canada. She is a delightful woman, a writer of original fairy tales. Johan is on his way back to Romania today because Florica is ill. She no longer writes stories. I asked Johan to write about the hunger he experienced. The piece following is the first portion of what her wrote. I will correct his work and publish it in three parts. His writing needs very little corrections. Johan is 60. His mother is 81.
I got up around 9 am on another beautiful Florida morning. I have been here for two months in a winter escape from Romania, a little insane thing to do given my available finances and my precarious business situation back in Romania. Then again, what is sane or insane. We are all relating the definitions of society norms from educated psychologists, psychiatrists, communication specialists. They are the ones that define the sanity, what the surrounding community allows. Once in awhile they try to push those boundaries, finding sane excuses for insane behaviors.
I am curious if they had been born in an Amazonian- or Borneo-man-eating tribe how would they define hunger. For most of the Western world this is limited to “Oh, shit! My fridge is half empty. I must go to the store to get eggs, milk, butter, ham, bacon and another two-dozen necessary items that will make me feel happy and secure the next three days or so.”
Come on, you educated readers of this insane dissertation, how often were you really hungry? How often have you gotten up and your first and only thought was, “How, where, and what am I going to eat today?”
That strange sensation tickling my stomach makes me go the fridge, and after a quick inspection, I am reassured that for at least one more day I have enough to eat, so no reason to panic. I can keep putting on paper those thoughts and childhood memories of hunger.
When I was twelve- or thirteen-years-old, I was living with my mom in Bucharest, Romania, and going to junior high. Things were simple and easy. Mom was divorced from dad for five-years already. She worked hard on her career as a folklorist, ethnographer, and great mom. (Florica, his mother, has a PhD in Linguistic Anthropology.) She worked six days each week. The communist party was making sure that Sunday, one rest day per week, was more than enough for everybody. They also told and directed everyone where they could work, how much bread, butter or meat they were allowed and issued each family coupons for rations.
Don’t you love it when some Big Brother looks after you? Did it matter that it was almost impossible to travel outside the country or that you could not speak your mind freely for fear of ending up hungry and beaten up in a dark prison cell. After all, they gave anyone who stayed in line the right to work, inexpensive apartment rentals and survival food coupons.
If you are enjoying this so far, it gets better. If you are enjoying this, please leave encouraging words for Johan. He doubts if this would be interesting or relevant. Is there anything about hard times you would like for him to write about in the future?