Litera F

All in all, I for one lived better in Ceausescu?s times. Speaking of spiritual matters, I certainly read more back then? I certainly listened to the Free Europe, the radio was set on that station, no doubt about that. I?d listen to all the reports of Emil Hurezeanu, I listened to music, late at night, I never missed Monica Lovinescu?s literary and political chronicles, or Nestor Rates? programs? All my friends listened to the Free Europe. That was all we discussed: ?Did you hear what they said last night? Here, I?ll tell you!? We even discussed it at work. I once passed by a militia station in Rahova that was next to a block of flats. One window was open in the very vicinity of the entrance to the militia station and you could hear the Free Europe jingle so loud that no one could miss it, militia officers included. But no one said anything. They no longer came to your door to punish you for listening. I think there was even a sort of settlement that allowed you to listen to whatever you liked inside your house, provided you did not spread the word afterwards. (A. M., 115)

We did listen to the Free Europe, not excessively, but we did. One thing we certainly paid attention to when we bought the tuner was whether it could tune in to ultra-short waves. (A. M., 140, 141)

We listened as everybody did, just that no one dared to make commentaries, they knew they might have problems afterwards. It was too risky to talk about what you heard on the Free Europe station. (O. S., 41)

A kid was playing in front of the block, together with other kids whose parents and grandparents were sitting nearby. He saw his mom coming from work and shouted out: ?Mom, which is the most secret thing, that papa listens to the Free Europe, or that we?ve bought ourselves a video player?? (75)


The stores were always empty, yet our freezer was always full because my father had been spending his nights queuing ? since 1 o?clock, until the next day at noon when the meat van arrived. We were always reassured knowing that we had meat in our freezer and when it was over, there was someone out there queuing and buying some more. The freezers were indeed an obsession, those who filled them with meat from their relatives in the country, were really envied because they did not have to worry about meat queues, or the anxiety of the cold nights, wasted sometimes when the meat van did not show up. (G. S., 147)

Talking about my freezer I must say that there was something in it only when we visited our grandparents who lived in the countryside, and we came back with chicken meat, a little fatter than what we could get after we had trampled all over each other while queuing in Bucharest.

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