Throughout those dark days I was going to the Opera or to the theatre quite a lot. I derived enormous pleasure from that because the actors were really good and it sometimes happened that one cue said in a specific context had a completely meaning than the one the author had had in mind. There were constant allusions to the bad political regime, and that was one way to escape the grim reality of it. I used to read a tremendous lot; people in general used to feed on books back in those days, even though to buy a book you had to pull some strings as well.
The only institution I really trusted was the Church.
The regular citizen really felt safer, there wasn?t so much crime and violence like today, and the young people were out of the harm?s way, safe from drugs and alcohol. They also showed more interest in school, in learning and, by contrast with what we can see today, they also had more respect for anything in general.
Those were the Dark Ages of Bucharest?s architecture; they pulled down lots of monuments, masterpieces all of them, and at the same time they reduced to rubble the Romanian?s faith and hope of a better future. That period though had also some very good objectives: the Transfagarasan that cut across the Carpathians linking the south to the north of the country, and maybe the Bucharest tube. But the price we all paid for all that was really too much of a sacrifice. (R. A. V., 131)
Living standards were much higher than today, even thinking that you needed to know people, have connections and pull strings for as little as a pack of cigarettes. The attitude towards the other fellow citizens was that of a citizen in his own right who was free to have a profession and had exactly that kind of social behavior he wanted; function of your natural endowment, education and social skills you could actually climb up the social ladder. I never once felt frustrated or sidelined in any way throughout that period. Now I have this feeling that I can only rely on family and my name.
The political leaders were Nicolae Ceausescu, Aurel Stoica and Stefan Andrei because they were the only competent ones. You could really trust the institutions back then. And that was the general climate. If you were done some injustice you knew where to go and whom to talk to in full confidence that something would be done to set right what was wrong. Wherever I went, wherever I was, I felt safe from any danger. We went to the pictures, to the theatre because we could afford it. We don?t anymore. The society as a whole had some shortcomings her and there, but all in all you didn?t see them because there were so many good things to make up for the few bad ones. (R. A. V., 40)