Litera P

We used to receive different kinds of packages. But you weren?t allowed to receive foodstuffs. One I received salami and they wouldn?t give it to me. We used to receive shaving cream, blades, soap, and hand cream. Once I asked my relatives abroad to send me books. And on top of the package received was ?1984?. They did not know what it was about. I used to ask for records, because there was a great shortage here.  I still have records from that time. ( S.R.B, D. R.B., 137)

If you received a package from abroad, you had to go to the post office two days before. You knew that the package had not arrived but went there anyway to ask. And after it came, they opened it, kept checking you up, well, it was an entire ritual. (114)


It was a fact that the Romanian television, with its 2 hours of broadcasting per day, could not satisfy even the less demanding of viewers. Lucky those who tuned into the TV channels of neighboring countries (Yugoslavia, Hungary, Bulgaria), which offered more attractive shows. People in Bucharest could tune into the Bulgarian television. As language was a problem, you could take Bulgarian lessons at the Folk University. However, people wanted to watch some western channels as well. As there was no question of cable television, an increasing number of people installed parabolic aerials in their homes, by means of which they could receive foreign channels. I always thought that situation could not last for long. How could Ceausescu accept that people watch unhindered programs infested by bourgeois culture? I don?t think that he found out about the existence of those aerials which people would hide in the attic, for instance. Any way, Ceausescu was toppled before he had time to ban them.

Once, a saw an improvised aerial in a village at the outskirts of Bucharest; it was made of an aluminum washbasin hung on a high stick. I don?t know if the owner had any success with it, apart from the neighbors? admiration. (129)

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