le disney

Though my memories of story-reading star principally my father Valeriu, mostly around bedtime, there is one very vivid such memory that is centered around my mother.

My mother had purchased a Disney book, full of Disney characters. It was in French, it was big, with red hardcovers and it must have cost her a fortune. And she was trying to catch my eye. But even though I has happy she was paying attention to me, I was stubbornly watching TV, feigning a lack of interest in her efforts. For some reason, although the book was beautiful and colourful, while the TV show was black and white (so was our TV set, Modern, a wooden box with "lamps"), I enjoyed more her attention than discovering the book and the French language.

It was a morning in my memory, and chances are it was a Sunday morning. For kids in most of the world today, Sunday morning means cartoons, but in Romania of those times, it meant some show produced by a sister TV station in the communist world, such as Arabela or Racheta Alba. Such shows were broken into infinitesimal episodes and made to last years. The plot twist in this story is that there's a good chance I wasn't even watching it. The TV schedule used to change frequently and Sunday mornings were also the time for a show I hated, "Village Life", which addressed Romania's huge rural population. This show featured mostly folkloric music and interviews about agriculture, which held no intrinsic interest to a 3-4-5 year old such as myself who had lived in a medium-rise building in the capital city most of his life. But I was watching hoping that cartoons or a TV show of interest would soon start.

My mother played this silly game with me for a bit, then stood up and turned off the TV. I started crying in protest.

I don't remember how it all ended, but there's a good chance she gave in. I do remember another morning when I didn't want to put on my shoes and she tried and tried and eventually told my father to take over as she could not afford to be late for work. He did.

I learned French at school, a few years later, and I remember thinking that I should have listened to her.