Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Growing Up – Part V (The yellow pages of time)

In memoria Domnului Diriginte Victor Margalina, profesor de Limba si Literatura Romana, Scoala Generala nr. 9, Rm. Vilcea.

In memoriam Mister Victor Margalina, Professor of Romanian Literature and Grammar, School no. 9, Rm. Vilcea.

Soon enough I will lose track of these numbers and will just say Growing Up – Part Whatever Follows After The Last One!

Anyway, welcome back to the blog! Hope everyone’s having a good Tuesday. Sounds like nonsense. Tuesdays are nonsense. They are not the beginning of the week, they are not the middle nor the end. They are something in between so I guess we can relax. Wednesdays are always fun. I think of the week as a bell curve. Monday is the down left corner, then Tuesday we’re climbing a bit higher, then on Wednesday afternoon we are already descending on the other side, through Thursday and by the time we reach the right down corner we’ve ended the curve with a beautiful Friday. What I’m trying to say is that tomorrow around this time we’re already a step closer to the weekend hahaha You gotta think pink!

Ok, so last night I’ve dug through the few memories I have home. As you can imagine most of them are left under my mom’s sacred and careful supervision. But I saved some of the stuff (including my diaries hehe) and my collection of short stories, because as I said, nerdy me had a huge problem with anyone reading my stuff, because well, I thought no one would like it so I better not make it public.

NOTE: If you discover your kids to have hidden talents of any kind, encourage them to step forward and  work on them. Be proud and supportive of them because otherwise they will waste years of their lives acting like it’s not worth while to develop a side of their personality they really enjoy. And it would be a terrible waste. After all, we cannot excel in ten different skills, but if you sing well enough, why not take some lessons and enchant your family and friends with a karaoke night. If you’re a fine dancer, why not join some Saturday urban dance classes and amaze the population in the club and if you write well, why not come up with a nice blog, a funny short story of your adventure with friends in the mountains that everyone will enjoy reading. It will not make you famous or rich, but it will make a name for you in your social circle and it will enrich your life. That should be enough.

Ok, beating around the bush again. The down side of being a writer: words flow like a river and it’s hard finding a dam strong enough to hold them back!

As you remember (hopefully!) from one of the previous blogs, I mentioned that at age 14 or so I wrote a booklet of about 48 pages to save two of my favorite cartoon characters: Georgie and Lowell. Mom was only financially able to get cable and a color TV set (a CROM TV set if you remember) in the house when I was 13 and it marveled me in every way possible. Thank God I was responsible enough as a student, otherwise I would have staid all day long in front of that TV. Because before that we only had one of those OLT black and white really small ones.
My fellow Romanians know what I’m talking about
And on RAI UNO I discovered these wonderful cartoons and I grew a passion for Italian. I think I gave up on that when the soap opera age broke loose on cable and I started to mix up Spanish with Italian because they resemble so much so I gave up my study on it. What a pity! Among these cartoons there were Candy, Lady Oscar, Sandy Bell, Sailor Moon, man, a whole bunch of them. I lived, loved and died with those girls! Hahaha I could not, for a second, understand how death or other people could intervene and affect their love and make them suffer eternally. Candy gave her love up for Terry so that the injured girl that saved Terry’s life remains with him, Gerogie gave up Lowell after her search for him across the world because of status and politics. Lady Oscar lost her love in battle. What is this crap!!!
Lady Oscar
Georgie and Lowell
I decided I had to do something about it so I put together a plan on how to bring Georgie and Lowell together, no matter the tempest they have to face, the perils and obstacles thrown their way. One of my friends back then, Consuela, who had an incredible talent for drawing, did the cover for me hehe. Then I took mom’s map dictionary and started dotting the route for Lowell to use and find Georgie who had been kidnapped.

In truth, I haven’t read the damn thing in years. And I mean many years. But I think the story goes something like this: Georgie meets Lowell on a field where she had spread her ankle while riding the horse and she wanted to send her dog Ortensa (hahaha) to go get her brother Terry to find her and bring her home. Lowell offers to give her a ride which eventually he does and afterwards they meet a few more times on different occasions and fall in love. Lowell is the son of a local Governor or something; therefore he is a wanted bachelor. Alice is a high class rich daughter of someone (I don’t remember whom) and she’s targeting Lowell as a good match. Of course she is a scrupulous bitch who does not enjoy competition, even the unwilling and uninterested competition like Georgie who has no idea who Lowell really is. Eventually, right before setting sale for home, Lowell decides to bring Georgie on board and propose, breaking his engagement to Alice. But Alice finds out and pays some sailors to kidnap Georgie and has the balls to even bring her on the same ship she and Lowell are sailing on to go home. Meanwhile her brothers realize she has gone missing and turn to Lowell to find her but in vain. Eventually Lowell has to go, unaware that in the belly of the same ship he is on, Georgie lies trapped as a prisoner with Alice sleeping in the quarters above her. There is a storm on the sea and the ship wrecks. Georgie is boarded on a small life boat while Lowell and Alice are put on a different one going in opposite directions. Lowell seems to spot her in the billows but he can’t be sure with the thunders and heavy rain coming down on them. When he docks at his destination he finally finds from the captain that there was a prisoner on the ship and he now knows it was Georgie. He breaks up with Alice and asks his father for money and a ship to go look for her. The first volume (haha) ends when he is on board traveling towards the Gibraltar worrying about pirates.

His journey would have taken him from Gibraltar to Cagliari, and after passing by Malta and Crete, he would have sailed all the way to Istanbul, travel by land to then find a new crew to cross the Black Sea and dock in Russia. And from there to the Great Chinese Wall on the other side of the world. Yeah. A lot of love I guess hehe. I never finished the book because I grew up and my writing style changed. I could no longer be so incredibly naïve and sweet and dreamy. I tried, because I really liked the story and I still laugh at my own stupid remarks but I failed. I just couldn’t. I would have ruined the story as it was. So here are a few images of the original with some of the parts that I enjoy.
Front cover :) By the way... it's called The Power of Destiny... hehehe
Back cover :)
Table of contents. It had to look professional :)
Some of my favorite parts
And another one :) ...

And the map! You can see the small dots in ink marking the journey :) And then I had other maps of each country separately to work on the details :)
And as we are discussing writing and growing up and school, ‘cause they all related back then, my math, chemistry and physics notebooks all looked pretty much like this. A few pages of that nonsense digits, equations and formulas in the beginning and pages and pages of a bored Mela writing her stories at the end. Haha Always! Haha
This looks like math... I can't really tell. They all look the same to me. Yuck!
From what I noticed the Growing Up - Part I (The little writer) – my Batman story when I was ten or twelve is my most successful post so far (considering your views of the page), so I decided to give you a glimpse at the original. So here is the precious, never seen before first page of that story, the way I wrote it back twenty years ago. Damn! (20 years ago!!!!!)

Ah and yes, now that we brought school into discussion. I am sure most of you did these kind of notes! I loved them, it helped a lot with understanding literature better and the books I read. I also had numerous notebooks with excerpts or lines that caught my eye when reading stuff.
The necklace! haha Pissi-ckat baby!

I have so many of these!
And of course, you remember theseeeee!!! Yes, yes, we all had them! Fun to remember the excitement when the teacher would call me to grade me so I have something to show mom home! (not math though – that always sucked!).
The one on the right is for classes I to IV and the pink one for V to VIII
And again, now that if I mentioned mom, here is a test paper, I think from 7th grade right before I got second place on National Olympics on Romanian Literature and Grammar. I got an F damn it and mom wrote "You were too tolerant when grading her paper. Thank you" What the heck?!?! Yeah. Those were our parents back then and they supported out teachers in making the right call, not putting them against the wall for "molesting" their children for not having studied. But that's an entirely different discussion all together. So, my Romanian teacher, God rest his soul, he was one of the best men I’ve ever known, a father figure to me and an idol. He kicked me and pushed me and never cut me any slack and that’s why, eventually, I was one of the best students in class and later on in high school. He passed away a year before I got married and I remember I could not believe my ears upon the news of his death. He passed away too soon, well before his time. His wife is a second mom, his daughter is to the day, my other sister. I drove like mad to Valcea and literally jumped out of the car to follow the endless row of current and former students paying him one last homage. Mr. Victor Margalina, a man I wished I had at my side for longer than a few years and whom I wished to see at my wedding but I missed on that chance. I owe my passion for words to him. Forever in my heart and thoughts. This is for you.
To conclude with, here is my coloring book. If you’re wondering why it’s perfectly done and the colors all nicely chosen and neatly colored unlike the work of a normal child… well that only happens because I did not color this as a child. I colored it in college. Hahahaha! HA HA! Yes, ladies and gents, during my freshman year exams coloring would calm me down, especially that I lived in an old house and I could climb on the roof, stay in the sun, smoke and draw. Uh uh yes, I smoked during my freshman year in college. Because everyone else was doing it. I gave up after my second session of exams when I realized I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without my lungs collapsing and my palms sweating as if I had taken on the East side of the Everest.

Well, I hope your steps are much lighter now as you’re moving towards Wednesday! See you tomorrow folks!

PS: Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger. It's a nice trick :)

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