Green Pouch

My father decided to put me on his shoulders and protest outside the Hotel Intercontinental, in 1984, during Communism in Romania. I was four years old and my only memory of the incident is going up a very big spiral staircase to a room where I was to be held until my mother came. He was imprisoned under terrible conditions and then released after six months. It’s interesting how imprisonment can sometimes lead to “freedom.” My mother, obviously, did not consent to the protest or leave Romania happily. Nonetheless, we became political refugees and left with two suitcases and fifty dollars. We spent two weeks in Rome where my parents attended an orientation to learn about life in America. This pouch that my mother received from her mother for the journey contains Romanian soil and is tied with the colors of the Hungarian flag. My mother is from a small city in Transylvania that was once part of Hungary. My grandmother gathered the soil from a beautiful garden that she kept behind her house. She loved plants and spent much of her time cultivating the garden. This little green pouch is a symbol of home. It’s color, green, represents the heart to me. It carries the soil of what once was and the origins of my family’s existence. The soil has not been replanted and we almost forgot where we put it, even though it is such a part of us.

Year: 1985

– Elisa

Relationship:  unknown unknown