In April 2013 I took part in a community Theater workshop in Bucharest Romania. We lived in The Moses Rosen retirement home and participated with the daily activities of the residents.
Mr. Pompiliu, 90: A man knows he’s old when he loved all the girls, and none of them love him.
(Which was not entirely true. My roommate, a Romanian girl from Cluj, found him incredibly sexy.)
On our last day he said: Although saying goodbye is salty from the tears, may the coffee be sweet.
Mrs. Eva, age unknown: What is this? I don’t know who I drink. (She was drinking watered down coffee. She did not believe this.)
Mrs. Adelanou, 80 something about a drawing in the hallway: It says mr. Simon’s name on this, but he did not do this drawing. Everybody lies around here. I shall ask someone to erase his name from the drawing. It’s just not right.
Mrs. Alenanou about Mrs. Eva’s drawing picturing two dogs sniffing each other’s behind with the title ‘irresistable attraction’ : You are obsessed with sex. Everything is always about sex with you.
Mr. Marius about his drawing with the assignment ‘your name’: I drew a house, because domesticity is very important to me. It is a house in the middle of the forrest, the wilderness. There is a path between this house and the forrest, that leads to the front door.
Mrs. Adelanou: I think people should reconsider communism.
When she gave me an orange: Please, put the orange in your bag. Otherwise they’ll wonder where you got it from.
Mrs. Silvianu, 80s, to Mara, 19: You should never wear blue, it’s bad luck. And you should take some blonde highlights. They’ll make you look years younger.
Mrs. Medi, 104 years old, and a painter: I never really thought so much about what I would do with my life. I never made any decisions. I just waited to see what would happen. I still don’t see myself as a real painter. I don’t think I am.
Mrs. Odil, 80s, who changes her pink and purple outfits four times a day: My daughter lives in Vienna with her engineer husband. One day he bought her a red mercedes sports car. When I came to visit she drove me around in it.
Mrs. Eva: I translated avant garde Hungarian poetry. I can’t stand the idiots here. Most of them are idiots.
Mr. Simon, when asked how he was feeling: I’m glad it’s nice out so we can go outside, and that the food has gotten so much better since you all have been here. (It is doubtful the food was any different. Maybe he was just distracted.)
A lady whose name I do not remember: I was once in a school play. I played the grandma of two children, but the grandma was dead, so I actually played a photograph of the grandmother. The entire time I had a frame around my upper body. In another play I was a music box. I sat in a box and when someone opened it I sang a song. (After this story she sang a song. It was in Romanian, so I’m not sure what it was about.)
There were also two men in the group that always did everything together. When there was a photography assignment they did it in a duo. They sat next to each other when we made drawings. They were roommates, so presumably they also slept next to each other. They barely spoke, as if they had become one and the same person.