A year later I spend Pastele Blajinilor with Ion, after we lost someone very dear to both of us. We slump through the snow and mud up to the cemetery. Just days earlier a freak late-April snowstorm hit Moldova.
As Ion and I have talked about his past, Ion recalls how the deportations were a tragedy for his parents, but he was so young at the time that he still struggles to remember some parts. Ion is a quiet and warm, yet stoic man who speaks less of his deportation than Nina. The ways in which deportees remember their deportations differs significantly, some coming back to their experiences over and over again, and some thinking of them as a footnote in a young life. Today, Ion tends to focus more on the issues directly at hand, caring for his garden, making wine, and spending time with his family.
Ion remembers, “I was only a child [when we were deported], and the events didn't affect me much, don’t feel attached to them. But my parents, they were the ones who pulled the laboring oar… You know, we couldn't talk [about the deportations] with our parents, we didn't want to ask them anything and they didn't want to tell. I guess they were very afraid when they were taken away and they must have suffered a great deal. They were forced to keep their mouths shut lest someone in power should find something out about them. My father had a saying, ‘Don't play with the state, because you're playing with fire.’”