Little Life Stories

4. A Sample with Hearts 

Out of habit, I stepped out for a cigarette, I didn’t want to smoke inside. I’m preparing for my next audio journey. At a table on the terrace, I find two gentlemen debating what to order in Hungarian. I go back inside to my story. 

Ana Boier and Mărioara Sîrbu


BUNICUȚLE (THE GRANNIES) Women’s Association

Uzdin, the village from Vojvodina, Serbia, inhabited by Romanians. 

Mărioara: You come without hidden thoughts, that’s how I see you. I deal with the Romanian language. I’ve never been ashamed to ask about what I don’t know because a lot has evaporated. And I will talk about what I know for as long as my mouth will help me. 

Maria: We make time when someone comes to see us and wants to know what we’ve done here. In 2003, we got this building where we are now, which was and still is a house for retired people. We later organized ourselves into an association. We have arranged the other rooms in traditional fashion. As far as I know, we are all from Uzdin. We make the most of the local traditional Romanian costume, we have had many events at the Village Museum in Timișoara, we kept getting invited, we have also been invited to Teregova, Bozovici, Bodrogu Vechi, Ciacova, Berini, Gottlob. After I retired, I kept asking myself what to do with my time. I never wore traditional dress, but I thought of asking the women who were retired, the teachers, then other women. Ujna Mărioara was concerned with literature, she wrote, she also had a collection of traditional dresses and we decided to focus on that. It should be known that until the ‘70s, the traditional dress was worn by the women in Uzdin in their everyday life, except for girls when they went to school. Later it was only worn at celebrations, then less and less. 

We weren’t interested just in the Romanian traditional costume, we invited other ethnic groups, we presented our costumes to each other, we discussed, we analyzed, we always got along with each other. The money we get from sponsorship is little, but we still managed to gather about 25 women. We also make mărțișoare. It’s been hard for us to see each other after this pandemic, it’s like everything just stopped.

I needed a cigarette. When a pandemic says STOP, and you’re in the last years of your life, how do you get it together afterwards?

Photo credit: Dariana Hînda

English translation: Cristina Chira