This is my maternal grandmother, Iuliana Blum. This photo was likely taken around the end of the 19th century in Gyula.
My grandfather Emanuel Schillinger did his army service in the Austrian-Hungarian Army. Grandfather finished seven grades – finishing the agricultural school – and became a tenant farmer. Grandfather leased a tract of land from a baron and managed an estate; that’s how he could eventually afford to buy land in Sintea Mare. What I remember of the house in Sintea Mare is that my grandfather did the farming and my uncle Iosif, my mother’s brother, had a tinsmith workshop in the house. My grandparents were on good terms with the neighbors, and the family was united and prosperous. My grandfather was interested in politics at the time, but he didn’t get involved in any way.
My mother, who was in better financial shape than Grandfather, supported her parents because Grandpa’s business never went particularly well. Farming depended on the seasons and the weather. In times of drought, things were particularly difficult. In those times irrigation didn’t quite exist, meaning that agriculture hinged very much on nature.
My maternal grandmother, Iuliana Schillinger – nee Blum – was a housewife. She also lived in Sintea Mare and spent one year – after she fell sick in Beliu – with me and my parents. She didn’t stay with us for long because she was extremely ill. We were better off, and, as she didn’t have the means to pay for her treatment, we brought her a doctor. My mother’s brothers could not stand to watch my grandmother as she struggled with her illness, and they stood outside with my grandfather. It was my mother who actually took care of her, but she died nonetheless in 1938.