Hana Lea Calmanovici

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This is my beloved mother, Hana Lea Calmanovici, in 1925 – when she was 22. Look at how pretty she was… And elegant, too. I heard she was quite the picky type. This went for everything – from choosing her husband to small things. She was a proud woman. She had the money – as my grandfather was rich – and she also had the looks.

My mother was born on March 3, 1903. People called my mother Anuta, but officially, her name was Hana Lea.

My mother, may God rest her soul, was very severe. She established things around the house, what needed to be done, what needed to be bought. Well, she was harsher, may God forgive her. Whereas my father was meeker. I loved him immensely. I loved my mother as well, but it was different with my father. And do you know how parents were in former days? They loved me very much, but they didn’t spoil me. My father called me using a diminutive, Ricola instead of Rica, but he wouldn’t caress or kiss me. Yet I could feel he cared for me. So did my mother, but my mother, may God rest her soul, was more distant. She would yell at me, if something didn’t agree with her. I think my father never yelled at me as long as he lived. Mother was severe with me. When I was little, she even used to beat me. But it was for my own good. But when I got married, she washed our clothes at her place, and she brought them over already ironed, and she had the keys to our front door and wardrobe, and she put the clothes in the wardrobe. She cooked for me, I sometimes didn’t have the time to come and get food from her, and she brought me the food home. As a mother would, no doubt. But she never caressed me, she never told me “my dear,” or something like that. She was more distant, but she was very honest.

My father died on February 4, 1969, and my mother died in 1981. But after my father died, my mother suffered – not a psychological shock, God forbid, but – a terrible shock. She loved him very much. They lived together for 42 years, from 1927 until 1969. They might have had their ups and downs, but they lived a beautiful life together. I liked so much the way my father spoiled my mother. For instance, he enjoyed going to the cinema on Saturday. And she first wanted to wash the dishes after lunch. And it made us run late. And he would go, and caress her nose: “Lizica, it is late.” And I liked that. I had a great deal to learn from them, for they lived very beautifully. But It’s all in the past now.

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Interviewee: Rifca Segal
Emoke Major
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Botosani, Romania


Hana Lea Calmanovici
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