Memories Of Childhood Days

In 1964, Creangă's memories were made into a movie (click here to see preview) by Elisabeta Bostan (b. 1931), whose filmography extending back to 1956, includes the Naica series (Naica and the Stork, Naica and the Squirrel, Naica Leaves for Bucharest), another film inspired by an episode in Creangă's recollections (The Hoopoe in the Lime Tree), Veronica and The Return of Veronica, Mama, Circus Performers, Fram (an excerpt from the book it was based on may be found in this anthology), and many more.
  …On that day, Mom woke me up earlier than she did on regular occasions and poured out her heart to me: "Nica, my son, mark me well. Your Father's gone a-mowing that oat field before it sheds all the grain. As for me, I have my hands full right now. So you'd be well advised to quit hanging out in the road and, instead, give Mummy a hand with spinning and rocking the baby asleep. For in my turn I'm going to buy you one of those nice little hats with a silk ribbon and a neat money belt at the Falticeni fair – just the thing for a lad like you." "Sure thing, Mom," yet in my heart of hearts I had plans of a quite different nature. Be that as it may, when it came to sewing and braiding topcoats and, above all, working the spinning wheel, I would successfully vie with the big girls. It was on that account that mean Mariuca, Savucu's daughter, whom, truth to tell, I didn't find repulsive in the least, would often taunt me with the nickname Spinning Ion, which happened to be the name of a Gypsy from the village of Vanatori. In spite of all that, I was still partial to her, and we'd spin side by side in the shade of their walnut tree, in such vast amounts that Mom would kiss me in the evening when I'd show off with the day's work at our house. That's how boys and girls in those days used to take turns in hosting work sessions in their respective houses, which in the country went by the name of gatherings and were mostly a night-long affair, each of us doing their own work. As I was spinning, fiercely competing with Mariuca, and as the distaff was purring, in like fashion did my heart purr with love for Mariuca, so help me… and I can recollect that one particular night, as we had gathered for stripping corn cobs, I retrieved a mouse from Mariuca's bosom, the said beast being on the point of frightening the poor damsel out of her wits, had I not been there. Yet when it came to rocking the baby, I got cold shivers down my spine, for I had the misfortune of being the eldest brother. Still, what was one to do when one's Mom was asking for a favor? The only thing was that, as it happened, on the day she asked for the favor, as it happened, the sky was so clear and the weather so hot that one felt like having a dip in the very dust of the road, the way hens were wont to. Upon seeing such weather, I stole to the river, bearing a grudge against Mom, in complete disregard of the fact that she was my Mom and had lots of trouble on her head at the moment. I'm telling you the truth, for the Lord our God is watching. At length, thinking I'd sneaked to the orchard, Mom came out of the house and started calling out my name for all she was worth: "Ioane! Ioane! Ioane! Ioane!" And not a trace of Ion. As she got no reply from me, she dropped whatever it was she was doing and followed me to the river, which she knew was my haunt. And there she found me spread eagled in the sand, stripped to my bare skin, the whole indecorous length of me. Then she watched me as I got to my feet and applied to each ear a smooth flat stone of the kind streaked with silver, hot with the sun, and as I started hopping first on one foot, then on the other, now leaning my head to one side, now to the other, chanting the whole time: Goldy-poldy, come up here,Draw the water from each ear,For I'll pay you gold of old,And I'll scrub your buckets newAnd I'll beat your drums for you.  Next I'd throw the two stones, one after the other, into the pool where I used to bathe: one for the Lord, one for the devil, so as to do justice to both, plus a few more for good measure, to the end of locking up the devil, bubbles at his mouth, on the bottom of the pool. Thereupon – kerflop! – I'd dive into the pool myself to catch the devil by the leg, for those were the ordinances of bathing from the beginnings of time. I'd then dive for three more times in a row, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, plus one more time to mark the Amen. Then I'd drift to the shore and come to rest there on one side, the whole lump of me, drinking in the forbidden show of the water playing around the exquisite legs of some girls bleaching linen upstream. I find it hard to believe anyone could picture a lovelier sight. My poor Mother had no choice but witness the whole display in spite of herself, hands tucked under her armpits in a mute expression of chagrin, from the shelter of a mound not too far away from me. I wasn't in the least aware of her, taken as I was with my pursuits. All in all, half an hour must have elapsed since Mother had started observing me, in addition to the three-four hours since I'd made myself scarce, so by now I ought to have been positively famished, seeing it was well past lunchtime. Yet I, in the blissful state I was experiencing, was no longer aware of living in the material world. To cut a long story short, Mom, dumbfounded though she was, did lose her patience in the end and advanced stealthily, on tiptoe, from behind, just as I was busy ogling those girls, she picked all my clothes from the bank nice'n'easy, and left me stark naked in the water, calling to me in aggrieved tones: "I'll be seeing you back home, you good-for-nothing lout, when the pangs of hunger drive you there, don't you worry…" 1880 

by Ion Creangă (1838-1889)