Magyar Szó

"Documenting the life of the Hungarian community in New Zealand"
- Az új-zélandi magyar közösség lapja.

Issue 82 - December 2005

Going Back To Marosvásárhely

My mother was born in Marosvásárhely.

Now many years later we sat around the coffee table in Laci's apartment in Budapest planning the trip to Marosvásárhely to visit her family, we were nervous about making the trip on our own. Neither of us spoke Romanian and what we had read and heard of Romania hadn't inspired much confidence. We were very aware of all the things that could go wrong.

Laci, my cousin, saved the day. He would drive us to Marosvásárhely. We were both very relieved. Laci had often visited the family, spoke fluent Romanian, and knew his way around the system. Our suitcases were safer in the boot of his car than stowed somewhere on a train.

We would leave the next day, overnight in Szeged then drive to Oradea where we would cross the border into Romania. Laci warned us that crossing would take hours. We would have to take food and drink, books and anything else we could think of. There would be no toilets or restrooms - Anyu's face paled at the thought.

We were on the outskirts of Marosvásárhely, we were tired. It was a pleasant but long drive from Oradea and it was good to know that we were almost there. We arrived at sunset, tall chimneys, smelters, wafted black grey smoke blurring the pink of the sky. Derelict abandoned stone buildings sat in large oily puddles. Two-story apartment buildings stood dark and desolate in the rubble and mud. They were built for factory workers according to Laci. We drove along the main boulevard into the town. The town was dimly lit with orange street lights and it seemed very quiet. No people, no cars and no open shops.


We peered through the glass doors of Anyu's old school, little had changed. The grand staircase leading to the classrooms was the same. We could almost hear the clatter of feet as girls rushed up and down between classes. We walked through the quadrangle and it was as Anyu remembered. Anyu and friends had walked, arm in arm, memorizing poems, prayers… worried about exams… and struggling with German declensions…

We had run out of time.
We stood in the hallway, suitcases packed, ready for the long trip back to Budapest. Bözsi néni asked "Were you really here? Or am I still dreaming? Will you come again? We didn't know what to say …

Andrea Bedö-Innes

Magyar Szó Issue 82 - December 2005