Milk Bottle

The morning always started with a bottle of milk. Yes, the one with the wide neck, the communist one, the one without whom you couldn’t think of the morning meal, before going to school. The road from the steps to the house to the gate sometimes seemed dizzy from the final awakening from the nets of the child’s sleep, but in just a few moments, the steam of milk boiling in the pot and, especially, the pleasure of choosing sour cream that came to the surface as a sweet reward.

Yes, there was a time when, on the subscription, the milk bottle was brought to you at the gate or at the door of the block of flats. Next to her, the jars of yogurt were waiting for you in the morning: big or small, as you had paid. The milk car was dripping lazily on the streets or in the alleys of the block, and the milkman was making the rounds. Yes, at that time it was unthinkable to have a morning without milk. And, the milk bottle was so precious that it was never, but absolutely never, among the bottles that were taken to ICVA.

A little later, the milk bottle became a nuisance. The habit of subscribing to the factory to bring your milk home had become too bourgeois, in the minds of the Communist Party fools. In fact, there was not much milk left, and when they announced that the payment of subscriptions was stopped, the propagandists wanted nothing more than to mask the lack, through lies. In fact, it was milk, but not for the Romanians. For millions of children, the milk bottle had become an ordeal. The mornings no longer began with a merry rush to the gate or to the doors, but with waking up in the morning, with the huge bag in which the empty bottles and jars of yogurt were placed, with the shaky road to Alimentara, with trembling, sitting in line and , especially, with the stone that you had to find and put next to the bag, in order to replace yourself in the time when you would have left the line. Peter was the supreme humility. The stone and the empty bottles were the symbol of total decay, of the degradation of the human condition, of the degradation covered propagandistically by the best screams from the televisions, every night, on Telejurnal.
By the mid-1980s, the road to the store to buy milk was useless. That’s right, the party, that is, the party, had taken care to help you: it had decided that the milk should be packed in bags. So, if you wanted milk, you didn’t have to go to work with a bottle after you. At the end of the program or even during business hours, the cordless phone of hunger notifies you: Milk has been put in. And, if you were quick on your feet, you could be the happy buyer of a liter or two of milk.

Abandoned for no reason, the milk bottle was quickly found another use. As there was no more milk, not a few painted them white on the inside, taking them to work full of vodka. Leafa went, time passed, vodka was drunk, and the working class, of course, loved to work. the store meant everything: dry poverty, despair, humiliation, dehumanization, rat life.

Many have forgotten those times or do not want to remember them. The nostalgic ones talk about the huge milk and dairy productions, the number of the herd. But forget to say the essential: everything that was good was not for the Romanians. Milk was not for them, nor yogurt, nor cheese, nor cheese. By 78, I ate smoked cheese rolls for the first time, in two layers of fat. Not even when it had occurred to me that such a thing could exist. An acquaintance had bought it through another acquaintance, from one of the closed-circuit shops of the Party Household, and, seeing me swallow dry, he handed me a piece, to taste that I should not die badly. But, I knew that, if to him, the son of the Head of Unit at Alimentara, such a finesse was reserved for me, and for millions of Romanians, only the stone to put in a queue of

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