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Family – another form of art

They saw each other, they became friends, they fell in love, they got married and they created a beautiful family. In 1980, Vasile and Ana began to write their story together.

Vasile worked at the Archeology Museum in Chisinau and was preparing to enter the Moscow Polygraphic Institute, at the “Graphic Book” faculty while Ana was working at a restaurant in an organization, near that Archeology Museum. He often came to eat there, because the food was tasty, inexpensive and a small queue. Then they met and bonded with each other a beautiful friendship.
Then they met each other and a beautiful friendship begins.

Vasile’s wish was fulfilled and he became a student by correspondence in Moscow. And in the autumn of 1982, Vasile and Ana played the wedding. They had a beautiful wedding, in the country in the tent as it was done in ancient times. The autumn of that year was dry, but at their wedding, it rained all night, a good sign for a happy marriage.

Familia o forma de arta-Vasile Movileanu and Ana Movileanu

In 1983, on March 19, Ana was cooking cabbage rolls, it was Vasile’s birthday. She was pregnant and the labour pain began. They called for an ambulance and in the evening the first daughter came to the world. The girl’s name was given to her by Vasile, they called her Victoria. Four years later, the second daughter, Cristina, was born.

Vasile and Ana Movileanu formed a healthy and beautiful family, based on mutual love and respect. The roles in their family were well divided, the wife was in charge of the housework, looking after the girls and the husband. Also, Vasile was an exemplary husband, a loving father that worked hard, a true pillar of confidence and power. Ana had a passion, she liked to sew at the sewing machine. She made a lot of clothes for the girls. The time they spent together was the most valuable. The holidays were spent in nature, playing chess, collecting mushrooms and of course, Vasile was painting…

“When I was little I had many dreams, however, I did not imagine that the family would influence my adult life so much. I chose the job of the seamstress mother and the painter’s father. Combining painting, decorative art, tailoring and sewing, I became a costume designer, specializing in creating accessories and participating in different exhibitions, ”says Victoria, the eldest daughter.

The ups and downs were part of their lives, but they overcame them by listening, communicating and respecting each other. “Creating a beautiful family is also an art,” said Vasile.

“My father taught me to be responsible, not to be afraid of difficulties, he spoke to me as an adult, I discussed life situations on an equal level, it allowed me to make decisions on my own and this instilled my confidence and courage. My father cultivated my love for books and art, he taught me to observe the beauty in everything around me, he taught me to love people and to value life”, remembers Cristina, the younger daughter.

The years passed, Vasile and Ana became grandparents. Unfortunately, he couldn’t see or hold his grandsons in his arms telling them stories from the books he illustrated. The disease that followed him all his life, defeated him and he left us for a better world, a world without suffering.

VM

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Vasile Movileanu student in Chisinau

In the autumn of 1974, Vasile became a student at the “Ilya Repin” School of Fine Arts, currently the College of Fine Arts “A. Lump “. The four years of studies were the basis of the creation of the watercolour painter, the graphic artist, the illustrator – Vasile Movileanu.

While still a schoolboy at the boarding school in Ialoveni, Vasile saw himself as a student. He was in the eighth grade and began to think very seriously about his future. At the boarding school, in addition to the basic subjects, the children would learn typing and accounting. But, Vasile chose to follow his dream to become a painter. A long series of searches began, he would inform himself about the institutions where he could carry out his studies, he was convinced that in order to live his dream he had to follow a thorough training.

Vasile Movileanu student

He arrived in Chisinau, with the approval of the director, where he found the art school. He started talking with the young people he met there and even went to the student dorms with them. He was very impressive. It was for the first time when he saw a student room, and various drawings were hung on the walls and he was watching them with jealousy and desire, especially when a student showed him his portfolio with the drawings gathered during the year of study. Now he was truly happy, he knew what he had to do and was preparing intensely and he was very conscious of this important step in his life.

In the summer of that year, he took three exams: drawing, painting and composition. He got a high mark for all three and so he became a student at the School of Fine Arts ”I. Repin ”, from Chisinau. He quickly fell in love with Chisinau. It seemed to him the most beautiful city, and over the years it became a place dear to his soul, and proof of this are the marvellous landscapes in his paintings with roads, people, buildings.

Vasile is a student and begins to enjoy this wonderful period of his life. There were 11 students in the group, four were living in each room, all of them were very friendly and helping each other. Here he made many friends, together they went to the cinema in the city and he would always discover interesting activities for spending his free time.  He had a close friend, Ion Lungu he was called, he always helped him, carrying his brushes, because Vasile went through crutches all his life.

He discovered his passion for watercolour. And since then he has not separated from it. He also had a nickname, his friends called him “Rîbac”. Vasile was very much loved by both the dormitory colleagues and the rest of the students. He was praised for the courage with which he often faced the obstacles of life, for his intelligence and ability to make friends and form long-lasting relationships. If in the boarding school Vasile formed his character, a true fighter, here he formed his personality, which became his business card.

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Love and friendship

At the boarding school, Vasile was very happy, but when he would leave for the holidays, he forgets the school and integrates himself very easily into the household chores in his native village Secăreni. This summer, he was in the seventh grade and mother took him to make an array of tobacco, since she was hired. He was happy that he could be useful, and he tried very hard to make as many arrays as possible. That is how he thought time would pass faster. This year, he had the longest holiday because of thoughts that kept bothering him. He had a problem. He was in love with a girl from the boarding school, but she already had a boyfriend.

When he saw her after the holidays, she looked even more beautiful. And then he decided to seduce her so he wrote her a message in which he asked for her friendship, then sent it through her friend. At that place, everyone had health issues, but hers were not easily seen. Although Vasile had an advanced degree of handicap, he was confident in himself and all his peers respected him. The answer did not make itself be waited for, and by evening, he received a message back with only one word written on it: ”YES”.

Youthfulness
Youthfulness 2003, watercolour, 49×60 cm

That is how their beautiful friendship started, with emotions, with mistakes and with butterflies in his stomach. We already know Vasile is a dreamer, but now he also became a romantic. He was imagining how he would take walks with his girlfriend when a huge dog would appear but would take the dog by his throat and tear it apart, which would make him be proud of the heroic way in which he protected his girlfriend.

They were at the age when everyone believed they were soma Dumas musketeer or a knight on a horse, who would save princesses or “cinderellas”, all of them in search for love – the most beautiful feeling in the world. All because novels were the main books of the young people at the boarding school.

He dreamt of as many private moments as he could. At one point, there was a time when they locked themselves in a classroom. They both wanted an intimate moment, only for them, so they can at least embrace each other. In the school, such gestures were banned, but Vasile didn’t like showing his love in public either. But someone saw them and told on them.

The school made it be a big deal. He was pulled outside in the front of the boarding school and he also risked being expelled. Then, a miracle happened. His classmate and friend saved him: she told the school that she was also in the classroom and they were just playing. That is how Vasile escaped expulsion, but he was punished nonetheless.

He had to peel potatoes for a week. In the beginning, he would try hard, but he soon got bored and to make it easier, together with a classmate who had to suffer the same punishment, they tried to see who can notice better through the almost-closed door of the attic. Soon enough, they had no more potatoes…
When the school saw his punishment became a game, they forgave him.

He continued to be friends with his classmate until they graduated and each of them followed their dreams. She was inspired by Indian films and wanted to be a lawyer to bring justice to all. He wanted to become a well-known painter.

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The Boarding School – my dear school

The Boarding School – my dear school

New autumn arrived, and with it new hope for Vasile to go to school. Now he walked with crutches. After they returned from Saharna, where he followed a rehabilitation treatment, they quickly made their way to Ialoveni, at the school they wanted.

But this time, the director welcomed them happily. Vasile, to impress the director started to show him how well he could walk with the crutches, and show him some tricks he learnt from the kids in Saharna, like walking on his hands or others. But, unfortunately, they were hit by a new blow, Toma Feodorovici Postică told them the year already started and there were no more places… so they had to come next year.

The father and Vasile were true warriors, so they accepted the new challenge. The father founds a teacher for his son and Vasile started to learn at home. The boy learnt how to read and write. He was very capable and he learnt everything easily, they didn’t even notice when a year passed. At the end of May, they went back to the boarding school in Ialoveni. Here surprise, they asked Vasile in what year he wanted to study. The boy was so happy and nervous that he chose to go in year III, even if he knew he wasn’t completely prepared… but he had confidence in his own power.

He liked the school very much. It was big, and on its land, there was a gym, a canteen, and very spacious dorms.
The physical education teacher, Mihail Ștefănucă cultivated their love for sports and moving. Vasile developed a great passion for chess, a game he learnt from some veterans he met at Saharna, and he also played ping pong and other games. They would also go to other regional competitions. He learnt how to play the trumpet and he was part of the fanfare.
There were 17 students in the classroom, and all of them were friends.
Vasile continued his passion – painting, which became his principal activity in life. So, he was named by his peers – the painter of the class. Vasile got used to it quickly and he was very happy.

Vasile photographed next to the artwork he drew at Ialoveni

The life in the boarding school meant a lot of discipline. The morning would start with gymnastics on music, then breakfast, then they would go to class. The teachers were severe, would pay attention to every child, since they wanted to get maximum results from every child. After lessons they would take a break for playing and relaxation, then they would go back to the classroom to start working on homework. Whoever would finish first, they would need to wait in silence until everyone would finish. Vasile would be the first to finish so he would start drawing, but because he didn’t have sheets, he would use the notebook. The homeroom teacher Eugen Taranuha noticed Vasile’s big passion for drawing and decided to support him. After lessons, the teacher gave him an album, some colourful crayons and he would let him into an empty classroom to draw, Vasile was very grateful for such an opportunity.

Boarding school Ialoveni Vasile Movileanu
Classmates and the teacher from boarding school from Ialoveni

That’s how the first year of school finished for Vasile. The big summer holiday started.
Vasile would spend most of his time reading because he couldn’t run around with the other children. He liked reading a lot, considering he would travel everywhere in his imagination, which also helped him become a good story-teller. His peers would make his bed at night because Vasile would tell them different stories on any subject until all of them would fall asleep and lately, he would sleep.

The school in Ialoveni was very dear to him, where he spent his most beautiful years of childhood, and here he also experienced his first love.
Here he built his character, formed a system of priorities which he used daily and thanks to which he would win in the worst situations. Here he also learnt the motto „Life is a fight!”

Note:

Dear reader,
I hope you liked The Journal of Vasile Movileanu and you want to discover even more. In the next story, we will bring you stories of love happening between the mates in the boarding school and about Vasile’s first love.

Author: Ana Movileanu

 

 

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The way to school is full of obstacles

Even if they did not allow him into the second grade at the school in Ialoveni because he could not go, Vasile was still glad, since he now knew that there is a school in which he could learn. For him this school was very important. It was his only chance and he was ready to do whatever was in his power. The dad started to think about how to make him some crutches since he had hands of gold and he could build a house from the foundation to the roof, but he liked woodwork especially.

Dad, Stefan worked several days in making the crutches. Vasile during this time, was always by Dad, asking him different questions. When the crutches were ready, Vasile began to train. He was getting up on them, but with every attempt to walk, he would fall and rise and fall. Dad looked at the struggling boy from the house with his heart small like a flea. It was very hard for him because he could not help the child with anything and he was suffering when he was seeing all of the boy’s attempts were useless. Then Dad, giving in to desperation, told the boy: “If you don’t learn how to walk, I’ll cut your throat.” Vasile looked at him surprised and in his childish naiveté asked: “How? Like the lamb’s?” (since he saw how Dad was cutting the lamb for Easter). And he started crying. Dad got even sadder, because he loved his boy madly and he was feeling bad that he gave in to fury. Indeed, words can kill, if we don’t know when to stop. Dad took the crutches and broke them in two, then he hugged the child and held him, and said, this time with more warmth: “For how long I will be alive, nobody will upset you.” And then, he took the decision to take the boy to the sanatorium in Saharna.

But until he arrived at Saharna, he was supposed to make some tests. Dad was sad, back then the transport was not like today our and the village roads had no concrete. It was the beginning of the 60s, a bit of time passed after the end of the Second World War, the times were hard. In the entire village, there were three cars of the Sovhoz. And if you wanted to  go somewhere you had to talk to the driver in advance in case someone was going to carry some straws, then they would have taken you as well. But, Stefan Movileanu wanted so much for Vasile to learn and to find his purpose in life. For this effort, Vasile has been very grateful to his parents.

Sometimes in the middle of June, on a sunny day, mom went to Lapusna with Vasile for some tests. They left early in the morning in a car who was taking some pigs to a farm. From there, they came back walking, they walked for about three hours, but it wasn’t the first time. Mom was holding him in her arms, but when she would tire, she would let him walk on his fours. Slowly, the village would be left behind, but suddenly the clouds came and blackened the sky and it started raining, with big drops, then more and more, until it became a thunderstorm. The rain conquered all, you couldn’t see the sky or the earth anymore. The rain was so strong that it took them away to the close-by lake.

In those hard times, only the prayers of the mom had any strength. While the rain took them away, they passed a fallen tree and Vasile caught himself on a branch, then his mom did the same. Vasile climbed on a higher branch and he looked on the horizon. Mom took her scarf and started moving it above their heads. Maybe the dogs from a nearby stable smelled them or maybe God heard the mom’s prayers, but two shepherds came to save them. They gave them cheese and milk and gave them shelter. They arrived home late with a carriage which came to the stable for milk.

In the end, they got all the documents and the tests the doctor wanted, they took some apples and pies made by mom and left for Saharna. It was a big sanatorium where people came to rest or for treatment especially war veterans from all the republics of the Soviet Union. The hospital was on the shore of Nistru, in a very beautiful and quiet area, with small alleys full of flowers, with benches for resting, with birds having free concerts.

The place where Vasile lived was across the surgery room and there was a specific smell, a weird smell of drugs and blood, which he never smelled before, and which he remembered for the rest of his life.

They operated on his left leg, and he was lucky it wasn’t completely destroyed since he could still move his toes a bit. After the surgery, he stayed in bed for a long time, and he would only go outside to lay under the shadow of a tree. Then, they put his leg in a cast to straighten the bones. But, unfortunately, they put the cast too high, to his waist. When the gypsum got dry, it went into his skin and gave him inhumane pain. The boy complained to the nurse, but she thought they were just the whims of a child and didn’t take him seriously. The boy was silent and suffering and said nothing to no one because he knew, if he could use the crutches, he could go to school.

He would miss his parents, his brothers, his village, Secareni and the chicks he would play with in the yard when he was by himself because the others were working or the times when he would climb on the pig when she would be brought back by his brother Mihai. But the pain did not pass, just a scream of despair made the doctors see the sheets were bloody and only then they took off the cast. He was just a child, dreaming, was quiet and once in a while, he would cry.

Childhood watercolor painting by Vasile Movileanu
They say those who have walked in darkness carry a great light. He would miss such a wonderful childhood like in this artwork but he painted it in his soul. This is one of his watercolours he will paint in the future.

A lot of interesting things were seen by Vasile that summer at Saharna. Here, for the first time, he saw how the men play chess, a hobby he developed later. Also here he met people with different health problems: one with only one hand, another one with only one leg, one had no legs or hands, but he liked to smoke so the nurse would light his cigarette, and he would tell her jokes to thank her. Vasile made friends with other children and through playing he learned how to use the crutches. He learned to walk by himself, vertically, thus he would see the world better. He was happy and enthusiastic but even then he didn’t get to go to school yet…

Ana Movileanu

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The first ones few steps hoop made by Vasile

Back then, women chose to give birth at home, since it was easier for them, considering they had two midwives in their village, one of them worked as a nurse for many years, and the others always cooked the best food for weddings, christening parties and funerals. When the due date came for Maria, the midwife Gafea had a day off. The children were born healthy, beautiful, and the father Stefan, was very proud that he had not one, but two children and both of them were boys. The family of Stefan and Maria Movileanu was a happy one. Ion and Vasile started walking at a young age, and at nine months they ran around in the courtyard after chicks, followed their mother when she would leave to get water and their mischief amused others and brought joy.

But unhappiness stepped into their house when the boys were a year and four months. Back then polio, a virus which affects the nervous system and it causes paralysis, was ravaging the country without a vaccine. Polio infected the twins.

They were in the hospital in Lăpuşna. They were fighting. They came in with big fever and intestinal infection. It was like Vasile felt his purpose on Earth, that it will be a noble one, but hard. Vasile stretched his arms towards his dream and continued to follow it. His brother, Ion lost his fight. However, illness didn’t forgive Vasile, it attacked his locomotor system and he could no longer walk without help.

Vasile Movileanu toddler at the hospital at this stage he couldn't use his legs (he was paralysed by poliomyelitis virus)
Vasile Movileanu toddler at the hospital, he was paralysed by poliomyelitis virus

 

The pain of the parents was infinite, the father could not accept the thought that his boy wouldn’t walk again. The following years were marked by uncountable operations, hospitals and treatments in the sanatoriums of Sergheevca and Saharna, but everything was in vain and he could no longer stay on his feet like any other child of his age. The boy kept growing so he had to go to school. He started learning in first grade, and the parents and his older brothers would carry him in their arms from school. And if any of them would be late, Vasile would go by himself, on his fours, and he would be immensely grateful and happy when one of his classmates would help him by carrying his bag. Sometimes, even the director of the school would take him home. That is how Vasile finished first grade. He was smart and ambitious, a quality that a lot of people noticed, and especially, his father.

From the word of mouth, the father found out there is a very good doctor in Ciuciuleni and he thought the doctor might be able to give him so advice if he saw Vasile. He put the boy on a bike and they left for the doctor in Ciuciuleni. The doctor himself had a boy with mental issues and who needed special care because he wasn’t even attending school. But he had a lot of new toys, beautiful and all of them bought from the store, Vasile remembered. He only played with toys made by his father. That is when his father found out there is a school in Ialoveni for children with special needs. The father didn’t think about it too long and around May, when the cherries were ripped, he took a bag of white cherries from “RASEA” (that’s the name of the place where a rich man with a big orchard lived), another bag filled with dreams and he went to Ialoveni to register him for second grade. Vasile remembers he found the school very hard because you had to know the Russian language, but because his father served in the army in Donbas and he knew some Russian, they found it in the end. Vasile liked the school a lot and he wanted to learn there since it was so much bigger than the one in his village.

The director of the school welcomed him very warmly. But, while they were discussing, he saw that Vasile was walking on all fours and he told the father that he would accept the child in his school if he walked vertically, something the boy could not do at the time. The father was very sad and could not accept the fact that everything could be lost. Seeing this, the director of the school, Toma Feodorovici Postica, suggested taking the boy to the sanatorium in Sergheevca, so they can straighten one of his legs, give him a prosthetic to keep his leg straight and teach him to walk with crutches. So his ambitious dream of learning was destroyed once more.

About the next attempts of Vasile to continue school, we will tell you in another story.

Ana Movileanu