Haralambie Cicma Part II

We had a large garden at home, a wooden rail fence surrounded it. Part of my duties was to keep this mended;I would find the tallest, straightest trees in the forest, cut them, trim them, and drag them home. The size and weight of these rails aroused the curiosity of the townspeople—no one could understand how so small a lad could carry them.
One day my father was also marveling at one of the logs I had brought and he tried to pick it up. He sprained his back and was laid up for quite a while! He recovered finally and I showed him how I carried them; picking up the smallest end first, working towards the middle, until the weight was evenly distributed on my shoulder!
One day when I was going up the mountain to bring down a load of wood, I saw a little girl,named Ioana Dafula, making mud pies in her yard. Her mother came out to see what she was doing and I called to her, “Is that your little girl?”
“My, but she’s very dirty.”
Mrs. Dafula became furiously angryand yelled, “You’re a very naughty boy to say that. Some day you may ask Joana to be your wife.”
I blushed and ran home as fast as I could, from that time on I changed my route so that I avoided the “muddy-girl’s” house even though it was much shorter to go that way. My mother noticed this and demanded an explanation. I told her the reason and she laughed and said that it was not impossible. I felt that this was adding insult to injury and never mentioned the matter again.
In 1905 I had very little time to work at home as my school activities kept me busy. I was preparing for the Commercial School at Janina which I was to enter in the fall. Our examinations were held in June and I had satisfactorily completed all the required courses.
I discovered that I would need new shoes to wear when I went to Janina, our circumstances had not improved and I had no money with which to purchase a pair. I made a bargain with the cobbler, Hristu Dalabec: he was to make me a pair of shoes which he guaranteed to last at least a year; in return I was to work for him during July and August, I was to live at home and he was to provide my noon meal.
Every weekday I carried grain and wood on his donkey and every Sunday he forced me to go fishing with him—no matter how many we caught, I was never given one for myself. I was up at three every morning, I loaded the donkey with whole grain, took it to be milled and brought it back.
One day I made three such trips before three o’clock in the afternoon. I completed the third round trip and was instructed to go up on a nearby mountain to load the donkey with wood which was being cut by the cobbler’s father. I set out but, as we neared the forest, the donkey was so hungry and tired that he refused to go another step and fell down exhausted. I didn’t understand what was wrong with the animal and, forgetting that I was hungry and tired too, I started to yell for help. The Cobbler’s father, Theodor Dalabec came running to my aid. He soon realized what had happened to the donkey and we gave it grass and water. After a while it finally got back on it’s feet, we didn’t dare load thepoor animal with wood, so I led it back to the village; after this incident, the shoemaker was more considerate of the donkey, if not of me!
I kept my bargain, for two long months I worked and sweated for the cobbler. He too kept his promise and made me shoes of the best materials. Needless to say, the shoes lasted more than the promised time, but he put so many nails in them that they were exceedingly heavy and made a great deal of noise—everybody knew when Cicma was coming!
In September, the students who were going to Janina made up a caravan, each had a horse to ride and
another to carry his luggage. I could not afford to hire even one horse so arranged to pay one of the boys a small amount of money to include my luggage on his pack horse—I walked all the way to Janina.
The school officials found my certificate of preliminary education in good orderand I was soon enrolled at the Romanian Commercial School.
Many large buildings comprised the school: ane housed the administrators of the school; others the classrooms; the dormitories were large, ours housed about two hundred students, there were ten boys in each room, we had a bed, straw mattress and woolen blankets all of which were supplied by the school, there was a special room in which we all assembled for our evening prayers, a very large study hall, and also a well equipped infirmary.
With the exception of the Languages, all studies were taught in Romanian; we had Mathematics, including Commercial Calculation, complete bookkeeping and accounting; music study was comprised of Vocal, Instrumental, Sol-fege, Theory and Harmony; Geography, History and Grammar were also given important emphasis. All students studied Languages, whether they wanted them or not: French, taught by a Frenchman; Greek taught by a Greek; German, by a German; Turkish by a Turk; andItalian, which was instructed by a Romanian who had spent a great part of his life in Italy—he was also Romanian Consul-General to Macedonia.
I had such excellent marks upon entering the school that the Superintendent put me in the second class. All the students from Turia-Kragna were jealous of me and the boys who were already in the second year refused to help me with any of my new studies, particularly music.
Music was the only subject I found difficult as we had no music study in our town and the real foundation of the course was laid out in the first year at Janina. Our music professor was strict and I dreaded going to his classes; once there I kept my head lowered, eyes on my book (the students had told me that if I did this, the professor would think I was studying and would not call on me). This worked for a long time but I began to fear that my time was coming; one day I did not appear at Roll Call—the Pedagogue came, pulled me from my bed and asked,“What’s the matter with you, Cicma?”
“Oh,” I moaned, “I’m so sick, my stomach. Oh, my poor stomach.” They sent me to the infirmary and
when the doctor made his rounds—in all seriousness—and said somberly, “I know exactly what is troubling you. I also know what to do for it.” I shuddered inwardly as he continued, “This boy is to have no food all day. Give him a good strong dose of Castor Oil.I am sure that he will be well tomorrow and will not have the same complaint again.” The treatment was remarkably effective and the succeeding days found me well and attending my classes.
I continued to ponder over the “hieroglyphics” which the music teacher called “notes” and, soon after my infirmary episode, the professor called on everyone in class and no one was prepared (the usual punishment for unpreparedness was to kneel on the hard floor until the class was dismissed) finally he came to me and requested that I recite. I didn’t know what to say, “I’m sorry, Professor, but T have no voice,” I finally stammered.
Professor Kiriaze had a voice like a donkey but he also had a thorough knowledge of music, playing many instruments and he was a Master in Composition. He had composed many military marches and had been decorated by kings for having written various national hymns or anthems.
My protest was in vain and he made me sing. He kept me after class and demanded a full explanation. I told him that my classmates would give me no assistance in the course and that I had no real musical foundation as I had missed the entire first year’s work. He helped me and I soon learned to read notes and to do the other exercises required of us. We were expected to memorize the notes
and rhythms for the next day’s lessons; I would stay in at recreational period and practice “Do, re, mi,” so loud that you could hear me all over the building; quantity, if not quality. In a few months I surpassed my fellow students in the subject.
If the weather permitted, our Thursday afternoon classes were omitted and we went out, with our teachers, to the mountains to pursue the study of plants and wildlife. This was a very pleasant respite for us all, teachers and students alike.
In the study of Languages, I excelled in French. This teacher was always choosing me to recite a poem or monologue as he said that I had the best accent of any of his pupils and so I received high honors in this course.
My study of the Turkish language was, however, almost a complete failure; I could read a few words,
could write even fewer and was, at first, unable to say anything that was understandable. I worked very hard and by the time we had our examinations, I was able to pass this course, too.
We were exceedingly proud of our school, it was considered to be one of the best in Macedonia. Students from forty-five Romanian communities were in attendance; the largest number of students were enrolled from Turia-Kragna, Abdella, Privoli, and Samarina. Also there were many Jewish boys and a few from various other nationalities; these students had to pay a very high tuition rate. The
Romanians in the school all matriculated absolutely free of charge.
Our final examinations were scheduled (all were oral and were administered under strict supervision) for late May and early June. With the exception of Music and Turkish, these passed uneventfully. I received excellent marksiin all and was advanced to the third year classes.
1 returned to Turia-Kragna for the summer vacation, although for me there was no vacation—I had to care for the garden, keep the fence in ood repair and gather sufficient wood ?or the winter; the balance of my time was spent studying.
It is interesting to note that at this time the entire forest area was public property, the Turks allowed us to go where we pleased and to cut whatever timber we wished; under the Greeks we had been severely restricted, we could take nothing except that which they had specified and we were expected to pay a tax forthe privilege.
That September I again walked to Janina to start third year studies. I worked as hard as I could and I was getting excellent marks. I was very happy until one night early in March, 1907, 1 believe it was on the second, that I had a curious dream: in it I received, by special messenger, a big beautiful basket of delicious red grapes from my Uncle Dimitri; all the students gathered around me and practically begged me to share the grapes with them. The meaning of this dream was made clear to me two days later when the Director of the School announced that all classes would be suspended and everyone, including the faculty, was to gather in the amphitheater for a special announcement.
“We are gathered here to remember a great man, I am now declaring a day period of mourning for George Cicma, the great Macedonian patriot who has been assassinated, he gave his life for our sacred cause.”
At first I was so shocked that it was impossible for me to realize that it was my own father who had been killed, only when students and faculty began to offer their condolences did the full impact of my loss strike me. I burst into tears and continued to cry and bewail my fate for nearly a week. I was unable to sleep or think properly; on the Friday night of that week, 1 experienced a miracle— whether I was asleep or awake I will never know—my father appeared before me, so vividly that I wished to embrace him but he forbade me to touch him.
He spoke, “I have come to say good-bye to you and to tell you not to waste time mourning me. Get up, work as hard as you can, be honest, keep away from undesirable associations, and follow the Golden Rule;  thus you will accomplish your goal,” without waiting for an answer, he left. Saturday morning I arose, a rejuvenated person, resumed my study schedule and in June I passed all the examinations and received excellent marks. I returned home to my Uncle Dimitri who was now my legal guardian.
My Uncle Dimitri had only two sons, Costa and Hristu, both were very smart boys. Hristu, the younger son, was about six months older than I; his mother died of pneumonia shortly after my birth and my mother
nursed the two of us, one at each breast, so we grew from the milk of the same mother and we loved each other as much as if we were actually brothers.
He was a very handsome young man, intelligent, ambitious and a hard worker. He loved music and, when he was about the age of twelve, his father bought him an ocarina— the small simple wind instrument which has a terra-cotta body and soft, lovely, whistle-like tones—Hristu learned to play this by ear and really made wonderful music with the little thing. Later his father bought him a beautiful flute and he, again without a teacher, also mastered this instrument. At the Lyceum in Monistir- Bitolia, he took up vocal and instru- mental music, specializing in the violin and he became one of the best violinists in Macedonia. He graduated from the Lyceum at the same time that I completed the Commercial School at Janina; he, too, had most excellent marks. He applied to the Turkish Medical School at Constantinople and was accepted for
As soon as Hristu returned to Turia- Kragna, he came over to my house to congratulate me for the excellent work 1 had done at Janina and we spent a short time reminiscing about the many times my education had been interrupted by my having to stop school to work with the flocks, of how well my father had tutored me and of the tragedy of his assassination.
I told him that his father had decided to send me to Salonica to finish my studies in Business Administration.
“That is something I want to discuss with you,” said Hristu, ” if you go to the Lyceum at Monistir-Bitolia, you will get a liberal artseducation and then you can go to theUniversity and major in anything you wish, including or excluding the business course. I really think this would be best for you and, if you agree, I will try to convince Father to use his influence and get you into the Lyceum.” We talked this over in detail and I thought that it was a very good idea.
We then took the plan to Uncle Dimitri who listened to our proposal and agreed that I would get a more well-rounded education at the Lyceum and would still be able to continue in Business if I so desired. Never one to procrastinate, my uncle immediately contacted Mr. Tacit, the Inspector General of all Romanian Schools in Macedonia, and asked the inspector to do him a personal favor and find a way to admit me to the Lyceum.
Mr. Tacit promised to do his best and in a few days he sent the Director of Admittance, Professor Zuca (who was also Chairman of the Latin Department), to interview and examine me. Professor Zuca stayed a whole week at my uncle’s house and put me through a severe examination. His conclusion was that I could be admitted but I might have to lose one or two years to make up Latin, Physics, Chemistry, and Geometry. He had textbooks for each of the courses and left these with me, asking that I have my cousin help me with them during the rest of the summer vacation and suggested that he would give me another examination in the fall.
Curiously enough, the Inspector General did not like my Uncle and always tried to antagonize him in
every possible way; knowing this, I had been in despair and was exceedingly doubtful as to my being allowed to enter the Lyceum. Fortunately the Inspector, knowing that my uncle could easily have him removed from his position, shifted the responsibility to the poor Admissions Professor!
In September, cousin Hristu went to Constantinople and I left for the Romanian Lyceum at Monistir-Bitolia.
(To be continued)


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