Mrs. Hajnalka G. greeted us in a spacious hallway, with two dogs, fluffy and very protective of their territory. She has been living in Fabric since forever. ‘Here, at the Millenium Roman-Catholic Church, is where I was baptised. Here is where I got married… and here is where I live. I don’t think I could go anywhere else, honestly…’ When she was 14 years old, she moved from Romanilor Square to August 3 1919 Boulevard. She thought about selling the apartment she lives in and moving, but, as she told us, she didn’t feel right in her heart to leave this place. Although there are ‘double glazing windows and plastic’ and that ‘the park used to be much bigger’, this place bears a great significance for her.
The building she lives in, on August 3 1919 Blvd, looks taken care of, there are flowers in the hallways, and the walls don’t show their deep scars, as they do in other places. Mrs. G. tells us that all the inhabitants have been here for a long time. ‘When they moved here, the building still had a doorman. For example, my former basement used to be the doorman’s room. So it looks like an actual room, not like a basement. A room with a space for a heater, which we tidied up later.’ The apartments in the building, however, weren’t avoided by the communist division, but, over time, some of them returned to their original configuration.‘One floor is a single apartment. and there’, pointing to another part of the building,‘are 3 apartments, one under the other, of about 150-160 sqm each.’
When she thinks about how it used to be back in the days, she tells us that ‘it was a lot quieter, everything was chill. Old fashioned, like. A lot of old people; now, youngsters are starting to buy apartments in the area. And it’s nice, because there are more young people around. When I was a kid, there were only old people. Oh, and the park here was completely changes, it looked nothing like it does now. It’s a lot better now, really. But they’re destroying it. They break everything. For example, today there are new trash bins, and in a week they’re ruined. Things like these didn’t happen before.’
The changes she had been seeing in the neighbourhood are numerous - some positive, others not so much: ‘For example, in the building where we used to play, there’s nothing left. Only one person. In a building - not an apartment! So, a lot has changed, some for the better. For example, the square here in front of the church had changed for the better. It’s OK. (...) But the good things that are done, aren’t kept. In fact, this is the problem, at least in my opinion. Some good things are done, but nothing is taken care of.’
Talking about Fabric, Mrs. G. tells us that, unfortunately, she didn’t get to attend too many of the events in the neighbourhood, as she is sometimes out of the country. But she heard about them and she’s happy that they’re happening. There are some events, though, which she never misses: ‘A great plus is that the Catholic church organizes all sorts of concerts, it’s really beautiful. And when I say concerts, I mean concerts… Oh, and speaking about the church, they do a lot of nice things for children. All sorts of things, I don’t know exactly, but there were assembly-like activities. Dancing and such. So they are actually involved and want to do things. I don’t know if the priest or someone else hosts them, but the important thing is that somethings are done. They even renovated the church a few years ago. It looks really good.’
For the building, the fixes on the interior are made by the owners. ‘We keep trying to gather the money for the working capital of the building, in order to redo the facade. The interior looks pretty OK. We paint it sometimes, repair it. You know, the normal coating. But nothing has been done to the facade.’For the facade, the apartment owners collect money in a working capital. Unfortunately, though,‘we collect it, but it’s not enough for what we want to do. No one asks us anything, anyway. What I say is just rumors, I heard that City Hall will cover half the costs, and we will cover the rest. Or we should cover a quarter, and they will cover the rest. I don’t know, they’re just rumors. I really don’t know if anything will happen because no one asks or tells us anything.’
Despite everything, Mrs. G. does not want to leave Fabric in a million years. She just wishes things were a little different.‘How I’d like things to be? I don’t know… something old and something beautiful. Something old, and something new. New, but with an old look. I would even want a terrace, or a beer garden, but only if it looked just like before. Things have to be done consistently, respecting the spirit of the place.’