Tiranca, Sirrbi, 2003. Black cloth is the mark of a widow. She will wear something black every day she remains on earth until God decides she should join her husband. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Making a Haystack, Sirbi, 2002. Vasile tosses the dried hay up to Ileana, who tamps it down so that it can be combed to allow the rain to run off. When they are done, he will lay a pole on the side of the haystack, and she will slide down and into his arms. Hay is a lifeblood for these farmers. Their cows and horses have an appetite that must be satisfied three times a day. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Ion, Glod, 1999. Ion made sure we felt welcome in his village. As we passed his home, he rushed inside and emerged with his arms dripping walnuts. He would not relent until we had stuffed our pockets with them.When he was a child, walnuts were used as currency for all manner of goods. Even today they are used in trade with the gypsies for pots. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
The Weavers, Sirbi, 2000. In summer the family loom lies jumbled in the barn like a heap of broken scythe handles. But in winter, it is time for women to maintain the familys supply of woven wealth, and for a young woman to begin creating her dowry. The loom takes shape in the family living space and its shuttle again flies for hours a day. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Petru and the Claie, Sirbi, 1999. The quality of a haystack can be told by its color. The quality of a man by the time it takes him to bring one home. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Spring Storm, Glod, 2000. Good gossipers know when to exaggerate, when to tell the truth, and when to pretend they saw nothing. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Maria, Sirbi, 2003. The nearest high school to this village is an hour by bus. Two years ago, a majority of children stopped their education at the eighth grade. Now, a majority spends the school week with relatives in Sighet working toward a diploma. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Haystack Village, Sirbi, 1999. A haystack can last ten years or longer. In its life, it may be traded or handed down by inheritance. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Easter Sunday, Sirbi, 2000. Fashion has changed as women replace the homespun black in their skirts with factory printed fabric and given up their leather and wool opincithe footwear of traditionfor vinyl pumps. What remains constant is Sunday afternoon, when one learns to flaunt ones sense of style. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Women in the Back, Sirbi, 2003. In Maramures, Orthodox churches are divided in half. The front half is for men, while the back and outside are for women. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Potato Pile, Sirbi, 2003. Potatoes can be stored through the winter in a hole outside under a pile of straw. During the course of the year, theyll be turned twice and scraped free of sprouts to keep them crispy. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Headscarf, Sirbi, 2002. After years of idolizing all that is new, a sudden shift made old headscarves the it fashion item. And suddenly an older aunts forgotten linens are rediscovered family assets. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
The Millers Boy, Sirbi, 1999. Even though only five, Vasile helps out at his familys mill. First, he adjusts the speed at which corn falls into the millstone to set the cornmeals fineness. Then he holds the bag to catch the ground corn. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Florica to Market, Sirbi, 2000. Even to the end, Matusa hopes that a buyer will take Florica as a milking cow, and not just for meat. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Cocon, Sirbi, 2000. Petruc will soon begin helping his father wrangling horses in summer and carrying water from the frozen river in winter. As he grows, his hands will become large and callused from hard work. Yet his mother will never let him go outside without covering his head. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Easter Bread, Sirbi, 2000. Easter marks the changing of everything. Spring demonstrates the earths resurrection in imitation of their Lords. For women, it is an annual opportunity to show their artistic flair as they rival the gate carver with decorated bread. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Private Dirge for Anuta, Breb, 2000. The first duty when finding a dead body is to light a candle to frighten away the spirit of death. Three days of funeral preparations follow. Villages have no undertakers. Families prefer to dress their departed themselves. Anuta's cousin cries out a sing-song mourning dirge, her relatives prepare for the priest and the village waits in her courtyard outside. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Winter Festival, Sighet, 2002. Young people coming to the pagan-inspired Winter Festival can choose to be demon drac, or play actors in ritual dances. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
After the Funeral, Valeni, 2000. After the body is buried, mourners return to the deceaseds home for the feast. Because a funeral service typically lasts four hours, appetites have peaked. No manner of bad weather will discourage the crowd. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.
Boys in Trees, Sirbi, 2000. After months indoors, fearing the health dangers of drafts and cold breezes, a balmy day liberates the young boys of the village to run wild. © Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin.