In 1974 I turned 27. Bear with me on this reasoning, it seems a bit strange now (in 2014), but this was in fact the reasoning that I used at the time. My birthday is on the 27th of September, which is the ninth month. Three squared is nine and three cubed is 27. So I was turning three cubed on the three cubed day of the three squared month. Obviously a significant birthday so I clearly needed to do something really outrageous. Going to Romania was the ticket!

I don't remember how I found out about the trip, which was an excursion offered to U.S. Army employees, of which I was one at the time, but I did. I then proceeded to recruit a traveling companion. A colleague, Janice, agreed. We barely knew each other, but we had a great time together. She transferred to a new location shortly after the trip, however, and we lost touch. I confess that I don't even remember her last name. Unfortunately I find I don't even have a picture of her.

At the time of our visit Romania was one of the more liberal Communist states. Nicolae Ceausescu had been in power only seven years and was still considered moderate. Nevertheless we could never forget that we were in a Communist country with a totalitarian ruler.

Ceausescu shortly became extremely repressive. He and his wife were executed in 1989 for genocide and sabotage.

We traveled from Washington to Bucharest on a chartered plane. Remember those? I think the airline was LOT; I am certain it was Polish. The most notable thing about the flight was that we were offered warm Polish beer for breakfast.

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