Split WWII Refugee Tales: A Diary for Puse (Part IX)

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Part IX of A Dairy for Puse continues on March 3, 2016, the latest installment of a mother’s diary to her daughter from 1919 – 1953, capturing a moment of Dalmatia and Dalmatian exile in history.

Start at the beginning with Part I here.


March 6, 1930

But she has also entered the serious literature, actually, the contemporary literature, when Verka Škurla, a journalist, mentioned her in the Christmas issue as one of her “acquaintances” describing her as the”little impish miss Puse”, but she did not like to be called ´Miss´, while the ´impish´ was completely natural to her. Neither was she surprised, that a writer is mentioning her among her acquaintances.

“But how do you like the epic, not the lyric? I ask her.

“No lyric.”

“Don´t you like that sweet feeling of breeze in the spring?

“No way,” she repeats and continues, “there is always something going on in the epic, something heroic.”

“But how is it, that you like the song of Branko Radičević ´Yellow Leaves, so much that you would even like to learn how to play it?”

“Oh, but that´s something else.” That something else explains her mother by the fact, that in that song, Puse feels the real artistic touch, not just the banality of words and even in the small Puse´s soul, the first track of what might be her inner sense begin to immerse..Who knows, how this sensation began to unfold and I feel, that the true education consists of not interrupting it, protecting it and making sure it has the freedom to unfold naturally, only helping when protecting it from being hurt in a serious way.

June 28, 1930

“Do you still like dolls so much?” asked aunt Mile, when she found her playing in bed with one of her old dolls, when sick.

“I still like them a lot, if someone would give me a doll as big as I am, I would really like it, more than.., than..”

More than a fiancé,” I joke, because few days ago, the daughter of the mistress of the house got engaged and Puse really liked her fiancé.

“Then, we will find her a doll dressed like a man instead of a fiancé,” said aunt Mile.

“Oh, no,” replied Puse, “for a wedding, he would need to be alive.” And she was not called a Miss by Verka for nothing. Although she still likes dolls, she already begun to straighten her curls, to manicure her nails with care, wants her laundry to have lace on it, was thrilled to receive a bottle of perfume as a gift and is checking herself in the mirror occasionally.

She began to collect photographs of film actresses, she is interested in every new star and keeps track of which role in which movie she plays.

“You know, mom,” she whispers to me the other day, “I would like to be an actress..”

Last Sunday, there was a demonstration after the memorial service for the victims of the Istrian martyrs, which was dispersed by the police. Puse asked me that day: “Why is it that we must not raise our voices against the Italians and the police is chasing our demonstrates, while the Italians can kill our people? And if Italians were to raise their voices against us, nobody would chase them? I don´t understand it, mama, why is it so unfair?” Ivo answers to Puse: “It is like this, Puse – there are large and small nations. A small nation is being controlled by a larger one, so the police of the small nation is afraid of the large nation and won´t let the people to raise voice against them. For a large nation, there is nobody to be afraid of, so they can do whatever they want with their police.” She quietly listened to the political interpretation of Ivo and than she asked: “But, are we never to become a large nation?”

My dear Puse, who can give you an answer to such a question? Not Ivo nor mom.

Read more…


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