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

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Part VI of A Dairy for Puse continues on February 11, 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.


December 14, 1927

Scarlet fever broke out in the city and the teacher recommended to get vaccinated at the clinic.

“Mom, I won´t go,” said Puse fifmly.
“I don´t want my body to be cut!”
“But you have to go, it is against scarlet fever and when Mom says you have to – you have to!”
“But, mummy, I am in charge of my body.. not you.”

But obviously, it was not clear to her, what being in charge actually means, because she looked at me in doubts as she spoke.

“And what if you die of the scarlet fever?”, I asked.
“I will not die.”
“You won´t die. And are you in charge of not dying?”
“I am not.”

And now there was confusion in her head. She felt to be in charge of her own body regarding vaccination, despite her mother, but she wasn´t feeling the same in regards to her own death.

“Will Puse let herself be vaccinated?”, I asked her a little while later.
“She will, but not today,” she said. At least the “when” to be decided by her.

March 20, 1928

Someone gave Puse a songbook, and she sits at the table alone and in a low voice sings the song “A Montenegrin Montenegro”, and ends the third verse:

“..And at home she nurtures her sons, my Montenegro hope, oh, those beautiful boys, those amazing avengers. Nurture them, Montenegro, and teach them how to revenge on their enemies, my faithful Montenegro.”

When she finished I asked her:

“It is a truly beautiful song, isn´t it?”
“I don´t like it at all.”
“Why?”, I wonder.
“Because, there are only men.”
“What do you mean, only men?”
“Well, at home she nurtures her sons, and why not her daughters as well? Is a home only for sons?”

We all laughed. Braco says: “Here you have it mom, the result of your meetings of the “Women´s Movement”.

Mom doesn´t share this opinion, she senses that Puse´s pride as a woman was already wounded. But we´ll see…

Read more…


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