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

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Part VIII of A Dairy for Puse continues on February 25, 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.


February 1930

Puse is no longer reading the “Jadranska Pošta” only because of the disasters and thefts, today she asked me what Pan-Europe was. How should I explain it to her?

“It would be,” I say, “as if all the countries in Europe would unite and create one big country.”

Puse is amazed: “But what will the kings say? If I were a king, I would not allow it. What is my kingdom, it mine.”

Indeed, shall communism ever cross the Russian border, it is unlikely to have Puse advocate for it.

March 1930

Other areas are of a great interest of Puse as well, physics and chemistry. She could not even imagine what will these subjects be about. After a few lessons, she immediately prefers chemistry.

“Our teacher says,” says Puse, “that the whole universe is one chemical factory. And mom, who is working in the factory of the universe?”

“Well, we all do, people, animals, plants, all the little bugs and worms, birds, trees, forests, winds, sea, they are all workers,” explains her mother, even she is unsure herself about what she says.

“And our body – that is also a factory, and who is working there?” asks Puse. Well, here stops her mother´s knowledge, Braco is the one to answer that question as he is taking the chemistry exam this semester.

Less than a month later, Puse tells me again about something they´ve learned – about liturgy. “The liturgy?” and I am wondering how they are already learning about liturgy in third grade. “And what was it so nice in that liturgy?”.

“Epos”, Puse answers.

“Well, that must have been literature”, I replied laughing.

“Yes, yes, literature, LITERATURE”, with an accent to each syllable, as this word sounds so beautifully complicated to her.

You know, mom, this will be my favourite subject to learn, if I have to continue my studies later on. Then I will choose history and literature.” I felt, that she stressed the words “have to”, because she still has not accustomed to the idea of further studies, although it is now somehow clear to her that it is not so easy without the foundation.

“And the violin?” I ask her.

“The violin and the literature.” And being so much interested in that literature thing, Puse has to read short stories, novels, short stories of our writers. This is how she read “Angel in the Bell Tower” from Nazor and “The Nero” with great enthusiasm. She also read “The Jungle” and each night, she reads “Nahod”, a novel that comes out in the “Novo Doba” newspaper. That one is perfect for Puse, because it tells the adventures of an orphan boy and keeps her curious as it is always interrupted when something most interesting happens, to be continued the next day. One evening, she says to me excitedly: “Mom, will you take me with you, when you go to father Vinko next time?” Father Vinko is mom´s editor of the “Novo Doba” newspaper, to whom she takes her writing to.

“Why, what will you do there?”

“I will tell him to print out longer parts of the “Nahod”, as it always stops in the best part and then I can not fall asleep in the evening.” And this is how Puse entered literature.

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