houseofflowers1

Personal Histories

A couple of weeks ago a devastating reason brought us back to Belgrade a few short months after we last visited. My aunt Jelena ‘Jela’ passed away after a long illness. In the old apartment where her family lives, memories swirled and hid in every heavy credenza and stuffy wooden drawer.

A few days after the funeral we visited the Museum of Yugoslavian History. It is the resting place of infamous ex-president, Tito, and an homage to a bygone era, now remembered fondly by many. The series of buildings also houses a range of exhibits devoted to relics and our shared memories of the past.

When my family moved to Canada we moved from Yugoslavia, but within a few years the country began fracturing violently and trying on new names like one might hats.

My memory of Yugoslavia is deeply intertwined with the memory of my aunt: her expertly prepared meals, games we invented, get-togethers for family and neighbours. She organized it all with precision and warmth and held the pieces together with stubbornness when economic hardships and war took hold. Jela’s home was a bastion of comfort and calm in an ever-changing and often frightening world. Going ‘home’ will never be the same without her.

Jela, 1960s

Jela, 1960s

It's practically impossible to find a photo of Jela where she isn't in motion, lighting candles, feeding or playing with us. Also note the 4 birthday cakes in the first image.

It’s practically impossible to find a photo of Jela where she isn’t in motion, lighting candles, feeding or playing with us. Also note the 4 birthday cakes for her son Sloba in the first image.

Tito's grave at the Museum of Yugoslavian History

Tito’s grave at the Museum of Yugoslavian History

Letter to Tito

Letter to Tito

Presidential Decoration

Presidential Decoration

Baton display

Each year Tito was given a baton during his birthday parade.

Russian Avant-Garde exhibit

Russian Avant-Garde exhibit

Iconic example of Soviet design

Iconic example of Soviet design

Buttons from the exhibit sold at the giftshop

Buttons from the exhibit sold at the gift shop

Examples of Yugo poster design

Examples of Yugo posters from the 70s and 80s

From the exhibit on Yugoslav Falcons, a patriotic youth movement. My grandmother was a falconess.

From the exhibit on Yugoslav Falcons, a patriotic youth movement. My grandmother was a falconess.

The view from the museum entrance

The view from the museum entrance

Spring

Spring in February

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestBuffer this pageEmail this to someone
UnaPersonal Histories

Comments

Leave a Reply to Dragana Cancel reply