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Asen D.

Asen Damyanov

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by Damla A. and Yoana K


Name: Asen D.

Gender: Male

Date of birth: 30.04.1937

Place of birth: village of Karamanovo, Ruse District

Place of residence: town of Ruse

Nationality: Bulgarian


Hi, can you tell me your name?

My name is Asen D.


When and where were you born?

I was born in the village of Karamanovo, Ruse region, on April 30, 1937.


Now you live here in Ruse, right?

We have been living in the town of Ruse for many years.


Can you briefly describe your childhood?

When I was a little kid, I spent most of my free of school time on the fields with the cattle, shepherding them, tending them. Of course, there were games with my classmates and with my neighbors.


What was your social and economic situation?

We are five children, four sisters and one boy, that is me. Our social status could be classified as an average rural family.


Well, that is, you neither had much, nor little.


All right! How did you live - only with your parents and sisters or with your grandparents?

We lived with my grandparents.


Tell us about the period from your adolescence to your retirement.

After completing my primary education in Karamanovo, I came to Ruse to study at an industrial school. The goal was to learn a craft to earn a living. I studied for two years, then started working at the Georgi Dimitrov factory as a turner. In the period 1956-1958 I was a soldier. There I graduated from driving school.  I was a driver of a transport car and a turner in a military unit. Overall, my service went well.


Where did you meet your wife? When did you get married?

My wife was a work colleague. She is 9-10 years younger than me. I helped her a lot at work. We got married at the beginning of 1965. We rented an apartment for 3-4 years, after which the company gave us an apartment for good work, which we later paid for and in which we live now.


What was the situation of the elderly when you were young? What did you observe, how did the young people treat the adults then?

At that time, old people were honored and respected by the young students, and by everyone. The young people regularly greeted the elderly, the teachers, the priest, the mayor and so on.


What was the participation of adults in decision-making by young people for education, for work?

Well, with regard to that, they could not interfere much because they themselves were not familiar with all the available opportunities. So, the decision what job to take or what to study was solely the responsibility of the young people themselves, my peers.


Can you describe the relationships between the generations in your family?

Yes, of course, we treated my parents and my parents treated their parents with respect and reverence. Well, sometimes there were some misunderstandings which led to some harsh words, but those were very rare.


How did you live after you got married - with your parents, with hers or separately?

We lived separately in Ruse. We went to our parents in Karamanovo for the holidays.


How was her parents' attitude towards you?

Well, her parents' attitude towards us, to our young family, was friendly, generally good.


I guess they tried to help you as much as they could.

Well, episodically, yes.


How did you imagine your retirement when you were young?

Well, looking at older people then, we thought we would be something like them. Well, what else ... Our self-esteem was a little higher because we had studied a little more than them and knew more than them.


Can you briefly describe your circumstances?

We live in our own home with my wife and younger granddaughter, and our elder granddaughter visits us from time to time. We have two daughters, one of whom is with us in the city, and the other lives abroad. We often phone each other.


Can you describe your current daily routine?

My tasks are quite easy. I get up, have breakfast, have coffee, go out to buy something for lunch or dinner, and wait for the young ones to come or meet with neighbors or acquaintances to exchange some news, and so on.


Okay, what media would you say you use in your daily life, like TV, radio, and newspapers, do you use them?

Yes, we watch radio and TV shows, but we read newspapers less nowadays.


Do you use new technologies like the Internet, computers, or smartphones?

We are far from new technologies.


Do you have an idea whether people your age, other acquaintances of yours or friends are using such technologies?

I think our acquaintances, like us, do not use them either.


What motivates you to keep going?

The motivation is to be more often and longer with our children, with our granddaughters, to help them when we can with whatever we can. And to guide them sometimes about some life matters.


In your opinion, what is the main role of retirees? What can they give to the young?

Retirees can tell young people to be disciplined in their work and in general.


Don't you think that they can pass on traditions and knowledge about our past?

Of course, they can pass them on to young people who are sufficiently cultured, educated, I can say, so that they can take on these responsibilities themselves.


What message would you give to the young people if they could hear you?

The message is to be alive and well! To listen to the advice of the elderly, and, of course, do not neglect their own desires.


Very well! Thank you!

And I thank you!