Verica C. is a woman born in 1950. For over a decade she is retired but she is quite active. She was an accountant and nowadays she helps her son in running private agency he owns. She was delighted with proposal to make an interview. Questions I asked inspired her to share her story and opinions in many details. Interview was held in two occasions in February 2020 and it resembled flow of memories and opinions.
Verica was born in the village Vrlane near the town Svilajnac in Pomoravlje District of central Serbia. Alike the others in the village, her family members were active farmers. She loved going in school and was very eager to learn. From early childhood up to present days she loves to read book. She was excellent pupil and her desire to pursue education was strongly supported by her grand-father, her father’s father. In her village school was only up to 4th grade of elementary education and next four grades were in neighboring villages Grabovac and Sedlare. Although such circumstances made her schooling difficult because she had to commute and often walk for miles, she wasn’t discouraged. While commuting she was reading books and eventually memorized Serbian literature classical novels like Smrt Smail-age Čengića and Gorski vijenac. She graduated primary school with honors and she was awarded as best mathematician in school.
In 1965 she enrolled high school in Svilajnac. At that time her parents moved to France to work – her father left in 1964 and mother in 1965. They stayed in France until retirement. Verica stayed in Serbia and lived with her grandparents. She graduated high school with honors.
She loved mathematics and she planned to enroll Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Belgrade. However, a friend of hers convinced her to enroll Belgrade Business School, department for international trade.
At the final year of Business School, she met her husband and after she graduated in 1972 they begun to live together in Belgrade. They got married in 1973. In 1974 she gave birth to her first son, Alexander, whereas the younger, Vladimir, was born in 1981. Family lived quite decently. They travelled a lot, regularly visiting theatre, concerts, cinemas and other cultural events. She gladly emphasizes that in 3 years she will celebrate “Golden Wedding” (50th wedding anniversary). She is very proud of her sons and she adores her 3 grandchildren. She’d like to have more grandchildren.
She has many friends and she often meets them. She also spends time with relatives. Very often she is looking after her grandchildren which makes her very happy. Sometimes she takes her grandchildren on vacations. Her major motivation is to live decently and be able to afford to satisfy at least basic socio-cultural needs. She is very happy because she met a person who understands her and supports her. Her husband is helping her by cleaning the house whereas she does the cooking.
Reading books is still one of Verica’s greatest pleasures. During one year she reads 15 to 20 books. She doesn’t like television though sometimes she watches good films and serials. She uses Internet as main source of information. She has and uses smart phone and uses Viber. Also, Verica has her Facebook profile which she uses sometimes.
She developed cardiac conditions and couple of years ago two stents were implanted. She regularly controls her health and takes proscribed therapy.
Verica believes that elderly persons should be committed to their grandchildren because they give strength. At the same time elderly people should think about themselves as well, enjoy life, travel, and pursue different interests. She is not sure that elderly people can pass a lots of knowledge to younger generations because many things can be learned online. Also, she noticed that young people often do not trust older people and often they are right about that.
When she was a child elderly persons were respected, listened, their opinion mattered and was key in making decisions in the family and in the community. It was normal and not without a reason because at the time family was much more important than it is nowadays. Nowadays people are less patient then before.
When she was young she believed that she’ll be more successful in life if she studies hard and is dedicated to her work. She hoped that she’ll meet a man who she’ll love and who will love her and she succeeded to find her husband and have great family and decent life.
Message that Verica sends to younger generations is to life their lives but to respect older generations. Be oneself, be independent in making your decisions but sometimes take an advice from elderly person. One should not blindly follow because in such way one loses personal integrity but some rules should be obeyed and some problems should not be caused.