Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ABC Wednesday "M" is for "Memories"


This post is dedicated to a Serbian gentleman who recently wrote to me through my blog. I was very touched by his email. He grew up here, but his parents wished a better life for him, and bought him a ticket to the US when he finished high school in the mid-sixties. Off he went, never to return. He sent me the top photo of a corner in Belgrade that was dear to him, and asked me to photograph it now, and so I did. There are very few changes. Here is part of what he wrote to me in his email:

"...The day before I had to go, I came out on street on which I grew up, and went to the nearest corner where I spent perhaps more time in my life then that I did in school, or at home, or anywhere else. That was the corner where I and my friends were growing up, day after day, year after year. Everything was happening there. The corner was at the intersection of street called Lenjingradska (now renamed Petrogradska) and a street named Topolska... My house was less than half a block away from that corner, but most of my childhood and adolescence, and of many friends who lived in neighboring houses, was developing on that corner. That was the safest place in the world for us, from which we launched our fantasies, our dreams, our plans for the future, our self-assertion, our sense of positive regard for each other, and everything else which those early phases of life bring. By now, most of us are all gone from that place. Some have died, some just disappeared without a trace.That day, not believing that all of that was coming to an end, I borrowed a camera from a friend and went to that corner to take a picture of it. It was still early in the day, before noon, women were going to and coming back from the market, and kids younger than me were still in school. I stood across the corner on which we used to gather, and took a picture of it, but then stood there for almost an hour, trying to remember everything about it, the smell of the air, the sounds of people walking by, the very essence of the world in which I lived until then..."

So, dear sir, I have dedicated this "Memories" post to you. I wish you well.

Join ABC Wednesday at: http://abcwednesdayround3.blogspot.com/


29 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is so beautiful. I know the feeling. I was whisked away during the most challenging years of my life to move to Canada. Our group used to meet in the "Studenski Park". I lived on Strahinjica Bana Street. I thought it was the most beautiful street in the world. The street is lined with linden tree (lipa) and the whole neighbourhood would be fragrant from it. My last visit was in 1991. I often check out the site and cry. I miss my family and friends... what's left of them. Thank you, Bibi for your dedication and time in bringing me closer to Beograd every day.

Branka from Canada

Virginia said...

What a moving story. I am touched. I am sure this photo will mean the world to him.

Mim said...

Your photographs are so wonderful - not just technically (which they are!) but the spirit that shines thru is amazing. You capture such a feeling of the people and the place - it's amazing!

Louis la Vache said...

What a wonderful post, Bibi!

MuseSwings said...

A beautiful and very touching post! Thank you for sharing!

Rinkly Rimes said...

What a superb idea. The place is hardly changed and I'm sure the writer will be pleased about that. Hardly anything has changed .... just the plastic bags and the rain!
I found the words very moving.

Bibi said...

Anonymous, if you are checking back, I will photograph Studenski Trg and post a photo for you. You can email me on the link on my profile if you want anything else special.

Müge Tekil said...

A very touching letter ... The photos taken by this gentleman and you reflect very well the ambience of that corner and make us understand why this gentleman used to feel himself safe there. I'm very touched really. Have a nice Wednesday! :-)

crete said...

This is a beautiful and meaningful post. Thank you. I too have memories of Belgrade in 1975, that cold winter in the railway station waiting for my train to Greece.

Ray

vero said...

I think this post is veryb touching...

AphotoAday said...

Great M post...
Enjoyed the rest of your blog as well -- got a kick out of the guy selling needles and zippers... What an interesting part of the world...

Dusty Lens said...

Different, yet the same. Such a dear and touchuing post today. Thanks for sharing with the memories.

Therese said...

Very touching indeed Pat. I like so much what Gabriel Marquez wrote "life is not what we lived but what we remember."

Reader Wil said...

This is such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Webradio said...

Very beautiful !

Merci pour le texte d'explication...

Bear Naked said...

Such a very kind and humane thing you have done for your reader.
Bravo--I salute you.

Bear((( )))

Kim from Hiraeth said...

Oh, that made me cry. Really.

How wonderful that he stored up those memories with a picture and now another picture may evoke more thoughts and memories.

This was wonderful. My favorite of all the ABC posts A through M. . .

babooshka said...

Your choice today is so humbling. So little has changed from the first image. That is comforting to the gentleman I'm sure. A post where you could have chosen your own precious memories, you have so very kindly dedicated the post to another's. I'm with Kim, none can compare with this m today.

marley said...

What a wonderful post. Not only is the contrast between the two photos interesting but the touching story is truly moving. This man, I'm sure, will be delighted with your post today. You are so caring to do this for this gent.

leslie said...

Oh, such a touching story and tribute! Not much has changed, has it. It is a lovely street corner and I bet if it could talk....

mannanan said...

Wow that is some post. Brilliant. Thank you for sharing those special Memories.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bibi,

Thank you so much for your offer! That is very generous of you and I appreciate it very much. However, I don't want to inconvenience you. I look forward to your pictures which ever part of Beograd you choose to bring to us.

Puno pozdrava, Branka from Canada

Neva said...

How sweet!

Tash said...

How wonderful of you to do this! Your post and his e-mail brought tears to my eyes. I remember leaving Tuzla for the last time on the local train very early in the morning when I was 11 with my dad, knowing that our life would change forever.

earthlingorgeous said...

Oh wow! Look at that barely some change at all I bet he will be so happy to see this post you did . Touching post indeed. Marvelous !

Gary said...

Very moving post.

So refreshing to see that little had changed over the years.

Gary
Bodge's Bulletin

Marianne said...

My heart skipped a beat, thinking for a second that it was the corner near my building. But no, of course, not, that lovely old mansion is gone (corner of Dobracina and Simina).
Such a beautiful way of bringing the past to the present and I love the text. Evoked my own memories of my life in Belgrade. Tears in my eyes.

J.C. said...

What a lovely post this is, Bibi. It's so amazing that your post is able to connect to so many others who once lived in Belgrade and bring back memories of lives there. You have indeed done a wonderful deed.

Becky said...

This is by far my favourite blog posting I've ever read. Anywhere, by anyone. What a blessing to be able to reconnect a gentleman with his childhood home and a never-ending stream of memories. I hope this gentleman gets to return one day. I hope he can stand on this corner for another hour and relive the moments he spent on that corner as a child.

Incredible post, my friend. Simply wonderful.