Let parents bequeath to their children
not riches, but the spirit of reverence.- Plato.
History is filled with tales of triumph, conquest, challenges, tragedy and humility. I remember someone once saying that every generation tries to surpass the one before them. Makes sense. I just don’t know how I can accomplish that.
How is it that a man at 96 has more energy than I do on a Monday…or at random intervals throughout any day ending with the letter Y?
My grandfather, Petar Marijanovic, was born in Runovic, (a small village in the city of Imotski, Croatia) in 1922. He is the youngest of 7 children and the only one living today. Grandpa’s childhood home (with the year 1887 carved into stone marking the date of its completion) still sits atop the hill in the town he lives in.
With my favorite adventure buddies, Dad, Uncle Ivan, and Cousin Petar, we set off to explore the old house; and revisit the past of not only my grandfather’s but my father’s as well.
Grandpa Petar Marijanovic was born 4 years after the end of World War I. By the time he reaches the age of 17, WWII breaks out.
Grandpa has said countless times, that he fought in WWII, because his older brother Ivan went to fight in the war.
Fighting back tears Grandpa says, ” There has never been a better man to walk the earth, and I have never met a greater man than my brother”.
Ivan (Grandpa’s Brother) was captured and killed in The Bleiburg Massacres. His body has never been found, and his whereabouts remain a mystery. I like to think that one day he can come home and finally be put to rest.
I’m saddened when I think of the other family member’s who are also missing. Erased from this earth, but never forgotten. I’m getting off track….
At the bottom of the hill is my dad’s childhood home. It’s not habitable (like that’s going to keep me away). I come and visit this place every year. I have been fortunate enough to bring my kids, so they too can learn about their family’s past.
I cry every time I walk into these rooms. It’s even harder now that I’m a parent and I see how it impacts my kids.
Going into the wine cellar is really emotional for me. It’s the place my dad was born. My poor grandmother delivered my dad inside this cellar on Halloween 1948. I can’t even put words to emotion.
Leaving the old houses behind, I head back to the “newer” house. This is home that many a summer’s were spent. Playing with my siblings and cousins, running through the grapes, climbing trees and catching lizards.
I don’t know the first thing about making wine. I can only say that nothing taste’s better than what my grandpa makes.
I will never come close to the greatness of the men in my life. The saga continues to be written and legends made, all because of the riches left by 2 incredible men. Not money but reverence. May they both live to be 100 !
I have never met a greater man than my Grandfather.
I have never known a better man than my Father.
Written in honor of my dad, who will be celebrating his birthday on Halloween.