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Dusan Lazic - Vojka, Serbia - Life story, part 2 (Global Lives Project, 2009)

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- While you were working on the railways, your sons were born, right? - That's right, yes, they were born exactly at that time. At that time I was making this house. At the time we were... Milica, my wife, didn't work. She was at home with the kids, which was quite logical, since I was mostly out of the house. When I came back, constructing the house was waiting for me, also the agriculture works which I was doing to some extent, as an additional occupation. - And how did you and your wife meet? How did that go in a small place like this while you were doing your studies? - It was... She was a lot younger than me, especially in that time, it was... seven years is quite a difference. Somehow it began casually, of course, and later it turned serious. One summer, there on the beach in Cortanovci, that's how we met, and that's how it went. - How long have you been going out before you got married? How did that go...? - I always ask Milica about such things. She remembers the dates, and the years, and phone numbers, and... I mostly don't. I think it was about 2-3 years for sure, until she finished high school, and then, after that, we started living together. - When your first son was born, you were working at the railroad, and... How did... How do you remember your feelings at that moment, those...? - Well, I can say that I felt really good as a father. How can I put it, I simply... I always wanted a family, I think... I think I had a lot of patience with... both with my first son, and the second. We've spent a lot of time together. I was teaching them really all kind of nonsense and crafts, and so on. I really wanted to pass on to them, hm, everything that... everything that was possible. But, before anything else, hm... I was trying not to lie to them, although they were very little, to not disappoint them. That was the main goal. I think this is the most important thing, hm, for a parent. At least that's how I, as a young parent, figured. And, hm, I hope that part... that childhood was really interesting for then, and... I think they also have great memories from that period. When they tell their story some day, I hope they'll say all the best. - They attended school here in Vojka, and...? - Yes, they went to school too. Ljubinko was into music since he was... since elementary school, in part looking up to my father, in part looking up at me, I guess, and he first began to be involved with music through a society for culture and art. He went with me; he attended my rehearsals. And even as a kid he was extremely talented and even welcomed by us, the older guys, which was probably flattering to him, and gave him encouragement to... At that time, what else could be a motivation for a boy to be into music, but such seemingly wayside things as a social reputation, and so on, with the girls maybe, later, and so on. - Where did he finish the elementary music school? - He finished... out of regular school, practically here in Vojka, with one professor that held classes here, she took them to Sremska Mitrovica, and there they passed the exams. He finished elementary music school for harmonica. I think that's the only time he played harmonica, and never again. He didn't like it. But he knew, as little as he was, that simply at that time there was no other, there was no other department, so he realized he had to finish that so it would serve him as the base for further education, and then he enrolled in high school, and then there he, how can I put it, he really presented himself as the future artist. Namely, he finished high school for tambourine; he finished high school for double bass, and all that at the same time. He finished the tambourine our of the ordinary program, and for double bass he went regularly to Novi Sad and, I guess because understand that there was no other choice, he... he really made an effort to be simply the best, to be the best at every contest, to take all the awards. He realized that was the way to make progress, to be noticed, to... because, I didn't have a part in, or the insight, how can I put it, into some... with some top artists, nor did I know what he could expect in that sense. Simply, I could not help him, except for some general things, except for carrying his suitcases, driving him, and, you know, I was there non-stop in that sense, as an assistant. Sometimes we... Not sometimes, but very often we used to talk, and, how can I put it, we advised each other, and I think he was one of those kids who knows how to listen, how to accept a good advice, and... and of course how to always, in the end, do things their way. That's really a winning combination. Unlike Milos, who doesn't want anyone's advice, who doesn't need anyone's praise, he goes his own way. I think it costs him, how can I put it, much more. - And what did he study after he finished the elementary school? How did he... How did his...? - Milos... Even in high school, he... There was some theater group in the neighboring village and he, as a matter of circumstances, got into it. He had a very good pedagogue, who directed him well, and I think that... And we in the house were... Well, at our place, how can I put it, it was always around. We always tried to watch good movies, to read good books, to listen to good music, and so on. So, he... That's what he had as a base. And then, as I said, while working with that, hm... in that theater group, he realized that theater and the theatrical world might be interesting to him, so, after high school, he enrolled in the Dep. of Theater and Radio Production at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. - While you... When you quit your job at the railroad, you said you came to work here, closer to Vojka, so you would be closer to your family, probably, and... What did you do then? - Well, at that time, as I said, hm... Even now I have about 10 yokes of land and at that time that agricultural work brought me an additional income. That was my primary preoccupation, and, as I said, hm... I was trying to be with my family as much as I can, and we were really... I think we were a good family. And, I never abandoned the music, one way or another, as an amateur, of course. And so the days went by, and the boys were slowly growing up. The two of us were focused on them, and that was all that we were interested in, of course. - The music was present through your whole life. And last year you've gathered the musicians from Vojka from all periods, for a joint concert. What was that? - Hm, once we were sitting somewhere in a bar, and were trying to name all the people who were into pop or rock music since the old days till today. Since those times when rock practically started, that means the 60's, '63-'64-'65, I don't know now. And, believe it or not, we counted, well I don't know, over 60, 70 people that were, one way or another, engaged... (to the dog:) Aska, go, go, go... ... who were engaged with rock music. And it came to me, hm, that idea. And knowing that true rockers and true people that once had a taste, so to speak, of microphone or stage, hm, that it stays in those men forever, so I had an idea to gather them all again, to animate them as much as possible, to... Some of them are still engaged in music one way or another, the others had completely stopped, but I firmly believe that, hm, deep inside they never stopped. And so we decided to search for those people and to... to suggest that kind of project to them. And, believe it or not, that same season I think 6 or 7 bands popped out in Vojka and started to work hard, hm... to rehearse, to train. There were even the youngsters, I mean like 15-year-olds, and there were older ones too, and... So it went, I think it was nice, hm. Some of that still exists and we'll see, we'll expand that idea, in a sense of maybe recording all of it, of making some monograph, of... of course, in the end we'll crown it with one joint concert where that monograph and that CD would be presented. And, hm... And now, everyone is one's own direction, whether they'll keep going or not.. I think this is enough too. - Let's go back to the period of the final dissolution of Yugoslavia, and that unhappy period of your life, probably. How was it for you? Were you of a certain political persuasion, for or against? - That period wasn't nice for me. Hm, that was not my war. Since the first moment, I wasn't from that story. I knew that, but still... (to the dog:) Aska, go, go... But I, hm, as a matter of circumstances, when it started to boil, I was also, hm, so to say, called in as a reserve officer. Simply, knowing that my neighbors were called in too, knowing that my school friends were called in too, I also went, accepted the call. And they told us, of course, that we're going to defend Serbian villages, Serbian people in Croatia, in the surroundings of Negoslavci. I spent about 20 days there. Specifically, our unit was assigned to, as it is said in jargon, keep guard to a larger unit that was, I don't know, some cannon unit or something, I don't have a clue, something, I don't know what... some tools, weapons. We were practically holding guard for them, that was our assignment, and we've spent about 20 days there. Before that we has some kind of preparations. I think we've spent 7-8 days here, on our terrain, for preparations, and went there. And, so, that's how much I've experienced that war. What do I think of it? I'll say it again, it wasn’t pretty back then, and it isn’t pretty now; I never wanted it. I don't know how to explain it... One of my friends asked me -- he's Croatian, we used to work together there, in the company, when I came back from there. He asked me: “Well, Dule, what was your experience? What were you thinking when you went there?” By the way, he's a football player, a really good one. I said to him: “Joco, what are you thinking when an opponent attacks you, and you're holding the ball?” “You look for a way to trick him, or for him not to trick you.” Well, that's what I was thinking too. I was only thinking about, hm... making sure that nothing happens to me, that I manage to protect myself from any kind of 'trick'. And, of course, since I was an officer, it was very important to me that the my people stay safe, it would've been very hard on me if they were hurt. That was the only thing I was thinking about. I understood it as a sort of self defense, nothing else. - Your brother was also in the military? - He was, as a matter of circumstances, at that time... Yes, he was a captain, 1st class. I know that he, hm... he spent... I don't know now. He was serving in Cacak, but I don't know where he spent those days, on which terrain, and it doesn't matter. I know that he got very sick at that time and that he, hm... The same as our mother. He probably inherited it. That's when his psoriasis started and... Oh, God, what's the name of the disease, the Parkinson's. And I know that they literally brought him home from the field to recovery and, hm, that was approximately the end of his military career too. By the way, he finished Military Academy at Zadar, and I remember those great days when I went to visit him. I remember them, him and his friends. They had a really great friendship. That is kind of stuck to my mind. That's it. - After you've finished your service at the battlefield, you came back to Vojka, to the job you had... - Yes, that was the job in that small company that made screws. 200-250 people worked there. Now when I remember it, I think people worked very hard. Relatively... I think that company could've functioned the same even today. But, some strange things started to happen here, in our society -- that's how I see it -- so the company started to sink and I tried to find another position here, even closer to Vojka, in an agricultural collectivity, thinking that... the agriculture is, kind of, a branch that could be really most resistant. And that's where I was wrong, of course. As one of my friends said: "I was wrong about everything" "in life. Whatever I thought won't happen, that's exactly what happened." "I though that there could never be a war in Bosnia, but it happened." "I though that there could never be a war in Yugoslavia, but it happened." "I though my company could never fall apart, but it all happened. I was wrong about everything." The same thing happened here, the agricultural collectivity started to sink more and more. And I saw it coming very clearly, how can I put it, so I tried to get ready for it in a way. It was clear where it was going, and how will it end. So even then I started to get interested in bee keeping and that's my new story, the newest, and maybe the best one. Simply, I think I've tried a lot of things in life, wandered, looking for myself. Simply even I don't know, hm, what I wanted in life, and what did I want to do. And there, in the end, I'm in a situation where the bee keeping is really, hm, it satisfies me completely, and I found myself in it. So first I started reading something about it, since I had no one whom I could learn from directly, so I was aware that I have to read through everything that was written, and there are a lot of things written about the bee keeping. Maybe no other branch of agriculture is so extensively covered in books, and in lectures, and, later, in different kinds of seminars. Simply, the bee keepers are very hard working people when it comes to that. Maybe that's simply the nature of the business, so it's necessary. In any case, bee keepers pay very close attention to their work. They get schooled; they are constantly learning, and I liked that. So I really got into the issue, hm, by reading those books, probably also remembering that my father was into bee keeping once, it all came back. As they say, who knows if it was all only by chance. And I realized that bee keeping can be my hobbi and that maybe, in part, it could cover some of my financial needs. And I've really dived into it. There are a lot of elements, hm, in bee keeping that tie me to it. Simply... I like to work with wood. You need a lot of things there. So, you have to know how to cut something, how to hack, how to model something, how to paint, how to... It's all necessary. It's necessary to be very meticulous. You have to be alone, you have to be... You're turned towards yourself, and that suits me. So, you're not instructed by anyone. Everything you do, you do it yourself. Every mistake you make is your own fault. Every failure is yours only, because the bees... they never make mistakes. That's one of the first rules that I've learned. So, everything that I don't do well comes out in the open eventually. I like a lot of things about bee keeping, in a sense of the independence, the fact that I'm not tied to electricity, nor am I tied to gas, nor am I tied to... I don't know, to any kind of external influences. I am almost not interested in the market either, since the honey that I make I can sell it well in the... so to speak, in home production. So... It gives me great independence, and I like that very much, and that's keeping me close. And I'm learning even today, hm. And I have good friends among the bee keepers. They say that bee keepers are mostly good people, probably because they learn from the bees which are hard working, so we too somehow become a bit like bees. And, to make it interesting, I'll tell you this as well. When my sons were little, Ljubinko asked me one time: “Daddy, what are you doing?” In that sense. And I was working on something, hammering something or... I don't know. Well, I said, this is what I'm doing. He said: “Are you hard-working?” A colloquial question. He said: “You're as hard working as a bee, but no, as a male bee”. And since then they're calling me male bee, literally since then. Imagine that, it's so unusual to me now that bee keeping has turned into my main occupation.

Video Details

Duration: 27 minutes and 23 seconds
Country: Serbia
Language: Serbian
Views: 217
Posted by: globallives.serbia on Jul 25, 2009

Interview conducted by Stefan Ivanović * Executive Producer / Camera - Marko Popović * Production Assistant - Ana Lakčević

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