July 13, 2010

Family Land

Posted in Family, Serbia, Travel tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:48 am by Liliana

Our land

One of the few orchards still owned by my family

My family owned land for generations in a fertile region of Northern Serbia. The area is hilly, green and lush, and a wide stretch of Danube flows through the middle of the village.

Every piece of land has a name of its own. My grandfather owned orchards with plum, apple, peach, cherry, apricot and pear trees. He owned vast vineyards and was known in the region for grafting the best vines. He had fields of corn and wheat, rye and clover. My grandmother tended a large vegetable garden just outside the village. Around the house they had fruit trees, a smaller vegetable garden and an elaborate flower garden.

When I was a little girl and time stood still and I believed that all of us would live forever, and that nothing would ever change, I could never have imagined that our family would cease to live on this land, in this green village on the Danube.

I am fifty years old now and live with my husband and children in an American town. My grandparents have died. My mother has died. Our old family house (now owned by cousins) is slowly decaying into a thing of the past. Climbing roses and trumpet wines cover windows and crumbling bricks of the chimney. Most of the land has been sold.

When my sister and I visited with our kids a few years ago, we went to the family cemetery. The place was overgrown with weeds. We weeded and tidied up as much as we could, but we knew it wouldn’t last. The weeds would grow back.