Babas and Dedos had a great influence on me when I was growing up in the village of Bešište. My parents were very busy working hard to put food on the table and they didn’t have any extra time to teach or guide their children on the basic necessities of life. On the other hand, Babas and Dedos had plenty of time to do most of the housework such as cooking, looking after livestock (such as chickens, pigs and donkeys), telling stories about their youth and spending quality time with their grandchildren so they could teach them the basics of life.
Below are some memories of my Babas and Dedos that contributed to shaping my ideas and beliefs when I was young. They also provided my parents with opportunities that gave them a brighter future. Even though all of my Babas and Dedos are no longer with us, they all played an important role in my life and I want to remember them forever through books and articles like this.
Dedo Milan was my mother’s father and I was named after him to carry on the family name. Back in those days it was a village tradition to name children after their grandparents. In the late 1940’s my grandfather, then as a young man, and many other villagers were recruiting members to become members of the VMRO (Vnatrešna Makedonska Revolucionerna Organizacija). The government of the day was against anyone supporting this organization. The police were instructed by the government to hunt down and arrest anyone belonging to the party. In some instances, people that didn’t surrender to the police were shot to death (read article "An account - Mariovskoto Ovcarce"). My grandfather refused to surrender and decided to leave the organization and the country forever leaving behind his wife and seven children. He was one of the first men to escape Mariovo and travelled on foot to Solon, a city on the other side of the Greek border. From there he crossed the Atlantic Ocean and landed in Toronto, Canada.
Once Dedo Milan established himself in Toronto, he immediately sponsored his wife and younger son to become permanent residents of Canada. In later years with the help of his younger son, they sponsored many other family members and by the early 1970’s my grandfather and his son were responsible for almost half of the people in the village, including my family, migrating to a new country for a better life.
The sacrifices made by Dedo Milan, his family and my parents, paved the way for me to live, educate, work and raise my family in one of the greatest countries on the planet... "Kanada" as my father used to say.
Dedo Milan, wherever you are, I thank you for everything you did that gave so many a brighter future!
Dedo Milan died at the age of 101 in Toronto, Canada.
In the near future I will be posting more articles to include other Babas and Dedos that had a great influence on me when I was growing up.
Dedo Nikola (Brko)