Monday, March 1, 2010

Баба Пепи

The most recent баба I interviewed is Баба Пепи (Pepi). When I asked Пепи if I could take a photo of her for the blog and then had to wait for her to brush her hair and put on lipstick, I knew she was going to be different. And she was and is. Here is some of her story.

• Пепи was born in 1938 in Село Радуловци (Radulovtsi). Don’t be confused by the signs to the village which read Родоловци (Rodolovtsi); Пепи claims that she liked that name better and was able to convince the people responsible for putting up the signs to spell it the way she preferred.

• Пепи has two daughters and two grandchildren, a grandson and a granddaughter. The most exciting moment of her life was when her grandson was born.

• Пепи is the youngest of six siblings: her brothers were born in 1919 and 1923, and her sisters were born in 1925, 1929, and 1933.

• When Пепи was six years old, her father died. After fourth grade she moved to Sofia to live with her eldest brother.

• After sixth grade, Пепи’s brother married and had no place for her to live. She then moved in with one of her teachers, who wanted to adopt her. But Пепи moved back to Село Радуловци after just one year. She dropped out of school the following year after completing seventh grade.

• Пепи first met her husband while performing a play in Село Пищане. She ended up choosing him as her spouse because he was nice and he had written her a very beautiful and touching love letter. They were married in 1960, had their first child in 1961, and moved to our town in 1963.

• She wanted to be a hairstylist but ended up becoming an accountant for the cooperative for six years before working as a store manager for twenty-eight years.

• Comparatively speaking, Пепи is well-traveled, having visited Berlin, Prague, Poland, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia. She also traveled to the Black Sea on an annual basis after getting married.

• Like so many of her contemporaries, she too seems to favor a communist Bulgaria over a democratic Bulgaria. According to her, while there were few choices and a limited number of available products under communism, they were affordable. Now, the stores are full, but the things being sold are too expensive to buy. Furthermore, under communism, she says people lived without fear – without fear of the future or day-to-day survival and without fear of being assaulted, robbed, raped, or murdered. Because such things are commonplace now, along with earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters, she believes the world is soon coming to an end.

• Пепи said she doesn’t give her kids or grandkids advice because they are all smarter than her. She just wants them to be honest, respectful, and hardworking. She is proud of all of them, particularly her two daughters.

As limited as Роза’s photo collection was, Пепи’s was extensive. We sifted through several shoeboxes worth of photos and picked out some of the more interesting ones. I hope to label them at some point, but even without labels they tell a great story.

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