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A short story centered on Joško Murkovic's life (from Stajnica). This is the working copy/research:
{Spring 1922 - Chapter 1: Joško goes to Brinje}
The memories came flooding back as he touched the coarse, rough wool. It's roughness, it's very texture was the same as the coat he inherited from the sickly Austrian in the Russian barracks. He brought it to his face and he could almost smell the barracks again. He turned to the diminutive tailor and twirling his mustache slowly with his left hand, he shook his head. "No thanks. Don't you have a finer wool?" He paused. "I'm not looking for a silk suit but this sandpaper is not even good enough for a horse blanket."
"Let me see...." said the tailor, nervously disappearing under the counter.
Joško hadn't worn new clothes since he was issued with his new officer's uniform almost nine years ago and he wasn't going to restart his life with material this rough. He also wanted to impress Vjera and something this rough to the touch just wouldn't do it. The tailor placed another roll of material on the wide table and he could immediately see that this was a much finer cloth. It was a light charcoal colour and very smooth to the touch yet when he rubbed it between his fingers he could feel that it was fairly thick and warm. It needed to be. He hadn't spent a winter in Lika for eight years but he knew that the winters here could be bitterly cold. 

"Yes, this will do. Show me some linings". After they had spent a few minutes picking a good silk lining and deciding on the style, Joško asked when he could come to pick it up.
"Oh, no sir, you will need to come back for another fitting and then it will take another two days. Can you come for your first fitting tomorrow mid-morning?" the little tailor replied. He seemed very nervous. Joško wondered why.
"Sure." Joško shrugged. "I'll see you tomorrow." He wondered if he could sleep in Brinje tonight so that he didn't need to make the journey again tomorrow. He was sure Milan wouldn't mind and Vjera would see his new suit some other time. They could play some chess over a quiet beer and maybe he could get to see Vjera while he was there. Vjera had recently celebrated her twenty second birthday and was 14 years younger than him. The age gap worried him but he had wasted so much of his life and there was a certain urgency to his actions now. The day was working out pretty well.
The Prpić's had two spare rooms that they often used for family and other visitors and Joško already had his favourite room. he wondered if in the eight years he was gone whether that room was still used for guests. He stepped out of the tailor's shop into the sunlight and a cool wind gust almost took his hat. He pressed it down with one hand and leaning forward he stepped into the strong spring breeze. He released his totally black mare Majia from the rail and climbed up into the shiny black buggy. Majia was restless, desperate to get going. Majia was still young and was a little wild, making her hard to control but she was beautiful, strong and eager to run. With a swift shout and a crack of the whip he was off heading directly for the Prpić house at a rapid pace.
Ten minutes later he turned into the Prpić house and pulled Majia up around the back of the house, at the stable. While he was tying her up her heard Mile's voice behind him.
"Joško! I heard you were back. Come here, let me see you!" Joško turned and saw his old friend. He looked much older, his hair had gone almost totally grey and he looked like 20 years had passed. He wore old cotton pants that he had been working hard in - they looked like they were held together by dust and dirt.
"Milan! How are you?" They hugged each other as was the custom in Croatia but their hug was firmer and they held it longer than an ordinary hug. It was like a hug that was used when a loved one had passed away unexpectedly or if they had been old friends and had been apart for years. Both were true.
Eventually, they stood back and Milan's eyes had welled up. "So, how are you really?" asked Joško again.
"Fine, fine" said Milan, dismissing the question and turning away. "We will have lots of time to talk, come in, come in " he said, leading Joško into the kitchen, through the rear entrance of the house.
"Draga! Come and see who is here!" With a high pitched shriek, Draga ran forward and hugged him. "Joško!" she cried. A moment later, stepping back, she looked him up and down. "You look real fine. You've matured quite nicely. You're a little thin perhaps but nothing that a little Croatian cooking can't fix. I guess you didn't like the Russian cuisine?" Joško smiled. He was happy that she didn't mention his receding hairline.
"Come. Sit down. Mile, bring out the rakija." Milan had already set out three little glasses and immediately turned to reach for the rakija. The kitchen was fairly large and they sat at one end of the large table, in the middle of the room. He couldn't quite place his finger on it but the kitchen looked poorer than he remembered, the furniture older, the walls plainer.
"We heard you were coming." said Milan filling each glass to the brim but spilling nothing "When did you get back?"

"I got back to Stajnica two days ago, but Slave came to meet me in Zagreb and then he travelled with me on this last leg." replied Joško, picking up his rakija. After they all toasted, Joško pulled out the box of cigarettes that he had bought in Zagreb and offered both of them. Milan joined him in lighting up but Draga didn't smoke. Joško went on to tell them how his young brother Slave had taken the train to Zagreb the day before his arrival and how he had brought a spare suit along so that Joško wouldn't arrive back in Stajnica looking like a pauper. He told them how Slave had volunteered to be the one to go knowing that he would also have the difficult task of telling Joško that their mother had died while Joško was imprisoned in Russia. Joško's eyes filled with tears again as he recounted meeting Slave on the platform in Zagreb and hearing that his mother had died. 

"So how is your father managing?" asked Draga, while slicing up some cold meats.

"I think that he is finding it tough. He is drinking more than he used to." answered Joško, not sure if he'd said too much but guessing they already knew that.

"Where is Vjera?" Joško asked, immediately regreting that he had not said "Where are the kids?" 
{Spring 1922 - Chapter 2: Jozo deals with the maid}
Joško's father, Jozo, sits at home, wondering if Joško is going to come back tonight. Joško had left to go to Brinje to buy a new suit as he had lost a lot of weight in his years in Russia and his old suits hung on him quite badly now. Jozo guessed he might spend the night with Milan and Draga.
The maid (name?) comes in and they fight. She is annoyed that Joško talked to her like that before he left and that Jozo didn't stand up for her. It becomes obvious that the two have a relationship and it can get fiery.
Jozo thinks back to Janjica - he misses her so much. He gets up and leaves. Takes a buggy and goes to the church graveyard. Over Janjica's grave he worries about the family, about Joško's return, Mate, all of them - figure where each one is at this point in time (married? moved out?)
{Spring 1922 - Chapter 3: Mate watches Jozo leave}
Mate sits upstairs on the balcony reading and watches his father Jozo leave on the buggy. He wonders if he is going to the gravesite again. It is quiet. He can hear the sounds of sheep bells - probably coming over the Gaj behind the house. The should be crossing in front of the house soon. Other than that, all he could hear was the sound of the lipa trees leaves rustling gently and the sound of someone chopping wood miles away, each thud carried by the spring breeze. It was peaceful. He hadn't had the time to appreciate this peace for long time.
... he had just finished his stint as Governor of Otočać and had had to rule with an iron fist. He had gained the respect of much of the population but they knew that Colonel Murkovic was brutal in handing out justice. They still talked about the six bandits that he left hanging outside the court in Brinje. After he brought a relative peace to the region, the Serbian General that he reported to, quickly replaced him and brought in civilian rule. Mate saw that there was no future in the Army. All the top brass were Serbs. His life would be a misery if he stayed. In any event, he had never wanted to make it a career. It was time to move on. The sound of sheep bells get louder and 20 or 30 sheep appear on his left. A young girl, no more than 13, walks behind them, goading them on. They continue past the house and head across the valley, the sound of their bells getting softer quickly as the wind starts carrying it away down the valley.
He looked at his shoes, they were still highly polished. Now that he was out of the army, he wondered if the army would ever get out of him.
{Spring 1922 - Chapter 4: Joško and Milan play Chess}
Over beers and chess that night, Milan tells Joško about Mate's military stint in Brinje. He tells Joško about the invasion of their home and that it wasn't a burglary like he'd been told. He tells how almost exactly three years ago Mate hanged the leader and two others in front of the courthouse for three days, where everybody travelling the road through Brinje would see them. He had also ordered that a number of accomplices be beaten up. Joško's older brother Mate had made the town fear him and the Murković name. Milan was afraid that Mate may have gone too far. People held grudges for centuries in Croatia.

Joško realizes why the tailor was nervous.

Joško sees Vjera for first time since he left. She's all grown up.
{Spring 1922 - Chapter 5: Vjera}
Vjera is 21. Joško arrives. Vjera is excited.

Vjera is 10 years old, has five younger siblings. They live in Brinje in a fairly large house just off the main street in Brinje. Her father Ivan Prpić is ill with cancer. Dies. He was 30 years old. Mother (Draga) is alone now with 6 kids. Her uncle Milan steps in, helps out. Out of the blue, he reaches out to Vjera and asks if it would be OK if he married her mother. He is a good, kind man.
{28 June 1914}
Three years pass. Vjera is 13. Draga and Milan have a young son and Draga is pregant again. Serbian kids at school brag that their King was going to be King of Croatia. A Serbian had killed Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo and the kids boasted about the coming Greater Serbia. War breaks out.
{Late 1918}
Vjera is 17. Milan and Draga living quietly. Large family. ZK bursts in. Masked. They beat Milan up. Prpić's are completely robbed by the ZK and they struggle to make ends meet. Vjera witnesses the robbery. Zeleni Kader (Green Cadre or Green Corps) were deserters from the army of Austria-Hungary in World War I on the Eastern front. In 1917 they numbered 20,000 deserters. After the war, spread fear in the State was, pljačkaljući estates and locals. 

{Spring 1922}
Vjera is 21. Joško arrives. Vjera is excited. He will be sleeping at the house overnight. He has a suit fitting with that short tailor tomorrow and he doesn't want to travel backwards and forwards from Stajnica.

{Spring 1922 - Chapter 6: Joško sleeps overnight}
Joško sleeps overnight, shown to his room. Sees Vjera in her nightgown (in the morning?) Goes to pick up his suit. Vjera tags along. They get friendly.


{Summer 1922 - Chapter 7: ... }
Dating, Engagement. Summer fun. Soccer tournament. 

{Autumn 1922 - Chapter 8: ... }
{6 October 1922}
Joško and Vjera get married. Large affair contrary to Milan and Draga's request. Milan and Draga felt guilty that they couldn't contribute as much financially as they never recovered after the ZK attack. 
{Summer 1923}
Vjera gives birth to Vlasta
{late October 1924} 
Vlasta dies in a carriage accident. Vjera is taking the buggy to Brinje to show off her baby to friends and family for the first time. The horse (Majia) gets spooked by some newspaper in the wind and the buggy capsizes. Vjera runs towards Brinje and the doctor, carrying the dead baby and crying. 
Add fiction? She is devastated and needs sedatation. While recovering in hospital she discovers she is pregnant?
{1 July 1925}
Vjera gives birth to Vesna.
{4 July 1927}
Vjera and Joško travel to Zagreb. She is checked in to a hospital in anticipation of a difficult birth.
{11 July 1927}
Vjera gives birth to Seka and Braco and they return to Stajnica.
WW1 ends, Mate returns home continues to serve under the Kingdom. No word from Joško. Mate gets sent to Otočac to bring law and order. Zeleni Kader is looting indisciminately. Mate goes to Brinje catches 3 men. Tries them under martial law and hangs them in the town square. Leaves them there for days. Order is restored.
Add some fiction?: one of the men confess to attacking the Prpić home however everything is sold and spent. Mate lets Mile know. Robbers and thieves in Brinje are taught not to mess with the Murković's. 23 years later, some of these same criminals attack the Dvor.
{1906} - flashback to be included in Joško's thoughts sometime:
Joško had turned 19 a few months ago and he was excited about matriculating from high school. He had been a boarder in the high school in Senj for four years and he couldn't wait to get back to Stajnica and to spend the summer there. The coachman had already arrived earlier today and has already settled the horses in a private stable no more than a kilometre from the school. In the morning at 7AM they were to set off for Stajnica. He has almost finished packing his chest. The 60 km ride back would be much more difficult for the horses as they had a second passenger and his chest and they had the torturous 600m climb through the Vratnik mountain pass to contend with.
As he lay on his bed with everything but tomorrow's clothes packed away, his thoughts once again returned to his future. He was so excited to start on his business diploma in Vienna in the fall but he worried that his German wasn't good enough. He worried about what his grades would be like if he couldn't fully understand the lectures. He wondered how what he learnt would help in in Stajnica if and when he later returned. There was always a chance that he would end up working and settling in Vienna or maybe even in the new world. There was so much talk of people leaving for America and his mother wrote and told him that a number of men and even young couples with children from Jezerane and Stajnica had left or were preparing to. Even though it seemed like a great advanture, he wasn't really that interested in going though as it seemed that America was more attractive to labourers and people that didn't have much. He, on the other hand, had much to look forward to in Stajnica. He thought about expanding the business, of setting up warehouses in both Senj and Zagreb. Maybe even setting up shop fronts at the warehouses. He wanted to see if it was going to be possible to ship wood from Senj to Ancona or even as far south as Pescara in Italy and sell to rocky southern Italy. He was looking forward to exploring that part of Italy after he completed the diploma. He started to fall asleep as he dreamt, the noise of the other boys in the dormitory fading away.
In the morning he heads off. Describe the day, the winding road up to Vratnik. Break for lunch and then a fast canter through Brinje and onto Križpolje where they turned off towards Lipidol and the back entrance to the Dvor. Describe the Dvor as he comes in.
Check: if he only did one year in Vienna before the war started, then he started there in Sep 1912 or latest 1913. This means he spent six or seven years at home, working in the business. Maybe this whole daydreaming thing needs to be delayed by 6 years?
At 19 he would have been eligible for the conscription to the Austro-Hungarian Army. He somehow avoided that for some years.
He graduated in Jan 1913. The officers course lasted a minimum of 16 weeks or 4 months, so he must have started on Oct 1, 1912 (say 1 Sep 1912). If he completed 2 years study, then he started in Vienna on 1 Sep 1910. So, he spent from summer 1906 to summer 1910 in Stajnica? Did he go study to evade the army conscription?



School:Stajnica, Senj

            Family took in boarders from Baron’s family in Vienna

College: studied economics,

Family purchases Dvor

Late teens: Outbreak of WW1, Military Academy, Posting, Surrender

POW years: starts smoking


Return to Stajnica

Met, dated and married Vjera Prpic

Golden years:

Children, Father’s issues, family life, becomes head of family

Plays chess with Vlado, purchases car, smokes cigarettes

Serbian rule – 1925 elections, Vlado gets beat up, shot

WW2 develops, Italian offer for inventory, stress

Local resentment, chetniks, partizani

Attacks increase, increase security at Dvor, bolt doors


Black night: Slave dies, Vlado bleeds, children evacuated

Dark days: bury Slave; collect belongings, take convoy to the train station. Head for Zagreb and Cedo Tominac.

Life in Zagreb: Apartment; school for kids; summer holiday; Vjera gets worse

War develops, Russians get closer, stress. Vjera writes to Rene, plans escape from Zagreb, run to Althofen

Vldao and Braco try to escape; Vlado is taken; Braco writes and disappears

Life in Austria: International School; emigration options; Seka goes to Canada

Braco and Vesna go to Argentina; life alone, letters from children

Travel to Argentina; life with Braco, Seka comes to Argentina.

Development of lung cancer, pain, small funeral; Vjera survives.