Villa Olga

Thank you Friends for all your comments, I do agree, as someone pointed out I have been in the Florida Keys too long since it didn’t occur to me not to wear flip-flops to visit the Palace.

Being there and seeing a painting of my grandmother I had never seen before from when she was in her 20s and knowing that she and my grandfather had walked on those marble flagstones at a time when the future was not known to them and yet strains of unease must already have been palpable. While today there is a leak in the skylight that illumines the grand entranceway, and water puddles on the floor. It was all profoundly moving, I’ve been crying ever since I got back to Key West. I keep wanting to say I’m home but I notice I only say I’m back. I think Serbia is my home. I’m more torn than ever.

Towards the end of my grandmother’s life when a little bit of confusion began muddling her thoughts we flew from Paris to London together. When it was time to get off the plane, this being the 80s when the stewardesses would line up at the front as one exited, they still do, but it used to be more formal. The formality confused my grandmother and took her back to a time when long lines of uniformed servants would wait outside fancy dwellings to greet or bid farewell, and it was her habit to stop and shake everybody’s hand and speak a word to each. So she stopped at every stewardess and shook their hand and said something sweet and special to each one. I could have shuffled her on, I could have explained it wasn’t what she thought, but I let her do her thing.

I remember one summer house, called Pratolino outside of Florence, and I remember arriving and departing and seeing the composed army of staff in a long line leading to the front door. This was a world and a life my grandmother was familiar with, the only one she knew growing up. Years later after settling in Paris and after the death of her husband she learned to get around town on buses.

I loved her and I love her and miss her still, and it was a thrill to be on land that once belonged to her at Villa Olga, Belgrade, Serbia.

8 thoughts on “Villa Olga

  1. Thank you Carla! Most certainly this trip was very impactful for me, and I only want to get back there and learn more. One day maybe you will visit when I have a marble palace of my own? Xx

  2. Thank you my old friend! I do intend to spend a lot more time in Serbia, there is so much more for me to explore. I can’t wait!

  3. I’m so glad you reconnected with your family legacy. For too long there have been so many disparate threads in your life. I hope this trip served to give you a sense of belonging and peace.
    Much Love
    Carla xx

  4. It’s so lovely that you’ve chosen to share such personal, loving experiences and memories with us. It’s wonderful that you have found something so meaningful in your present life, from the past.

    Eventually, you could spend a part of every year in Belgrade and easily have the best of both worlds – the USA and Serbia.

    Everything is possible xxx

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