I did go to school to tell you the truth, I went up to the fourth grade. I went and did not. That’s how it was among the people of Janjevo, they wronged us here, and maybe somebody regrets that now. I was a child, you know, for home. My mother sent me, I was no fool, I crossed the world and I could attend school. But they rebuked her, it’s a girl, she’ll marry, you know, she doesn’t need education she will deal with diapers. But the boys too, they will carry packages, he will work at the market. This is how it was.
Mother was giving birth, there they mowed the land, and she let me and stopped me from going to school. ‘She will marry, what school?’ Like that. When she gave birth to that brother, I was at home for a month, she did not let me go to school and she had to pay a fine for that. I was in the fourth grade about to get to the fifth. She paid a very large fine, then she had to let me go to school, but without notebooks, books, wasting my time at school.
Three years later, after I passed fourth grade and was in the fifth, three years later I went to the fifth. I always joke about it. I said to the present school principal, ‘Give me a diploma.’ She says, ‘Why Marija?’ ‘But, I did go to school, I want a diploma.’ She says, ‘What diploma?’ I say, ‘I went to school for three years, that should mean something. You know what, that too is a sacrifice. I want a diploma, I won’t show it anywhere.’ I said, ‘I don’t need it for job applications, but to…’ They promised they would give me one for the eight grades I completed. I want to put in a frame because I went for three years in fifth grade.
Marija Basler Karamatić was born in 1956 in Janjevo. She attended Vladimir Nazor Elementary School in Janjevo in 1969. In 1987, Marija started working in the Metalac factory, and in 1991 she went to live in Switzerland. After 1999 she came back to Janjevo and continues to live there.