“FIND A GOOD CROATIAN GIRL”
I could not fit the cows on the plane.
Adam Eterovich in Zagreb, 1956-1958
San Francisco, California
My wife is a real Croatian-Zagrebcanka, Gospodja Danica Kralj. Papa in San Francisco told me to go to the
old country, stay a while, stay out of trouble, find a nice girl on the Island of Brac; I told him I
wasn’t looking for a nice girl. I looked around for two years. In Zagreb I visited the Korso Kafana,
Belgrad Bar, Kolodvor Kafana, Gradska Kafana, Dubrovnik Bar, Gradski Podroom Bar, Dubrovnik Kafana and
Saint Mark’s Church in December. This took one year and there were only three bars in town. Oh, I did try
to rent a car to see more, but Tito had the car on weekends.
Papa liked Tito, Stalin and Roosevelt-he wasn’t sure who was going to win, in fact, he had all their
pictures on the wall. It turns out he picked winners. In horse racing we call that Win, Place and Show.
Over here in San Francisco during World War Two they were locking up all Japanese, good or bad, and the
German and Italian fascists; they couldn’t find any Croatian fascists, naturally, so at that time Papa
figured Tito wasn’t that bad, then after the war when they were chasing communists, Papa became a
capitalist and showed his true colors. Money talks. The pictures came down. These old time stari
Dalmatinci were serious about politics. His motto was kako vitar puse, bandira vija. What does that mean
His advice was to find a good, young, big and strong girl from the Island of Brac(then known as a center
of culture, scholarship, wealth and a wonderful lifestyle) as they would listen, work and take care of you
in old age. There were a few things Papa didn’t tell me. Rocks, goats, sheep, more rocks, jack asses. If
they had a contest on who yells the loudest, a Splitcanka or a Bracanka, it would be a dead heat and nose
to nose. Good girls though, I enjoyed the bakalar dinners.
I like Zagrebcanka although they are not too good at listening. Danica’s mother was from Zagorje outside
of Zagreb. They had a strange way of speaking, Kaj-Kaj-Kaj instead of Co-Co-Co, and making wine. They
would make the wine one day, put it in barrels, and drink it the next. Danica’s father was from Slavonia,
no rocks, goats, sheep, jackasses, and as a dowry, I was only given ten acres of land, two cows, and
bedroom furniture because she was beautiful; I could have gotten fifty acres, ten cows plus household
furniture for her sister. This took one year and I ran out of money.
This was better than a Bracanka with a six inch tongue, muscles, 5’ 11’’ tall. Although I do miss the
bakalar, tripe, jonce na razojn, slone srdele, prsuta, kostredine, blitva, capula, ribe na gredele, boce,
treseta, briskula, zmul bevande i tamo na rivi cekat cu te drage.
I gave this all up for a pretty face.
The wedding lasted three days and I could not fit the cows on the plane.
San Francisco, California