It was very difficult period for smokers, and almost all who smoked. Cigarettes were initially bought ”by the piece,” and when they were not any, people smoked tea that is found in the kitchen, bent in a newspaper or any other paper, only that was thin. People would smoked anything and everything.
We rejoiced return from war line of our loved ones, my brother and husband’s brother. Then we would get together and they informed us about their adventures, their view of the situation and possible outcomes, and in addition one cigarette would go in a circle – from one to another, just as Indians do it … until it is smoked out.
Coffee was drunk with special satisfaction, while it has been some. At the beginning sediment of coffee is not cast away but dried on the paper, and re-used for making coffee. It was not long, and the coffee was a real luxury. It has sold on grams and mixed with roasted barley. Add only occasional grain, only to feel the aroma of coffee, grind at the hand mill and drink without sugar.
Despite the war, life was going on like everything was normal. It was normal that there is not enough water, electricity, food – those most needed, and we could only dream about sweets.
People were lucky who had some closer family or friends in abroad to send them a package, and lucky if it comes to them. It was war and stealing other people’s packages were common thing.
On one occasion, in anticipation of the package from someone, at a time when some in our area received packages and we did not, I jokingly used to say that when the war ends, I will send a package to myself for our children. I really wanted to gladden them.
And a miracle happened. We received a package!
It was nearly the end of the war. The package was sent to us by my step-brother from Slovenia. We got it by accident, because this package was targeted by thieves too. Some unknown woman called me one morning. When she was going to get her package to who knows on which address, outside the city center, she saw the address with a telephone number written on one package. She told me where to pick it up. My husband and I got ready as fast as we could and went to that address.
What a gladness broke out in the house when we appeared in front of our daughters with almost crumpled, but strangely enough, unopened package!
It was everything there, coffee, sugar, even jar of Nutella … Among the things we found a letter. I read and wept, and read again … It was the most valuable thing which entered into our house.
Just when we lost all hope that someone will think of us, and will send us at least one small packet, quite by accident, we got the package.
From the letter we learned that it was sent to us two months ago …
In the last year of the war, we all had lost an average of ten to fifteen kilogrammes of weight. We were not aware of it – clothes showed it to us. We who are daily met, looked ourselves the same, but I remember one colleague who did not work in this period because there were no jobs in his field and was ”on waiting”. When I met him on the street I did not recognize him. He lost so much weight that his image was changed.
And he was not the only one.