Nekaj utrinkov iz zgodb:
Kristina (1923):''Pri nas, na Kozjanskem, kjer je že od nekdaj vinorodno območje, je bilo veliko revščine. Bilo pa je tudi veliko alkohola in družinskega nasilja. Naš ata je bil za glavo manjši od mame, a je kljub temu pred njim velikokrat bežala na varno. Vzgojili so jo, da se možu ne sme upirati, ker je to velik greh. Ko jo je ujel, jo je najprej natepel. Padalo ni le po telesu, tudi po glavi. Ko se je upehal, ji je ukazal, naj gre v hišo in se uleže na peč. Tam smo včasih imeli ''rancalo''. To je bila lesena naprava, ki je za kakšen decimeter molela čez rob peči. Mama se je vanjo ulegla in čakala. Ob straneh sta bili dve odprtini, skozi katere je morala vtakniti nogi. Potem je ata stopil na klop, spustil hlače in toliko časa zabadal v mamino mednožje, dokler mu ni prišlo. Mama se zaradi stranic, ki so jo utesnjevale ob straneh, ni mogla premakniti niti za centimeter. Kadar je bil ata pijan, je mučenje trajalo ure in ure. Otroci smo jokali ob vratih in ga prosili, naj odneha. Pa ni. Nikoli ni. Ko je umrl, nihče od nas ni jokal za njim. Nismo mogli. Preveč smo ga sovražili zaradi vsega hudega, kar je storil naši ubogi mami.''
Hilda (1935):''Pri hiši nas je bilo devet otrok. Ata in mama sta bila do nas prijazna. Vsak večer smo najprej molili, potem pa smo ob spremljavi atove harmonike prepevali pozno v noč. Ata je bil veseljak, hodil je od hiše do hiše in krpal ljudem čevlje. Mama pa je bila tista, ki je držala vse štiri vogale pri hiši. Kadar je ata ostal doma, se je ulegel pod hruško in spal. Sem in tja se je prebudil, stopil do kozolca in zaklical proti njivi, kkjer je mama plela z drugimi ženskami:'Angelca, pridi hitro domov. Potrebujem te!' To je storil tudi po trikrat na dan. Vsi, ki so pomagali mami pri delu na polju, so se muzati, saj so točno vedeli, zakaj ata mamo tako nujno potrebuje doma. Ko se je mama čez kakšnih pet minut spet vrnila k delu, je bila za spoznanje bolj rdeča v obraz, rekla pa ni nikoli nič. Danes malokdo ve, da je bil v tistem času moški nagon zelo močan. Samo spolno dejanje pa nikoli ni trajalo več kot pet minut. Ženska je morala zmeraj ležati pri miru. Užitka pa ni poznala.''
Berta (1936):''Odraščala sem v revščini. Deset nas je bilo pri hiši, pogosto nismo imeli kaj jesti. Spomladi se nam je pridružil še bratec, ki se ga mama ni prav nič razveselila. Od jutra do večera je hodila v dnino, k sestrični, ki se je omožila na bogato kmetijo. Ob poldne so šle ženske po navadi domov, da so kaj skuhale za družino, ki jih je že nestrpno čakala. Le moji mami se ni nikoli nikamor mudilo. Ko so jo vprašali, zakaj ne, jim je odgovorila:'Še kakšno uro počakam, pa bodo potem, morda, kakšna usta manj za nahranit, ko se vrnem…'
Bratec je na zimo, bilo je konec novembra, zmrznil ob odprtem oknu. Še danes pravijo, da je mama nalašč pustila okno odprto. Mogoče je kaj na tem, ne vem. Nikoli se nismo pogovarjali o bratčevi smrti.''
Olga (1955):''Štelo se je, da sem se poročila na napredno kmetijo. Žal ni bilo tako. Že na poročni noči se je nama pridružila tašča in na noben način je vse do jutra nisva mogla spraviti ven iz spalnice. To, da nisva bila niti za pet minut sama, je trajalo več kot tri mesece. Potem je šlo zgrda, a mi je zamerila, da je čez noč postala moja smrtna sovražnica. Ko sem leta 1974 rodila prvega sina, o tem, kako poteka porod, nisem nič vedela. Bila sem prepričana, da bom rodila kar skozi popek. Lahko si mislite, kako me je bilo groza, ko je otrok, ki se je rojeval, ubral povsem drugo pot. Po porodu sem prebrala nekaj knjig, a me je v drugo spet presenetilo: odtekla mi je porodna voda, meni se pa sanjalo ni, kaj bi to lahko bilo!''
Marko (1943):''Ko sem prišel službovat na župnijo nekje na Koroškem, še ni bilo interneta, zato sem se ob večerih, po maši, ko sem ostal sam, pogosto dolgočasil. Nekoč sem nekaj iskal in sem slučajno odprl eno od krstnih knjig, ki je segala v leto 1916. Našel sem na gosto popisan list, ki ga je v knjigi pustil eden od mojih daljnih predhodnikov. Takratni župnik je zapisal zanimivo zgodbo, ki je govorila o njegovi nečakinji. Bilo je precej nerodno, ker z možem še po šestih letih zakona nista imela otrok. Vaščani so se jima posmehovali, češ, malo bolj podmažita vzmeti v postelji, pa vama bo šlo ''delanje otrok'' laže od rok. To sta- naivna, kot sta bila- res storila. Potem šele je bilo smeha! Župniku je pripetljaj prišel na ušesa, odločil se je, da bo v vasi naredil red. Nečakinjo in njenega moža je poklical k sebi v župnišče in jima po najboljših močeh razložil, kako poteka spolni odnos, da zaplodita otroka:'Žena, ti se ulezi v posteljo, zapri oči in se spodobno pokrij z obleko preko obraza. Potem odroči roki, ker bi bilo greh, da bi se moža po nepotrebnem dotikala. Odroči tudi nogi, a ne preveč. Potem stisni zobe in potrpežljivo počakaj, da bo mož ugasnil luč, spustil hlače in spoštljivo legel nate. Možu polagam na srce, da svojo pravico opravi hitro, da ne bo po nepotrebnem podaljševal ženinega trpljenja. Ko bo končal, se v temi oblecita, ker ne gre, da bi drug drugega gledala na pol slečenega'.
Župnik je čez devet mesecev na list papirja pripisal, da so v nedeljo krstili sina njegove nečakinje, ki se je rodil ''malo tudi z njegovo pomočjo''. Ta zapis je dragocen tudi s sociološko-etnološkega vidika, saj priča, na kakšen način so potekali spolni odnosi v prvi polovici 20. stoletja.''
Urban (1953):''Ko sem urejal babičino zapuščino, sem v njej naletel na zanimivo napravo, na kateri je pisalo ''care free''. V trenutku sem se spomnil, da sta se mama in babica o tej napravici, s katero so si nekoč, pred vojno, ženske izpirale nožnico in se na ta način zavarovale pred nosečnostmi, večkrat pogovarjali. Babici jo je poslala sestrična, ki je živela v Ameriki. Ženske so si jo med seboj tudi izposojale. Dokaz, da je bilo tako, sem našel v enem od pisem. Babici je pisala ena od njenih prijateljic:'Prosim te, posodi mi care free. V petek pridejo v Ljubljano trgovci iz Bosne. Bom šla tja dol, malo nastavila in kaj zaslužila.'
Silva (1938):''Naš ata je bil trikrat poročen. A vse življenje je bolj ali manj pogosto živel s hčerko iz prvega zakona, z Marinko in imel z njo tudi dva otroka. Vsa vas je vedela za to, z leti se nihče več ni čudil krvoskrunstvu. Ata je imel bratranca, ki je počel podobno. Bil pa je tudi pijanec in nasilnež. Ko mu je hči rodila otroka, ga je prijel za nogico in ga vrgel ob steno z besedami:'Če je moj, bo crknil, če ni, bo pa preživel.' Tudi moj sodelavec iz tovarne, kjer sem delala skoraj 45 let, je imel očeta, ki je bil velik nasilnež. Ko se je rodil sedmi otrok, se je zaklel, da bo vsakega naslednjega nabodel na vile in zakopal v gnoj. To je res storil. Sin pa je vsakokrat, ko je spomladi trosil po njivah gnoj, iz njega skrbno prebiral otroške kosti in jih na skrivaj sežgal. Nekega dne mu je bilo vsega zadosti, prijavil je očeta oblastem. Morilec je potem umrl v zaporu.''
Zgodba o Tinci pripoveduje, da so ji že kot otroku poškodovali obrazni živec in to med ruvanjem zoba. Usta ji je vleklo na desno stran in zato so se jo snubci izogibali. Vse sestre so se že poročile, sama pa je ostala za teto in deklo pri bratu, ki je prevzel kmetijo. Živela sta bolj vstran od drugih ljudi in ker tudi bratu ni preveč dišalo, da bi zapravljal čas za letanje za ženskami, si je postregel kar doma. Pravili so, da se mu sestra ni preveč upirala, ker je bila že od malega navajena, da je moške treba ubogati. Šele potem, ko je zanosila, se je začela zavedati svojega greha. Bilo jo je preveč sram, da bi kogarkoli vprašala za nasvet. Z navadno žlico si je skušala pomagati in spraviti otroka iz sebe. Pri tem se je večkrat ranila in če jo ne bi, vso krvavečo, našli nečaki, bi umrla. Ko so jo sestre spraševale, kdo je oče, ni nobeni izdala, kaj je počel njihov brat. Šele na smrtni postelji je svoje grehe zaupala eni izmed nečakinj, ki ji je potem zapustila svoj delež na kmetiji in skromno pohištvo.
Polona je zanosila, pa ni vedela točno, ne s kom ne kako. Odločila se je, da bo obdolžila kar gospodarja, ki je res nekajkrat prišel k njej, v sobo pod streho. Ponovno je bil župnik tisti, ki je moral odigrati vlogo razsodnika. Polona mu je razložila, kako jo je gospodar šlatal in jo grabil z rokami za sase (prsi). Pa jo župnik vpraša, če je tudi tisto reč vtaknil v njeno špranjo. Dekle odgovori, da ne, ker ni bilo časa. Kdo pa je bil tisti, ki pa mu je uspelo spraviti šurka v luknjo? Polona je menda iztegnila roko in začela naštevati imena, ki so bila tudi župniku zelo domača …
The book you are holding in your hands took me almost a quarter of a century to write. The stories it contains found me; I was not looking for them.
I grew up in the late 1950s. During my childhood, my parents preferred a stick to a hug. We never talked about sex in my family. The topic was taboo. My mother warned us that any kind of fooling around with a man before marriage was a sin. She believed that during sexual intercourse, a woman needed to “just bear it” and let the man perform “his right and duty”. She insisted that, when she was young, brides walked down the aisle as virgins. Her words somehow suggested to me that I was depraved and sinful, though I didn’t understand why, and they pierced my heart. Later when I was married and had children, I often viewed sex in a way similar to how she had portrayed it in my youth.
Through my work at the radio, I had the opportunity to interview many elderly people. This is how, through a series of unexpected events, I met Mici. Mici’s stories shattered the myths of traditional female virginity and dispelled the prejudices that had resided in me for so long.
Collecting stories about intimate moments between men and women during the first half of the 20th century became my passion and “healed my soul”. Today I see it as my mission. The stories I’ve collected show that we know absolutely nothing about this aspect of our forbearers’ lives. The stories helped both to free me of prejudice and to talk about sex openly and without shame.
The book "Don’t Play With Fire, Ass and Snakes” thoroughly shook the Slovenian reading public. Although it was self-published, nearly every Slovenian heard about it at least by word of mouth.
The book, the first of its kind in Slovenia and apparently in Europe, contains the personal testimonies of over 1,600 women, all of them over eighty years of age at the time of the interview. In large part, these interviews present intimate and other relations between our ancestors. The book has the effect of healing the trauma passed down from generation to generation and caused by upbringings similar to mine.
The stories are unique, never before heard or written down.
The book, “history expressed in the living word”, is intended for readers of all ages.
My heart aches when I think about the false shame we Slovenians have toward sexual relationships, and that this shame may have caused countless stories to be lost. These stories help us learn and understand why we are the way we are.
The book also reminds us that something good can be born out of every evil. In other words, one should never give up.
The following are fragments from some of the stories:
I was born in Kozjansko, a wine growing area, where there was much poverty. There was also a lot of alcohol abuse and family violence. Our father was a head shorter than my mother, but still she often needed to run to safety from him. She was brought up believing that it was a sin not to obey your husband. When he caught her, he first beat her. He would hit her not only on her body, but her head as well. When he wearied of beating her, he told her to go inside and lie on the earthenware stove. On top of the stove, there was a wooden device called a rancala that struck a decimeter over the edge of the stove. My mother would insert herself into it and wait. At the side there were two openings through which she put her legs. My father stepped onto a bench, dropped his pants, and prodded her until he came. The device confined her, making it impossible for her to move even a centimeter. When father was drunk, this torture could go on for hours. We children cried at the door and begged him to stop. He never did. When he died none of us cried. We couldn’t. We hated him too much for the terrible things he did to our poor mother.
We were nine children. Father and mother were nice to us. Every evening, we first said our prayers and then sang long into night with my father accompanying us on accordion. Father was a jovial fellow. He went from door to door repairing shoes. Mother was the one who held down the four corners of the house, as they say. When father was at home, he lay down under the pear tree and slept. When he woke up, he walked to the haystack and called out towards the field where mother was working with the other women: Angelca, come home quickly. I need you! Sometimes, he would summon her three times a day. Everybody who was helping mother in the field smirked because they knew exactly why he wanted her to come home so urgently. When mother returned some five minutes later, she would be flushed but never said anything. Few today realize how strong the male sexual drive was in those days. The act itself never took more than five minutes. A woman always had to lie still. She took no pleasure in it at all.
I grew up in poverty. We were a family of ten and often had nothing to eat. One spring another brother was born and mother felt no joy. She worked from dawn until dusk at the home of her cousin who had married into a rich family. At noon, the women went home to cook for their families who waited impatiently for their midday meal. Only my mother was never in a hurry. When asked why she would say: I'll wait another hour. Maybe there will be less mouths to feed when I get home.
My little brother froze to death that winter lying by an open window in late November. People still say that mother left the window open on purpose. It may be true. I don’t know. We never talked about my little brother’s death.
Everyone thought I had married into a progressive farming family. Unfortunately, it was not so. On our wedding night, my mother-in-law came to our bedroom and we could not get her to leave before morning. She never left us alone for more than five minutes. This went on for over three months. Finally, we convinced her to leave us alone, but she resented it so much that she became my mortal enemy. In 1974, when I gave birth to my first son I had no idea know how it happened. I was sure I was going to give birth through my belly button. You can imagine how horrified I was when the baby chose a different path. After the birth, I read several books but was still surprised the second time I had a child. When my water broke, I had no clue what was happening!
I served as a priest in a parish somewhere in Koroška, At that time there was no Internet and after the evening mass I was often bored when I stayed alone. To pass the time, I would browse through the parish records. I found a piece of paper in a 1916 baptismal book filled with dense writing left by one of my predecessors. He recorded an interesting story involving his niece. She and her husband found themselves in an awkward situation because after six years of marriage they still had no children. Villagers made fun of them suggesting they should oil their bedsprings to help them “make babies”. Naive as they were they really did oil the bedsprings. Oh, how everyone laughed! Having heard of the event the priest decided to intervene. He called his niece and her husband to the presbytery and explained to the best of his ability how to conduct sexual intercourse in order to conceive a child: You, woman, lie down in bed, close your eyes and modestly pull your dress up over your face. Then spread your arms for it would be a sin if you touched your husband without need. Then spread your legs but not too much. Then clench your teeth and wait patiently for your husband to switch off the light, drop his pants and respectfully lie on top of you. To you, husband, I speak to your heart when I advise you to exercise your right quickly so as to not unnecessarily prolong your wife's suffering. When you are done, dress yourself in darkness for it is not becoming to see each other half naked.
Nine months later the priest made a note on the same piece of paper saying that he baptized his niece’s son on Sunday who was conceived with a little help from me. This writing is valuable from the sociological and anthropological point of view as it describes what sexual intercourse was like in the first half of the 20th century.
I was going through my grandmother’s belongings after she died and I found an interesting device on which the word carefree was written. I remember on several occasions hearing my mother and grandmother talking about a device with which women rinsed out their vagina after intercourse in order to prevent pregnancy. My grandmother got it from her cousin who lived in the United States. Women would borrow it from each other. I found proof of this in a letter written by one of grandmother's friends: Please lend my your carefree. Merchants from Bosnia are coming to Ljubljana on Friday. I will go down there, put myself to use, and make a little money.
Our father was married three times, yet he lived for most of his life on and off with his daughter from his first marriage, Marinka, with whom he had two additional children. Everyone in the village knew about it but over the years ceased to be shocked by the incestuous relationship. Father had a cousin who also had an incestuous relationship with his own daughter. This cousin was a drunkard and a bully. When his daughter gave birth to his child, he grabbed it by the leg and threw it against the wall saying: If it’s mine, this will kill it; if it is not mine, it will live. One of my fellow workers in the factory where I worked for almost forty-five years also had a very violent father. After the birth of his seventh child, he swore if he had any more children he would spear them with a pitchfork and bury them in a dung heap. He kept his word. Each spring, when this fellow was throwing dung onto the fields, he picked out baby’s bones and secretly burned them. One day he had enough and reported his father to authorities. The man later died in jail.
When Tinca was a child, her facial nerve was injured when she had a tooth extracted. Her mouth was pulled to the right and, as a result, suitors avoided her. All her sisters married and left, but Tinca stayed on to help her brother who had inherited the family farm. Tinca and her brother lived far away from other people and, as her brother did not have time to look for other women, he helped himself to what he had at home. People used to say that Tinca didn't put up much resistance as she was brought up believing that men must be obeyed. It was only after she got pregnant that she realized she had committed a sin. She was too ashamed to ask anybody for help. She used a tablespoon to try and get the baby out of her body. She hurt herself while doing it and would have died if it weren’t for her nephews who found her bleeding. Asked by her sisters who the father was Tinca didn't tell any of them that it was their brother. Only on her deathbed did she confess her sins to the niece to whom she left her share in the farm and her other modest belongings.
Polona became pregnant not quite knowing with whom or how it happened. At first, she blamed it on the master who came to her room under the roof several times. A priest was called in to judge the matter. Polona explained to the priest how the farmer touched her and grabbed her titties. The priest then asked if he had stuck his thing into her crack. The girl replied that he hadn’t because there wasn’t enough time. Who was the man then who had managed to get the roach into the hole? Polona then allegedly pointed her finger and started to give names with which the priest was very familiar…