May 19, 2018
Down the memory lane in town where I spent my formative years
Sremska Mitrovica (SM), the largest town in the province of Srem, lies about 40 miles west of Belgrade. This is where my sister lives, the main reason I am spending the weekend here.
Sremska Mitrovica, known as Sirmium at the time of the Roman Empire, was one of the biggest cities in the Empire. First mentioned in the 4th century BC, and originally inhabited by Illyrians and Celts, the city was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC. It subsequently became the capital of the Roman province of Pannonia Inferior. In 294 AD, Sirmium was proclaimed one of four capitals of the Roman Empire.
In my lifetime as Constantine, I spent considerable time in Sirmium, along with my firstborn son Crispus, as evident by the gold coins discovered in the ruins of Sirmium during the archeological excavation in the 1960s. My mother, who was then director of the Museum, led that project with assistance of American archeologists from Toledo, OH.
Fate brought me back to Sremska Mitrovica aka Sirmium some 1,700 years later, when my father got a job in 1954 at a construction firm here. I spent the next 10 years in this picturesque town on the river Sava, graduating from high school i 1964. So one could say that this is where I grew up. For those are the formative years in one’s life.
So when I gave myself a walking tour of the city today, it was a trip down the memory lane.
I even caught a part of a soccer game at the stadium where I played in my first and only soccer match when I was about 13 or 14. I was selected by the coach, a nationally renowned soccer player back then, to shoot a penalty. I missed. And that ended my soccer career as I could never forgive myself. I switched to basketball and by the senior year in high school I was the captain of the varsity team.
UPDATE MAY 19, 2018 – EVENING
SUNSET OVER RIVER SAVA
Just before sunset, I went out for another (shorter) walk along the northern bank of Sava river. And this is what my camera caught – a beautiful, serene sunset.
UPDATE MAY 20, 2018
EARLY MORNING WALK ACROSS RIVER SAVA
Back home in Arizona, I usually swim first thing in the morning. But today, in Sremska Mitrovica, I went out for an early morning walk from Srem to Mačva. Both are two regions in Serbia separate by the river Sava.
Which means that my walk took me across the river which was once the backbone of the country called Yugoslavia. For Sava originates in Slovenia, separates Croatia and Bosnia, before flowing into the might Danube at Belgrade.
As I was walking across the bridge which a 100 years ago would have represented a border crossing between the Austro-Hungarian empire and Serbia, I tried to remember the last tine I crossed over into Macva. And I realized that it was at least 20 ears ago. Time flies.