Selco: What We Can Learn from the Stories of Old People
Note: Here‘s one of the stories in Selco’s new book, SHTF Survival Stories, Vol. 1, which you can purchase here for only $6.49.
These story collections can only be found in the PDF books and are not available anywhere online. Volume 1 contains 17 stories. I found that the book reads a lot like survival fiction short stories – except for the fact that they’re all true. In this one, he discusses what he learned from his Great Uncle, a war veteran, and encourages us to learn from the stories of old people.
Selco manages to share the brutality of those times and still add in the glimpses of humanity that are so important.Because without it, we’re just animals. ~ Daisy
My great uncle was a drinking man. He would drink heavily from the moment when he woke up until the moment he went to bed, but I do not remember ever seeing him stumbling, walking funny, or having problems with his speech.
When he was at home his favorite spot was on the couch in the corner of the room, just next to the wood stove which was running always except on really hot days.
He drank from very small glasses (shot glasses), the bottle was never visible (he kept bottle behind the couch) on the table there was the silver box for cigarettes, with tobacco and papers for cigarette rolling inside, and his shot glass.
The table was old type table with a glass plate on top of it, and under that glass, he kept paper that says that government and state recognize him as a member and organizer of the early resistance movement against the German and Italian occupation (WW2).
Table, his cigarette box, his rakija and everything else in his room was off limits for us kids. He lived with my grandparents, he never married, no kids.
Actually, now when I remember he himself was pretty much off limits for us kids, the only person who ever had some influence over him was my grandmother-his sister, she was the only one who could tell him sometimes that he needs to do something.
He was one tough and dangerous old dude, sitting in the room. Drinking and staring in the spot where the wall connects to the ceiling.
Sometimes we kid sneak in the room, seeking stories, or money from him, in return we would bring firewood from the shed for his never-ending stove fire.
He would give us money often from his big “veteran warrior” pension, stories were rare.
Often kids just sat there, talking something, he would occasionally say “umm” or “hmm” and stare in empty space.
The veteran’s hall
He did not go out very much, except for his regular chess meetings in the local community hall, a war veteran organization and heavy drinking joint place in one.
People call it “half leg” because of several handicapped folks who were there all the time.
And I was a kid who often went with him there, my grandmother often would tell me “go with him there and wait for him”, I guess she simply was worried for him.
The place was a big hall with old tables with games like chess and checkers on them. Great Uncle would sit down usually with same folks there, his old war comrades.
They would play chess, drink heavy booze and over the time they would usually forget that I am even there.
In that time, I was taught in the school that we are living in great socialistic and communistic society, where all people are equal, and that we got to that point through the heroic and noble fighting of working class in WW2.
War and fights were something noble, heroic and full of sacrifice. Our war vets were ‘clean’; they were people who sacrifice themselves for our motherland – for a socialistic society.
I was taught like that, in my young mind, all was black and white.
Those old guys looked at war a lot differently.
Over the time I realized that folks on that table together with my great uncle had a bit of a different picture about war and fighting and honor.
They talked about everything, but with heavy slang and in what looked to me in that time in ‘codes’, and a lot of “remember the Mora(mountain) and how we eat shoes”? and the answer would be “yeah, f*ck it, and how many bodies there.”
A lot of that was not understandable for me, a lot of head nodding,
One of those chess games stayed in my mind over several decades of the time since I heard it at that table:
The man who played chess with my great uncle had a pieces of shell in his body, I think it was not an option to remove it so he grow old with that in his body, he had a couple of pieces in his arm and fingers, and while he was thinking about his next chess move he would squeeze his fist and fingers and pieces of shell in his fingers were producing the sound like something is chewing inside his hand.
It was fascinating to me at that time.
What I understand from their story was this:
He and my great uncle found themselves in some heavy fighting during the WW2.
Their unit was carrying a lot of heavily wounded together with a lot of civilians who were running from German forces.
A sudden attack of Germans made chaos and them together with a couple of guys got separated from the unit.
They manage to break out from the encirclement, then they hide inside some cave for a couple of days.
They ate tree bark.
Days later they went out and wandered through woods trying to go to the safe territory.
And then they stumble members of their unit.
Actually, a pile of them.
On one small clear place in the woods, there were hundreds of bodies in a big pile, and a man with the “chewing” in his fist said he never before or later saw anything like that.
Soldiers and civilians were shot and put on a big pile of bodies in the middle of nowhere, and he said that lot of them were heavily wounded but still alive. Actually, they were put there intentionally still alive, to suffer more before they die.
They found a couple of women tied to the trees… Dead.
They quickly move away from there, scared.
Later that night while they were resting they heard noises, quietly went to check and find out German soldier sitting down and bandaging wound on his leg, probably lost and separated from his unit.
They killed him with a bayonet, and as I understand they killed him slowly.
That story terrified me to the bones, and I think I heard it only because they were pretty drunk and not even realized I was with them.
My great uncle’s stories happen again and again
My great uncle died a long time ago, he was a heavy drinker too to the last breath.
At his funeral, there were flags, and speech about honor and sacrifice, even his medals.
We never found his wartime machine gun “major” (MP 40) that he hid somewhere after the war never giving up to anyone where it is, and as I am older I feel sorry I did not hear more about his experiences.
I am sure he cared a lot more for that machine gun than for speeches flags and medals.
I do not remember him as a war hero, and I am sure he did not think of himself as a war hero.
He was scared often while he was in a survival situation, he often did things that he did not like, he was not invincible, and he was ready for trouble again all the time.
He was a survivalist.
The point of this story is the memory of something, in this case, the memory of my great uncle.
And there is one more point, for you more important:
Talk with old folks, with veterans, old or young. There is nothing like real life experience.
Be patient, the best (or worst) stories are hardest to get, but it is precious knowledge.
It is a better prepper investment to hear how (and what) tree bark to eat then to buy 10 MREs.
Many years after my great-uncle experiences and events I experienced similar things, hunger, fighting, piles of bodies…
It is in human nature, things like this are happening and will happen again…
Here’s how you can support Selco’s work.
If you’d like to buy Volume 1 of Selco’s SHTF Survival Stories for $6.49, you can do so at this link:
Be on the lookout for an email from SendOwl, which will contain your download.
Your purchase benefits Selco financially and allows him to keep producing great content from his experiences.
About the Author
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.