The story of Vladimír
“I was mugged in my family house a few years back. I gave the robbers all the money but they beat me up anyway. They broke my teeth, ribs and my 5th and 6th vertebra but I had managed to escape somehow. That was just before Christmas and after that I struggled to pay my energy bills, so I had no heating during the whole winter. I spent some time in hospitals too. I decided to come to Bratislava as I used to own a flat here before. I sold it when I divorced my wife. Unfortunately, after the incident, Im unable to work for medical reasons, so the people from Notabene helped me out.
My father comes from Ružomberok and my mother was Czech. My mom studied here in Bratislava. She got her first university degree and then when I was 10 years old, she finished her second one in physics and chemistry. I didn't understand it at that age of course, but later when I was 15-17, I had started to read some of her other books. She had books from Hemingway, Dostoevsky, and Remarque, for example. I loved reading them. My father used to drink a lot, mostly on Fridays and Saturdays. He couldn't drink during the week as he was a linguist teacher at a university. Sometimes he drank more than 4 liters of wine per day. When my mom taunted him for his drinking, he often lost his temper and beat her. Eventually, she divorced him. At that time, we were short on money because he refused to pay his alimonies for the first 4 years after the divorce. My mom then went to courts and eventually had won, so he was obliged to pay me 300 crowns a month, but he never paid for those 4 years. Having not enough money to pay for studying I had to start working as a 16-year-old. The only school I could afford was a vocational school and I attended it while simultaneously working. When I was 25, my mom finally got her fourth degree, Csc., even though she was never a communist. I bought her a small gift from the money I had saved. She was so happy. A few years later she died. I learned my survival skills from all those hardships. Reading all those great books, and having such a great mother, taught me how to be a polite and decent man. I think that's what saved me from going crazy.”