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The Story of Milica Babic, the Woman of Ivo Andric’s Dreams

12833346_1739823266254350_985083714_n“Jelena, the woman of my dream” is in reality Milica Babic, the first educated costume designer, to whom Andric wrote until the last days: “Hugging you gently, your Ivo Mandarin”.

History remembers Milica not only as the wife of the first Yugoslav Nobel Prize winner.  After her death, she was buried in the Avenue of Honor, and next to her was laid urn pot of Ivo Andric, who died on the 13th of March, 1975.

It all started at the end of World War II, when Ivo Andric was appointed for the ambassador in Berlin. While he was on duty, Nenad Jovanovic was with him, husband of Milica Babic. It was never revealed when the friendship became love, but it was so strong that Andric waited for three decades for Milica to be free. Before the death of her husband, in 1957, they were exchanging letters from the trips and later they were regularly talking on the phone. A year later, on the 7th of September 1958, they got married, and their best man and maid of honor were Aleksandar and Lula Vuco. Andric was 65 years old, and Babic was 47 years old.

After the wedding, Andric was not hiding that “Jelena, the woman of my dream” was actually Milica, and that he was dreaming about her.

Because of her, but also as a member of the artistic council of the Belgrade Theater, Andric was spending a lot of his time in the theater, but he did not appreciate it. He thought that the actors were great imitators, well empathetic to other people’s lives. Therefore, he did not speak about Milica as a theater artist, but he represented her as a painter in the theater.

During his career, he designed costumes for more than 300 performances, and the last was opera “The Gambler” back in 1961.

In the blue evening gown, with a black bow in her hair, Milica was standing next to Ivo in the ceremonial hall in Stockholm, where the award ceremony was held.

After that, Milica started to struggle with the disease. Medications that she used for arthritis weakened her heart and she died on the 24th of March 1968, in Herceg Novi.

Until the last day, he was writing her from his trips and calling her “My dear beautiful,” and signed the letters with “hugging you gently, your Ivo Mandarin”. After her death, Andric stopped participating in public life and his health was getting worse, until he died on the 13th of March, 1975.

(Source: fokus.ba)

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