Mirko Yug revisited

Last Friday I profiled a guy named Mirko Yug for Flashback Friday. I knew nothing about him as a person or about his disappearance at the time. Well, the Charley Project Irregulars decided to pitch in and I’ve gotten some emails from different people with a LOT of info on Mirko, mainly from Ancestry.com. Here’s what I know now:

Mirko Yug was born in Yugoslavia to Friedrich Jug and Melia Serianz. His city of birth was Ljubljana, which is now the capital of Slovenia. One person who emailed said his name at birth was (also) Friedrich Jug. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1950. His first wife was a Yugoslavian-born woman named Bozena, born in 1919 and thus seven years older than him. They married in Austria.

In 1954, Mirko petitioned for naturalization. His petition was granted in 1958 and he changed his name to Mirko Yug at that time. (The change in spelling of his last name was probably for ease of pronunciation. My psychiatrist, born in Haiti, had the last name Brunot, but changed it to Bruno in America, presumably for similar reasons. As to why he’d change “Friedrich” to “Mirko” I don’t know.) Bozena was naturalized in 1956.

In 1956 or 1957, Mirko graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles with a BA in Finance and an MA in Foreign Trade. He listed his hometown as Cleveland, Ohio (which is where his wife had been from). On December 31, 1956, he married again to a woman named Terry, who was born in California, and was several years younger than Mirko. No word on what happened to his first wife. In 1958, Mirko attended the American Institute for Foreign Trade in Arizona. The school still exists but it is now called the Thunderbird School of Global Management, at Arizona State University. Thunderbird’s website says it’s one of the top-ranked business schools in not just the country, but the world.

Also in 1958, Mirko and his second wife moved to Mexico City. One or both of them had been transferred there by an employer, Pfaudler-Permutit, an industrial and chemical company that’s apparently still around. There’s a record of Terry crossing back into California in 1959, but no similar record for Mirko. In 1964, the couple had two sons (twins?) and in 1972, a daughter. That same year, they divorced in Nevada. (All three children still live in Nevada and have good jobs and are apparently upstanding members of society. Terry remarried in 1979 and also still lives in Nevada.)

Also in 1972, Mirko was one of the founding members of a the first modern maquiladora association in Mexico, in Matamoros.  (A maquiladora is a US-owned factory that produces goods for export back to the US.) He is listed as the commissioner for Mexicomp, a company that apparently doesn’t exist anymore, though other companies use that name. The maquiladora still exists though. Whether Mirko was actually still living in Mexico at this point is unclear.

Then he disappeared in Los Angeles in 1976. About the actual circumstances, there’s still nothing known.

This is all very interesting. Mirko was, apparently, an intelligent, driven man and a successful businessman. This is not the kind of background you’d expect from someone who would drop so completely out of sight like that.

Home from Minneapolis

I got home yesterday around noon. I probably would have immediately commenced to catching up on MP news and stuff, given that Michael was working late and I was alone, but I was sick and quite miserable. Tuesday and Wednesday, all day, nausea and vomiting, and Zofran did not help. I dunno what was going on. Spent the rest of the day in bed moaning. I decided to see the doctor today if I wasn’t better, but when I woke up I felt fine.

Minneapolis was great. I’m so glad I went. It’s a beautiful city, everywhere seems to be within two blocks of a lake, and it was very pedestrian- and bike-friendly. I took loads of pics while I was there. My brother was an excellent host: he took us to various places of interest, and either home-cooked good meals for us or took us out to nice restaurants. He was all alone at home cause his wife had taken their kids to visit her folks for the holiday.

The only disappointment was the fireworks. Ian took us to in Mills Ruins Park three and a half hours ahead of time, to get a good spot. It was a great spot but I thought three and a half hours of waiting for fifteen lousy minutes of fireworks was a bit lame.

Here’s a picture taken from my chair before the fireworks began:

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I did get to see my friend John and his wife. I knew John’s wife had to be an admirable and accomplished person or he wouldn’t be with her, but she made an even better impression when we met: she was extremely kind. And VERY accomplished, Google says. She has mad skillz on the violin and played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

As I was going back home I texted John to say hi to his wife for me and how much I had enjoyed our meeting. He texted back:

I will pass your greetings to A. She told me your intelligence and good-heartedness were very evident in person; on drive home, we discussed our admiration for your continual learning. I told her how the friendship between you and me helped teach me, at a deep level, that some problems can only be treated or managed, not solved. That lesson has helped me as a husband, as a brother, and as a human being generally. So: Thank you, Meaghan.

I was very touched, reading that.

I used Uber twice in Minneapolis and my driver the second time was a really awesome guy. He was Somali — Minneapolis has a large Somali population — and told me about his life. He was born in Somalia, raised in Kenya and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. Now he’s studying business in college and starting his own business providing non-emergency medical transportation to people. He drives for Uber on weekends to get extra money. He is getting married next month and I asked if his fiancee was Muslim also and he said yes, she was from the same part of Somalia where he was from. I asked if she was hijabi and he said, “There’s regular hijabi and then there’s full on NINJA hijabi. My fiancee is regular hijabi.” I told him about the Charley Project and we discussed prejudice against Muslims in this country. I told him, “I’ve met a lot of Muslims in my life and one of them was an evil man. I will not hold an entire religion responsible for one evil man.” Then I actually wound up telling him about Rollo, without going into details, and the guy said that was truly horrible and he agreed that sending Rollo back to Sudan was the right thing to do, because Sudan was in even worse shape than Somalia. He also said I was one of the most interesting people he’d ever driven anywhere.

We went to visit Minnehaha Falls, which was beautiful. We followed the trail from the falls to the Mississippi River. There was a shallow spot where kids were wading and Mom took a pic of me there:

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And here’s another of me standing on a log:

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We also visited the Lyndale Park Rose Garden at Lake Harriet. Here’s me standing under the thicket. I have no idea why it’s called that because it does not meet the dictionary definition of “thicket” but the sign on it said “Please do not climb the thicket” so…

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I visited a lot of interesting places but my favorite, actually, was Lakewood Cemetery. I love cemeteries: every stone tells a story, and the bigger and older a cemetery is, the more likely you are to find very interesting stones and some great stories. I’m not just talking about famous people either. I kept Googling names that caught my interest. I found one stone for a young man, 21 years old, who had died in 2004 and Googled his name to find out what happened. I thought maybe he’d been in a car wreck or something. It turns out that poor guy was studying abroad in Italy when he was stabbed to death in a street fight.

At one point I saw an ordinary enough stone, fairly recent, in front of which was a metal cylinder set in the ground. I could only see the top of the cylinder. It was supposed to be secure in this metal plate type housing but the housing was broken and the cylinder was loose inside it. I’d seen several graves like this with cylinders but none of the others were loose like that. “Is that what I think it is?” I asked.

“I don’t know what you think it is,” Mom said.

I pulled the cylinder out of the housing — not all the way out, though I could have — and examined it. It had a cross on the side. “Yes, it is what I think,” I said, and set it back down in the ground and carried on. I wish I had remembered the deceased person’s name or taken a photo because later on I thought I should have reported this to the cemetery management and maybe they could have fixed it. This was not an old grave — I think it was like mid-2000s — and the housing should not have been broken like that, and if I had been a total douche, I could have just walked away with this woman’s cremains.

I took loads of pictures. Some highlights:

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This is the same stone, front and back views. You can see my reflection in the second picture.

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Me on the Elks Rest statue.

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You had onnnne job…

My brother suggested perhaps the earth shifted after the stone was placed but that seems unlikely to me. I’ve been in a lot of cemeteries but never seen anything like this before.

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I hope Peterson consented.

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I tickled it. It didn’t laugh.

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I would love to know the story behind this stone. I asked a few friends (my former professor of Russian history, my friend with a Russian wife) to translate the epitaph and it answers nothing: just says something like, “Sleep well, my darling.” No apparent relatives buried nearby. I went to the library this morning to look Mildred up on Ancestry and see if I could learn anything more but drew a dead end. I’ve contacted the Minneapolis library’s genealogy people to ask for info on Mildred and I’m waiting for a response.

Anyway. The journey home was difficult, mainly because I felt so sick and miserable, but I really enjoyed myself in Minneapolis. It’s a beautiful city. I missed Michael and the cats very much and I’m glad to be home. Now to get back in the swing of things…