OFF WE GO TO THE CRADLE OF OUR ANCESTORS
In the summer of 1975, we decided to undertake a trip to Bohemia during July.. Quite frankly, I do not know what the reason was for such a decision. It may very well be that I was desirous and interested in getting well acquainted with my relatives as well as with the homeland of my parents. On the other hand, it might also have been that the prevailing factors were my love and understanding which I had towards my mother. At that time, she felt lonely and missed her brothers and sisters who still lived in Bohemia. As a matter of fact, she greatly suffered from their absence. With this in mind, I assume that in those days, she probably felt some need to say in person a final good-bye to her native country. Indeed, this was her last journey as well as an occasion of many meetings with them. My husband was most obliging to fulfill my mothers desire. In addition, all the children were much enthused over having a chance to undertake such a trip abroad. For them, it was a very attractive and bold venture. Their interest was more increased, because both grandmother and grandfather were often recounting stories of the country, where they themselves were born. Also, they narrated many unforgettable remembrances of their own childhood and youth.
Everybody expected that such a trip would bring about some very special experiences which would greatly enrich the soul by some very special events. On that occasion, we all thought that we would get a chance of experiencing many new and interesting events, about which we could never have imagined.
Finally, we crossed the border line at the place, called Rajka, thus stepping on the ground of our forefathers and the land of our ancestors origin.
At that time, the forget-me-not blue eyes of my mother were filled with tears. She embraced me with trembling hands. I felt the quickened beats of her old heart. On that day, she said: "Oh dear, I do not believe it that this has ever happened to us. We are really here !" I worried about my mother, but I was also so happy. For the same reason, I was also filled with a lot of impressions which were aroused in her soul. Simultaneously, I felt uncomfortable.
Deep in my soul, there was a warm feeling that now, I was really standing on the ground and in the area where my parents were born. It was this place, where they rocked me in a cradle, and again it was here where my mother pressed me to her bosom for the first time, saying some tender words in that soft and melodious Czech language.
We stopped at this site to relax and recuperate from all the thrilling impressions. At that time, lots of people were riding by around that location.
As a result, sounds of many Czech words could be heard, even though cut into fractions, and convinced us that we were right in the middle of our native country to which we were so much bound by our origin, customs and hearts.
As soon as we arrived at the outskirts of the town called Jindrichuv Hradec, we knew that we were quite close to our goal. This town was not big by any means, but it is located in a very beautiful countryside between the rivers Nezarka and the pond Vejgar, in the middle of which there was a small isle covered by trees. In those days much esteemed middle class people routinely walked alongside this pond in order to calm down. You could find there many flowers as well as flowerbeds with roses and ivy.
We also stopped in front of a villa in which my mother had spent her childhood and youth. However, we did not go inside, because for a long time there were some other people already living who were unknown to us. We were standing there at the forged fence which had very decorative ornamentals. At that time, my mother recalled her remembrances relating to the days when she lived in that house. Then, it was already a property of her teacher. It was this same teacher who adopted her as his own child to live in his family, due to her grandmothers death. In those days, my mother was only 7 years old. As for the birthplace Kardasova Recice, five orphans remained there. The youngest brother was only 6 months old and the oldest sister was 12 years old. My mother quite often told us about the pond where she was rinsing the clothes. She also told us about the long winter evenings during which she was used to read books under the patronage of the teachers wife. Furthermore, she told us about two teachers small boys, who had been under my mothers care whenever their parents had to leave the house.
As a matter of fact, on that occasion her eyes were full of tears which were running down over her cheeks, when she recalled her first meeting with my father who was then active in military service as a musician in the same town. On one of the Sunday afternoons, my father was strolling along the garden where the young and beautiful Rose was watering flowers. He used that occasion to ask her to give him one of the roses. Well, she at once gave him a delicate daffodil instead of it, and promised him that next time, she would give him a rose. So, this was their first encounter which resulted in love at first sight. Their next meeting was followed by a stroll in the town park right after the Sunday promenade concert which had taken place there previously. Before long, their acquaintance was crowned by a wedding at Banja Luka.
My fathers birthplace was Kostelni Radon. It got its name from the church located on a small hill right at the entrance to the village. In the neighborhood of this church, there was a cemetary. I have not been able to find my grandmothers and grandfathers graves. Undoubtedly, the progress of time had prevented anybody from maintaining an indication of the location where they were laid to rest. There, I found only tombs of my oldest uncle and his wife whose name was Beran. This name proves that this place really was a cradle of my ancestors.When you entered the village, you had to cross a bridge and later on follow a narrow roadway. Hereafter, you would see well groomed houses and gardens just like we had the chance to see in all preceding villages we were passing through. At the end of this highway, our favorite cottage was situated which was connected with a long stable and barn by a long wall. In front of the house, you could see a great variety of flowerbeds, and behind them, a fenced orchard with many apple trees and tall cherry trees. They all had very rich tops full of ripe red fruits. In the backyard, you could observe large grain and potato fields which were not providing an easy survey. On the pond, you would frequently see a gaggle of snow-white geese. In fact, all this was precisely so as my father used to tell me, when he was still alive and kicking..
We did not go inside the house, because our relatives were not at home at that time. Still, I have some photographs, which we had taken at that time. They will remind us of the times which we spent in that colorful village where my deceased father was born.Translated by Charles Opatrny
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