In a traditional Czech children's story a pauper, named Honza, leaves his wretched little house to search the whole wide world for a fair princess to marry, and to receive the kingdom as a dowry. Our story is no fairytale but a reality, sometimes harsh, and it's outcome is a total reverse of the above story.
Our hero is well known to all of us: Brother Edmund Teyrovsky, who was born into a wealthy Prague family on June 6, 1921 with reasonably certain bright future ahead of him. His father, a chemical engineer, owned a chain of 100 dry cleaning establishments in Prague, so he could easily finance Edmund's higher education. Unfortunately, Mr. Teyrovsky, sr. perished in a fire and explosion at his plant when his youngest son, Edmund, was only 13 years old.
After finishing the Secondary School at Smetanka, Prague, he applied for admittance at Charles University, with major in Business Administration. Being the first student in Prague who never brought home a lower grade than an A, he qualified without any problem. Under the clouds of WWII he could finish just the first year when Hitler ordered all institutes of higher education closed. Some students were arrested and all others were forced to work for the Nazi war machine. Not having a lazy bone in his body, Edmund was never afraid of physical work and soon found his place at late father's plant in Vinohrady. A minor, at 17 years of age, he was the only one of his family willing and able to manage the factory, after being granted adult status by a court.
Following the end of war, Edmund headed back to school, where he met the love of his life and married Georgina in 1947.
Then the Communist Party grabbed the political power, nationalized Teyrovsky's dry cleaning and dyeing factory and 100 shops on February 25,1948, as were all the plants with more than 50 employees. Barely nine months after their wedding day they decided there was no future for them and a Damocles' sword of likely incarceration hanging over their heads.
March 11, 1948 was the day when all the securities and comfort of their former life disappeared into thin air. Dramatic border crossing, shock of living conditions they were thrown into required strong will and deep sacrifices. No money, no prospect of work, housing in the former concentration camps, cold showers, scarce food of substandard quality available once a day at best, no privacy, eating utensils nonexistent, empty cans served as cups and plates. This was the bottom of misery, and any way out was a good way.
The political situation was not encouraging, either. The Soviets closed access to Berlin, tensions were growing, they were in the midst of dramatic actions - every minute an US plane, loaded with supplies for Berlin, flew over their heads, the Third World War III and invasion of Germany by the Red Army seemed ever more possible. It was an easy guess what would have happened to the refugees from behind the Iron Curtain. Teyrovskys were faces with a difficult choice of emigrating to Brazil, Argentina, Equator or Australia. English speaking Australia offered them the best opportunity for starting a new life.
So they sailed across the ocean, bound by a two year contract to accept any menial, hard work offered to them. Edmund landed a back breaking job - hauling heavy carts of freshly made bricks.
After this experience the new job at a Melbourne Mental Asylum seemed almost heavenly. Knowledge of chemistry landed him logically in the laundry room, now a boss over twenty helpers, mental patients. Edmund jokingly referred to himself as "the top nut".
Ever industrious, Teyrovskys decided to tempt their luck and try to emigrate to the United States. Moving to Sydney seemed to offer the best chance for faster processing of emigration papers, but the move replaced one set of problems with another. The strict rent control had a devastating effect on the housing supply in Sydney, there were no apartments available for rent, but Teyrovskys found a solution for this problem too: they bought a small store with living quarters on the second floor. The apartment went for a ridiculously low monthly payment - just 1 $!
First daughter, Veruska, was born in Sydney, the year was 1954. After, two, three moves from store to store, in April 1955 they were on the way to the promised land - U.S.A. and Helenka made her parents happy being born in San Francisco, 1956.
A good fabric dyer needs a lot of expertise to be the best in business and Edmund, being a perfectionist, wanting to do his job as well as it can be done, enrolled for study at the San Francisco University. Despite the grueling schedule - three years of 7AM to 3PM at work, 4 to 10PM in school, Edmund graduated "Summa cum laude" in 1963, now a fresh engineer of Chemistry.
With another hard start under their belt; for Edmund - ten years of work in a fabricdyeing factory and for the family - frugal living with every spare dollar going in the bank so they could finally buy their own factory, Alvarado Dye House, in Union City. Their dream came true. Diligent work and a lot of expertise help them to grow from 2 to 35 employees, prospering until 1986 when they decided to set themselves free to travel and sold their business.
Almost two years ago Georgina & Edmund moved to the Independent living place at Baywood Court in Castro Valley, where they spent happy time together without having to worry about shopping, cooking and gardening.
Whether they lived in Australia or in the U.S.A., their first steps always led to the Sokol Hall. Not just to passively participate in the activities, but frequently they were the driving force of our organization. Volunteer work, event organizing, serving on the Board of Directors and substantial financial contributions, all were Teyrovsky's way of saying 'thank you' for the opportunity to keep alive and well the "Home away from home" for Czech & Slovak emigrants. Let us use this opportunity to express our thanks to a man, who lived by the ideals of Sokol, as formulated by the "Founding fathers" - Tyrs & Fugner many generations ago. We shall not forget his contribution to the smooth running of our Sokol Unit and hope that his example will inspire our younger members to follow in his steps and find their reward in working for the common good.Zdeněk Vrňák with thanks
to Mrs. Georgina Teyrovsky
for sharing the story of their lives.
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