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Products of this store will be shipped directly from China to your country. Vanderburgh, was paid for his services by means of two imperial gallons of clear grappa. My middle given name is his. I am also the writer of the text, carefully presented in the unique way Zarah Petri speaks.

All events are true, but because of the character of some of those events the names of several family members have been changed. I love this place, every inch of it. Many families in my village talk of leaving, some preferring to go to the United States passing through Ellis Island in New York, or some choosing Canada passing through Halifax Harbour, to seek a new chance away from the war, so they said, but that is just an excuse because our town of Becse in Hungary is not affected by the war, our town being so minor.

Who of importance would want to come to Becse?

John Leigh Walters – The Edmonton Book Store

The women a little more wary, women being always a little more wary than men, because of childbirth. My grandmother, my Oma, the smartest person I have known in my life, then as now, hearing of all these big stories of success in the New World, a logical thinker was she, saying that many who leave Becse will taste bitter bread, the way she would describe it, later proving to be correct. I will draw for you the design of my Hungarian village. It looked like this, with all the farms shaped like a slice of pie and the houses at the tip, if you saw it from the sky:.

There was wisdom in this. Even as a child I thought this was a smart way to build a town. This was a town located in the country, giving everyone living there the best of both town and country. All neighbours had a reliance on each other in the farm harvest, passing out help whenever asked for, doing so in lieu of actual cash and helping anyone who asked, building up a personal account of good will, much as a bank account but this one being real, being help when it is needed.

So, none felt poor or insecure, two of the most important things in life.

But it is asked, how come so many Hungarians from the village of Becse left for Canada and fewer to the United States by proportion? Well, many went to Pittsburgh in the great state of Pennsylvania, everyone knows that, even a famous son of such playing football, the surname Namath being common to Becse, Joe too is everywhere.

So, you ask in repeat: how did it happen that so many Hungarians went to Canada and something fewer to Pittsburgh by proportion? Well, I would say one man is responsible, and he is Count Paul Oscar Esterhazy and he was doing such for improper reasons. He was what is called a Judas goat. Here is what happened: The Count advertised by post office billing boards the chance for families to leave Hungary and go to the province of Saskatchewan in the country of Canada, where they would surely prosper. The land is so rich he said, that the corn grew to the sky, the rivers so thick with fish you could scoop them up by hand.

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There would be opportunities to earn real money he said, not just trading farm goods for hard goods as in Becse, but putting real cash in the pocket. To explain further, Count Paul Oscar was born to the wealthiest family in Hungary. Being rich, well he must also be smart and that was the general feeling about rich people at the time. Well, we all know much better now, some of the dumbest people in the world being also the richest.

And you can just put the Count in there. But I am calling him a Judas goat because these are the only words to suitably describe him, influencing the men of small towns, breaking up families. Imagine, when I was just nine years old I was required to wave goodbye to my mother and father as the steam train pulled out from our little town in Hungary, my mother and father waving out the window back to us, leaving their four children behind, promising someday later to return for us.

Months later he took me aside to apologize for his behaviour, an apology not required since there is just a cup of brandy and a cloth tourniquet twisted tight to cut off the blood circulation, to reduce the pain and to keep from bleeding to death. The Count advertised throughout the country, and the townsmen of Becse, my beautiful Hungarian village, bought the biscuit so as to speak, the Count saying he has successfully built a new Hungarian town in the province of Saskatchewan, which he claimed is even better than Pittsburgh.

And he named the new town after himself, calling it Esterhazy, by his family name out of improper proudness, I think. It is still on the map of Canada if you look at the province of Saskatchewan, to the eastern part near the Manitoba border you can still see Esterhazy, the town started by the Count, who said by bringing Hungarian families to Esterhazy, he would be bringing a European culture to the New World, which he said was only full of Indians and no culture at all.

Here is why I so despise him: none in Hungary knew so at the time, but the Count was being paid money by the government of the Dominion of Canada for immigrants to come, Canada needing people to populate the western part of the Country, using cash to slow the flow to Pittsburgh, where so many Hungarians went. Yes, you may not believe, but the Count was on the Canadian Dominion Government payroll as a paid immigration agent not revealing the real reason of his interest, saying it was for culture and a desire to be helpful, but it was for the money, breaking up perfectly happy families, parents going away first, saying they would pick up their kids next year, some never picking up their kids ever.

Many families were broken up permanently by this, not being able to save enough cash in the new world to sail back across the Atlantic and then collect their children. Some families broken up this way remain so, even to this day. So, now hearing all the facts on it, perhaps you too might agree that Count Paul Oscar Esterhazy was indeed a Judas, leading people astray, trading families for money, just a slave trader in finesse.

You might be surprised at that one! It came out later that the Esterhazy family in a Budapest newspaper accused Count Paul Oscar of being a phoney Count, a pretender, improperly using the Esterhazy name. Not to be thrown from balance by such an accusation, arguing the matter in public the Count claimed that he was indeed of royal blood but fathered out of wedlock by the Crown Prince of Hungary. This was solemnly reported to him by his mother, he said, who was the other party involved, passing this information to him on the occasion of his twenty-first birthday, his coming of age.

In this public statement, he said he had remained silent on such an important matter all these years out of a respectfulness to the Esterhazy name. But now challenged in public it was necessary for him to bring the chance fathering out. My Oma later told me that the Count might be correct about this chance fathering since everyone knew that the Crown Prince, the alleged father, was often seen with ladies of the cabaret classes. This would include the pale and comely Widow Boros, wife of the late Jonas Boros, the celebrated Hungarian novelist.

And too bad for the alleged father, by the fact that there were very few birth controls available at that time except by retreat or by safes, and these safes were very poor products indeed, made from sheep intestine, the end tied with fisher thread and not very effective. So, all evidence in, is the Count a Judas goat? The train came by on Saturday and everyone in Becse showed up for it.

It was like a carnivale this was, the horses wearing their best harness, all horsemen having two sets of harness, one for work and a fancier set for special events, this being a special event, the shiny, best harnesses were seen everywhere. A little platform is built, the mayor standing on it and addressing everyone, talking about the adventure of those leaving for Canada, taking the opportunity to display his importance, him saying how he personally knew Count Esterhazy, ignoring the facts of the matter and telling everyone what a fine family this was, name-dropping in other words like any other politician, puffing himself up, a matter of self importance.

So, the whole town was treating it like a celebration, none thinking that I and my sisters and brother were about to become as orphans. My mother and father, the centre of attraction now, barely paid attention to us with so much commotion on that day, all wanting to congratulate them on their departure and wishing them a great adventure, each being envious in a way, but each also being glad that they will remain here in Becse, where there are perfect certainties.

And the few money lenders of the town were there too; every town having a few lenders and always present in case other citizens watching would be interested in this adventure to Esterhazy in Canada thousands of miles away and across an ocean. Emigrants would need to borrow money, and there were those who were willing to loan forints , in the belief that money would be easily obtained in the New World, and paid back in full and some extra, in the form of interest, showing a certain profit.

A Very Capable Life: The Autobiography of Zarah Petri

Terrified, I think she was, at what was taking place, presenting a full break from her life in Becse, a trip across a scary ocean at the age of just twenty and nine, leaving her four children behind, a break from her mother, my Oma, leaving the place of her perfect childhood. I might not have been upset. But this was surely greater than a trip to Budapest, the whole town in attendance, but it was quickly over in just about an hour. No one said anything in the house for almost a week. Usually, we were a very talkative household. He was aware that thousands of miles are now between him and his daughter, my mother, a love of his life.

Not as it is now, there were no aeroplanes at that time, no quick travel. Opa had good reason to believe that he had seen his daughter for the last time. And Oma grieved in a different way.

Our Lives: Diary, Memoir, and Letters Series

She cooked. And for at least a month after their departure our everyday meals became as rich as only our Sunday meals once were. Crime Sep 21, Local Sep 20, WhatsOn Sep 21, Food and Drink Sep 21, But not one of them was as interesting as his mother, he says. Tags: Living. Your display name will be shown beside your comments. If you haven't provided a display name, your first name will be displayed instead. You can choose how your name appears in your account.

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