Popular name brings back memories
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- As I was checking Facebook for messages, I came across a greeting card for Anna from the group Czechoslovak Friends on Facebook. The greeting card wished well to all the girls and women who carry this beautiful name.
In the Czech calendar each day is dedicated to a certain name, known as “svatek” or saint’s day. July 26th is Anna’s day. The name Anna has a very special meaning to me. I write about it in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west.”©
Our family celebrated Anna’s day to honor three great women: Grandmother Anna Drabkova of Vizovice, aunt and godmother Anna Chudarkova of Zlin and paternal aunt Anna Tomankova of Otrokovice.
However, not everyone thought they were great. But, time changes everything.
I spent all the summers with grandma Anna and my grandpa Joseph; first at their old dwelling “chalupa” near the river Lutoninka and later at their ranch no.111 on a hill.
Grandma Anna accompanied me to the first grade at the Vizovice Elementary School in mid 1960s. At the time my parents and brother Vas were in Sudan, Africa. Dad Vaclav Konecny was teaching physics & mathematics at the University of Khartoum.
Wallachian town Vizovice was a paradise during formative years for the future writer. My first memory goes back to Vizovice. I remember chasing after our neighbor farmer Vlada for whatever reason, as I fell on the crushed asphalt path leading to the river Lutoninka and the wheat fields.
I hurt my knee. A little trickle of blood came out of the scratched skin. I couldn’t get up and I desperately reached out to Vlada.
“Wait for me, wait for me,” I screamed.
Farmer Vlada kept on walking. I finally got up, turned around and ran back to the “chalupa.”
“Babiiiii, babii, I am hurt,” I whined.
“That’s nothing,” said grandpa Joseph without looking up from the sewing machine that he was just repairing.
“Look here,” I cried pointing at my first wound.
Anna bent down to me and patted me on the head and then on my hurt knee.
“Come on little one,” she soothed me.
Grandma Anna was the youngest of seven children. Some of them died prematurely. She was taking care of her two single brothers, farmers Frank and Joseph. The brothers owned the family field called “Hrabina” close to the famous plum brandy plant “Jelinek.”
The field was a fraction of what they used to own prior to the 1948 socialization of private businesses and farms.
Both grandparents spent endless hours working in the fields after work and on weekends. They worked at the local shoe factory Svedrup. Grandpa Joseph as the lead machine maintenance man.
Anna was a seamstress, who also worked at Svedrup until she got a heart attack.
That day, the family forgot to pick me up from kindergarten.
To be continued….
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