Thursday, May 15, 2014

Czech it out!

Just after World World I, my father's father's parents left their respective villages in the Bohemian part of the new nation of Czechoslovakia. They traveled alone across the Atlantic Ocean, up through the port of Galveston, and into the heart of Texas. There they met and fell in love. They had four boys, whom they taught to speak English and love their country enough to fight for it during World War II. One of those boys grew up and fell in love with a certain nursing student, the daughter of a farmer. They got married--in secret, because nursing students weren't supposed to be married--and eventually had two boys and two girls. One of those boys went to Germany and, while studying in Munich, met and fell in love with a girl from Maine. Those two eventually moved to Texas, where yours truly was born. My two younger brothers and I are 1/4 Czech. Growing up, we learned about our heritage from our family and through Sokol, a gymnastics and fitness organization that was started in 1862 as a democratic organization against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. My paternal grandmother in particular has conducted an amazing amount of research on our family trees. Over the year, she and my grandfather bought authentic Czech costumes, called kroje, to wear at festivals and the like. I have just inherited them! So here I am going through the big box of blouses, ribbons, skirts and petticoats. Dear Husband even consented to wear a hat and do a little polka with me in the living room. Yip, yip!

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