We continue today with our exceptionally detailed story from the pages of the marvelous annual volumes of the Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Czech researchers, historians, and academicians agree on the fact Amerikán Národní Kalendář provided the very best repository of first-person histories of early Czech immigrants to America — and we are lucky to not only have found them, but also to be able to bring them to you in English for the very first time!
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Enjoy today’s installment as we continue our story from Volume 57, published in 1934.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: LVII, Year: 1934, Pages: 187-213
FROM THE MEMORIES OF OLD CZECH SETTLERS IN AMERICA
Translated by Layne Pierce and Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce
©Onward To Our Past®
John Zajíc, Sr. Edgerton, Alberta, Canada. (Continued)
Before that the parish priest used to get their chaplain from a poor lineage; however, that poor person had a bad position. I saw how he had to wait outside when Miss Tony was feeding the chickens in the corridor until they got their fill. I used to think: “Oh dear priest you have it even worse than me!” Whatever lasts a long time becomes too much. Mr. Š. found it too much and he applied for a transfer, which he received very soon. The glorious consistory responded favorably and sent the happy consistory priest to Svojšice. However, it did not work the same with him. Almost every day the new chaplain would bring to the priest’s home some beggar (whom the pastor could not even stand, even though he was from a begging family himself). When the cook said: “Why are you bringing him here to my place? I don’t have anything to give to him!” the priest answered: “But, but, give him my lunch. I had lunch with the Count.”
The new chaplain was charged at the consistory by three priests. Supposedly, he was drinking too much and not coming home by nine o’clock. The Count himself went to the proceedings. When he came back he told the young chaplain: “Do you know what the accusation was? — That you drink too much! And I know that it is not so, because you have only two kegs of beer for free. Therefore, so that you could drink more I am adding two kegs. The old parish priest was so insulted by this happening that he asked to be retired.
Often in Kouřim I saw how the tall Miss Tony would take the short retiree to the church or from the church.
As the old saying tells us, nothing in the world lasts forever, and also my suffering ended. In Kouřim I was proclaimed by the shoemaking trade as a trade worker. I was preparing to go for the trade journey. My whole capital was a twenty kreutzer coin and fifteen kreutzers of debt to the mayor, because of my first workbook.
I sat off for Žabonosy at four o’clock in the morning and half an hour later I was going by the Zalešanský Mill. I was overcome by such a self-pity for being so alone in the world that I started to cry tears like peas, so much that I did not see the road, only the tears as they were falling into the dust. Oh how strong was my sorrow.
I went into the world like everyone who is starting out, but in my little bag, I did not have any filled sweet buns [buchty] from my dear mother, only a few shoe maker’s needles, a shirt, a coat made of a rough denim material with short sleeves, patent leather shoes, and a French beret for my head. Sorrow overcame me, because mother, as well as my sister, let me go into the world without a kreutzer of support and they were even laughing at me.
I went up the hill onto the imperial blacktop road and my sorrow departed. Youth – is happiness!”
Tomorrow we continue with the wonderful, life’s story of this Czech immigrant as he brings us along through his marvelous words and shares all the details of his life with us!
Onward To Our Past®