Today we are pleased to bring you the conclusion of the autobiography of Johan (John) Zajíc, as told to us, and thankfully preserved by the editors of Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
This has been one of the more marvelously detailed Czech immigrant stories we have encountered so far and it is terrific! The good news is that while the Zajíc story concludes there are more biographies in this article, which we have also translated! So stay with Onward To Our Past® since we are the only ones bringing you these stories in English!
Enjoy today’s installment!
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. (Final Installment)
Our sons warned us not to work anymore, that we did not need it. Also the doctors were warning us, but we did not know how to heed them, since from our childhood we were used to working. Work made the time pass. I knew that I had an incurable sickness. I provided for my wife by making her the universal inheritor of all my possessions and I was not trying to escape death. I was doing all the work with the horses. I thought that death would encounter me most likely during hard work on a machine, but I was mistaken.
On the 14th of September 1931 I was cutting the last of the wheat. The wheat was quite heavy and the sheaf tying machine was repeatedly clogged, since it could not pull such an amount of wheat up on its elevator. It was necessary to stop the team of horses repeatedly and pull the plug in pieces out, which is very difficult work. I patiently endured it with happy thoughts because it was the last day of cutting that year. In the evening when I was going home, I looked back at this piece of field, which was nicely green with the wild growth on the fence line. I told myself: “Wait, tomorrow, I will take care of you. (I will plough you over),” but I did not plow it over!
During the night about 3 A.M., I got up, but I barely made 5 steps and a supernatural force without any prior warning smashed me sharply against the floor and I did not know any more about myself. My wife was aroused from her sleep and she got scared. She wanted to get me to the couch, however, it was not possible, and when the neighbor called by phone both sons, they got me onto a bed where I awoke, a fact that I regret to this day. The stroke struck half of my body. From that time, what I have suffered bodily and spiritually cannot be described.
On the day of the 24th of June 1932 my dear wife got sick and 38 days after that she died. Now I have lost everything. How I felt when they took her away from me to the hospital and when they were putting her into the ground while I remained alone, a cripple hit through half of my body by a stroke, alone and alone. I learned how to eat using my left hand. I drag one leg behind myself. I have a little control over my right hand. My doctors declared that it can be cured and it really does improve. I was taken care of at home by my dutiful wife with whom I lived undisturbed in wedded harmony for 49 years. She was suffering so much from my accident that 9 months after it she got gravely ill and even though she received special care in the hospital from a specialist there was no helping her and she died. She lived to the age of 69 years.
Now I am cared for by the wife of our youngest son, John, born Canadian and their two small children; my grandchildren make me feel happy.
And now I am waiting for the next thing.
This ends the story of Johan (John) Zajíc as preserved for us in the pages of the 1934 annual edition of the wonderful Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Tomorrow we continue this wonderful article with a new biography of a new Czech immigrant and his family!
Onward To Our Past®