Continuing the wonderful story from the pages of the 1934 edition of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
This unique story, titled “The Sentimental Story of a Forgotten Immigrant” is shaping up to be one of our best and most interesting! If you missed installment #1 of this story you can simply click here and catch right up!
Enjoy this fascinating biography and take in the amazing insights into life of many of the early Czech immigrant settlers in the United States!
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®
“The Sentimental Story of a Forgotten Immigrant.
From the Life of Antonín Wíša. For Kalendář Amerikán written by Antonín Klobása.”
Antonín Wíša (Continued)
“After two hours of riding along an impassable path through an old growth forest they arrived in front of a small log cabin that had one room and one kitchen. At that point, young Antonín’s heart probably fell into his shoes. Wherever he looked he saw nothing except for trees, tree stumps and clouds. –It took his breath away. So this is the famous farm of 80 acres? Nevertheless, he did not have an opportunity to think any further. The whole family came out to welcome him, embracing him happily, and the old lady Burešová kissed him with indescribable happiness to be reunited with a former Choceň neighbor. Of course he had to step inside, where there was already a rich table prepared.
During the happy conversation, our guest forgot his earlier surprise. He was now welcome in a merry company and it was indicated to him that he could stay as long as he might wish. What else could he do? He therefore accepted their hospitality temporarily, and took up the work with the others; and very shortly he learned how to fell trees and prepare fields.
His company was pleasant and was composed of parents, three sons and one daughter.
The only decoration in the hut were several handguns hanging on the walls. The crawl space under the roof was accessible through an opening in the ceiling to which was affixed a ladder. Beside the latter was Christ’s picture under which the old Bureš would pray on his knees. About 50 steps beyond the kitchen there was a small shack for cattle and beside it, there was a small haystack.
The deer hunting here was very easy. When, in the winter, a lot of snow fell and the deer did not have pasture, they came to the haystack and the old Bureš would shoot them from the window. There was always an abundant supply of meat. During the summer, squirrels were shot and there was an abundance of them, and because Bureš was a practical tanner he used all the pelts for winter clothing, so that during the winter the boys looked like Robinson Crusoe.
At that time there was no Czech reading material in America. They did not know English, so they knew very little about America. Caledonia and Racine were their America. Their knowledge did not reach any further, this is evidenced by the fact that when my father was preparing them for the journey to America a certain Mr. Mazánek from Caledonia wrote to him to have them bring with them shoe nails and other smaller things because they supposedly could not be bought in America.
However, let us return to our Antonín Wíša who got caught at the Bureš’s and was industriously advancing in farming knowledge. However, besides the sharp axe there was another attraction for him—the beautiful eyes of the shapely Nanynka Burešová with whom he fell very much in love and by whom his love was returned. After a longer time they expressed their reciprocal true love to the parents and they asked for their permission to get married. However, that was like a fire on the roof. Old Bureš got very angry and running throughout the room he was constantly screaming: “No, no. The good lord would have to punish me for this if I permitted my child to marry such a godless person who never gets onto his knees to pray. That would be a sin calling up to the heavens!” All the begging of the young people was in vain and the old Bureš would not budge.”
Tomorrow we continue with this wonderful story and continue to follow the life and times of this Czech immigrant, his family, and fellow Czech compatriots! Will love conquer religious differences or not?
Onward To Our Past®