1805s America and the lives and times of Czech immigrants! What a fabulous story brought to life from the pen of Czech-American author and newspaperman, Hugo Chotek, the translation skills of Layne Pierce and Mila Saskova-Pierce, and the foresight of the pubishers of Amerikán Národní Kalendář, August Geringer. Plus we cannot ignore whomever it was that had this published almost a decade after Chotek’s passing!
We continue with our story today with installment #4 and it continues to be a wonderful window into what the lives and times of our early Czech settlers were like in America!
We think this is one of the best we have translated so far!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XLIV, Year: 1921, Pages 154-168
A Page from the Lives of American Czechs from the Fifties
Written by Hugo Chotek
Translated by Layne Pierce and Mila Saskova-Pierce
©Onward To Our Past®
“I would like to know when the darn fog will lift up. One cannot see through iteven a hundred steps. How then can one see a trans-oceanic ship miles away? I am on pins and needles. And if it were not the Bláha family that I am expecting to be on this ship, I would not have waited for such a long time, but what if they do not come? “
“Oh they will certainly come,” ardently insisted one of the young women, “since they wrote verbatim that they were sailing off on a big three mast ship ‘Victoria’, the arrival of which was announced already yesterday. Besides that they tell me also – “
“The faithful, inflamed little heart, says that on the ‘Victoria’ can be found a certain Josef Bláha, who three years ago stole the little key to my heart, and now is bringing it back to me,” laughed one of the young men. “Isn’t that so, Marie?”
The young girl blushed a deep red and having been brought into visible embarrassment, she answered: “Oh go away, you teaser! You don’t remember anything else than to tease people and make fun of them. If you ever wise up it will be a big miracle; it’s more likely that I will become a professor of philosophy – “
“A philosopher of love, Marie! This is what you are already now! You know what, I’ll bet everything that during your exam you would receive an outstanding mark in love. It is too bad that you do not give lessons. I would be the first one who would apply.”
“I would not take you as a pupil, because you have the squawking mouth of a goose, and a butterfly of a heart. True love put down its anchor only in a faithful, steady heart, warm and noble. Your heart, however, is like a sponge. It draws in easily, and even more easily, it gets squeezed out.”
“Excellent Marie! That really hit the mark. You could not have answered in a better way,” the others laughed, and Marie’s friend, Anežka Klimičková added mischievously: “He has deserved it for a long time, this Mr. Busybody.” He should have such a lesson from each one of the women and for sure he would then abandon his fluttering like a butterfly.”
The attacked man was ready to give a sharp answer when he was interrupted by the screams and jubilation coming out of hundreds of throats: “The immigrants! The boats are coming!”
Everybody was pushing as close as possible to the water. The blacks were jumping, dancing and screaming. Men were waving their hats and fur caps; women were waving their head scarves, all to welcome the new immigrants. A strong northwest wind blew the fog apart at least far enough that the sea was visible for about one mile. The sailing ship ‘Victoria’ was not yet visible since it was anchored further away in deeper waters. Instead of that, however, big transport boats were approaching the shore carrying immigrants and cargo. When the first two transport boats moored in the port and the first immigrants started to exit, the hubbub reached its zenith. One person was yelling over another. One was calling out the names of his acquaintances that he expected. Another one was welcoming with a load whoop and embracing and kissing the one they found, and others were whooping, screaming and yelling without any reason, only to prove that they were also glad that new immigrants had come. Somewhat aside, but close to the water were standing our Moravian acquaintances. They were examining intently each person who stepped onto the shore. Otherwise, however, they were behaving quietly. Only Josef Mucha, the youth who had such bad results in his playful jabs with the quick thinking and sharp witted Marie Lešovská, was impatiently shuffling his feet, and standing on his tip toes to better see over the heads of people standing in front of him the bridge, across which the immigrants were coming in. Marie Lešovská also was exhibiting great interest since her cheeks were blushing, her eyes were shining like two diamonds
, and her whole slim body was trembling in a wistful expectation. Suddenly her eyes lit up, her lips tensed and from them came forth the sound of rejoicing, “Look, there are our people!” Immediately after the powerful voice of Josef sounded: “Hi, Bláha, Skřivánek, Světlík! Come here, come here!” – “
Tomorrow we continue our wonderful story of the lives and times of Czech immigrants in America in the 1850s thanks to the writing of Hugo Chotek, the publishing by August Geringer, and the translation skills of Layne Pierce and Mila Saskova-Pierce. Only here and only from Onward To Our Past®