Our fabulous 1850s story of the Moravian Czechs in America continues today! Our exclusive translation from the pages of the rare and hard-to-find Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář, is a great one!
This is an amazing story, a view of the lives and times of Czech immigrants to America in the 1850s as told by the wonderful Czech-American author and newspaperman, Hugo Chotek.
Only here and only from Onward To Our Past® will you find the number of translations we have posted, and continue to post! Enjoy today’s installment and all our posts as they are free for you to read and enjoy!
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®
“Truly, I could not be more grateful to you, for this choice.” he said to his friend. “And now with gusto let’s start to build, so that once again I could be beneath my own roof. Before Christmas Eve some kind of a temporary hovel should stand here, since from time immemorial in our family the eve has not been celebrated anywhere else, but on our own ground and beneath our own roof. This is what I want this year also. “
“What are you thinking about, my friend,” retorted Lešovský. “At our place we have enough space, and we will decorate the tree together.”
“Leave me with my willful wish. You know me, and you know that I act on my decisions, and with good forethought. I am not a dreamer, however, I would not like to spend the day and evening anyplace else, but in my own home. Call it quirkiness, or piety towards old traditions, you cannot, however, talk me into something else. The heating stove, as well as the kitchen stove, and the table and chairs we will easily transport from your place, and we will take them the next day back to you. And Vojtěch, then, can already stay here.”
“And what if the north wind comes?” Lešovský was afraid.
“What north wind?”
“An ice storm, driven by a northern blizzard, at a speed of 40 miles an hour. Dear brother, you do not even understand what an evil visitor it is, and how it can surprise us and blow through us. When it arrives, the thermometer can go from 65 degrees in a short time far below the freezing point and woe to a person or a farm animal, if it catches him in the open prairie.”
“Bah, bah” said Bláha, expressing his opinion without concern. “We will build a temporary, however, sturdy cabin here between the trees, and with our stove we will warm it up so that your blizzard will be glad that it does not melt here. Hopefully, it will not turn over our cabin.”
“That would not be for the first time, “ replied with concern Lešovský. “And then you will be here so alone.”
“Ha, ha,” laughed Bláha. “The Bláhas have never been alone at home on Christmas Eve. Every time there have been several guests, for whom there was always prepared a special and loving surprise. This year it will be similar.”
“First of all, the Černý family will be here. They came with us, and they are staying for the current time at the Skřiváneks. After supper then will come the neighbors Klimiček, Mucha and Šesták and then you with your own people. Isn’t it so?”
“That all sounds good, and the surprise?”
“And I will tell you this, if you can keep your mouth shut. I want to celebrate the Christmas Eve festivities together with the engagement of our children. Your Vojtěch asked me for it and I already promised, knowing that for my beloved Anna this will be the most appreciated present for Christmas.”
“Just take a look at the young guy!”, fulminated Lešovský. “But I agree with it. The children love each other. Let them belong then to each other.” –
The Day of Christmas Eve arrived. Standing on the Bláha section was a voluminous, but also sturdy cabin between strong trees, in which Mrs. Bláhová together with her daughter, and with the help of Marie Lešovská were cooking from early morning.”
Join us tomorrow to learn about this 1850s Czech Christmas in America! Follow along as we get to be a part of the Christmas party with these wonderful Czechs!
Onward To Our Past®