Welcome back to our exclusive translation from the 1934 edition of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Since there are significant unresolved issues surrounding the copyright laws and ownership based on those laws, all the post-1923 editions are not online nor digitally reproduced in full anywhere, as the pre-1923 editions are, for example at ACASA. As a result, this makes these editions even harder to read, find, etc.
So enjoy today’s continuation of our exquisitely detailed story of John Zajíc!
If you missed Installment #1 you can click here to catch up. If you missed Installment #2 you can click here to read it. Plus if you missed our History Primer for 1934 you can click here to read our short scene-setter, which explains the world of our ancestors 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)
At that point, his brother, Franz Josef I, became angry with his friend Pius IX and he drove the priests from the schools. We Czechs had a good time, because we did not have any Czech nobility that would support the national school and our nation embraced this driving away of the priests with both hands. A national school was founded.
My father was a strong supporter of the priesthood. In spite of that, he wanted to send me to school, since it was only half an hour away, however, the priest changed his mind. Supposedly, I was too old and he ordered the director and teacher Pechold to give me a final diploma. At that time I was eleven years old. My father was happy about it and so was the deacon, when told that they had taken one child away from the national school! Oh Lord, forgive them.
I did have a mother, but because I came into the world when she was already fifty years old, perhaps she was just too depressed. She did not love me. She never took me onto her lap nor did she caress my hair nor ever say to me one kind word as I saw in the case of other mothers. That is the reason why I was often sorry about being born and I became a solitary person. Bands of village children would approach me, but I always stayed apart. I was already ten years old, and yet I did not have any shoes or clothes. My parents were the whole day at work, and so I was walking, hungry, throughout the village. One time during the winter, my mother took me in the evening to a mill to pull feathers from quills. There, three children of the miller took a liking to me. They were of school age. That is the moment when there was a turn in my sad life. From that time on early in the morning, I always went to the mill. I was cleaning. I was polishing. I was getting the children ready for school. The house lady was very kind to me. When I sent the children to school I went to gather pigeons [for the meal], and I would take the adz to the smith for sharpening. The adzes were used to groove the millstones. I would go to fetch beer for the milling staff, and so I became an essential person in the Rozkošský mill. My eyes were always fixed on the beautiful and kind house lady. In the spring, the house lady gave me work taking to the pasture 110 geese, and caring for them. She bought my first outfit. What a joy, an outfit from Russian flax material.
To take a hundred geese to a pasture with three brooks, and with wheat seeded all around can be done only by an energetic young boy who grew up near a fish pond. Geese are very fidgety creatures, and they can be understood only by the person who raises them. When the geese season was done, what now with the boy? I was of weak stature and I was not good for journey work.
It was the priest who decided. He will become a shoemaker. He wrote to his colleague in Svojšice and he got me a place with a shoemaker, V. Šultys. I took the job at the age of eleven and a half and I was learning for four years and three months.”
Don’t miss a word of this fabulous biography as we continue tomorrow! This is one of our best, most highly detailed stories! You can sign up for automatic notifications of our new posts by simply going to our home page with a click here, then scroll to the bottom, and sign up! Very easy and FREE!
Onward To Our Past®