Monday, May 25, 2009

The key to the future is the past...

Growing up I took for granted (and complained tirelessly about) the bi-annual reunions and family get-togethers characteristic of my mom's side of the family. They are the Czech side of the family, the older generation being the grandchildren of the first of our family to come across the ocean to America: land of the free, home of the brave.
My ancestors made gun powder for the emporor at a place called Brandys nad Labem. They came from a small town where unfortunately the people living there now are as poor of farmers as they were in the early 19th century when my great, great, great? grandfather came to America. All the young people have moved out and the town is dieing. And my only key to knowing my past is through the generation that is sadly (and not exactly slowly) getting older. I feel now so compelled to talk to them, to learn about them, their lives, and everything else that the child/teenager me never cared to learn.
Yesterday was a graduation party for my cousin Grace and I reconnected with family I have barely (if at all) talked to since my wedding. I talked to some people that I never talked to before. Heck, I didn't even know most of their names. My Great Aunt Evelyn explained to me how to make kolache, a traditional Czech pastry that has always intimidated me a bit. And the time I spent talking, wasn't long enough to learn all I wanted to know. I am comforted to know its in my blood. Our generation is the legacy of the farmers who came to America to make a new life. A gift I daily take for granted. I so often forget the sacrifice of my forefathers to risk all and the multitudes of veterans who gave all so that we might not have to worry about food on the table, safety leaving (and being in) our homes, and futures for our children... the next generation. On memorial day and always, it important to remember where we came from that we might not take for granted the countless gifts of others... that provided our freedom.

3 comments:

Wendle said...

It is really awesome that you have the chance to learn about your family. I wish I knew more about our story. I know that my Great Grandfather is Czech and was the first to be born in America. Other than that the story dies..Enjoy and learn all that you can!

Wendle said...

P.S.- Isabelle is so adorable!

Clare said...

Yeah it is awesome... but I wish I hadn't waited so long to care!! Hope you are all doing well!