Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 2)

As we drove along the road into Kučín, I had so many thoughts swirling around in my head.

What would I see? How would the Alzo family members react to my visit? Would there be a problem with communication because I did not speak Slovak except for a very few words and phrases? But all of the questions took a back seat to the overwhelming joy I felt. Just being in the birthplace of my paternal grandfather was a magical experience. I thought about the soil under my feet where he once stepped, the paths he may have taken from home to the fields, to church, and finally out of the village when he left for America. I thought about how some 100 years ago (1910), he was probably finalizing his arrangements for that journey (he arrived at the port of New York in October), and it literally gave me chills.

Along the road to the Alzo homestead, the first thing I noticed was the church. It is in the center and painted a "can't miss" bright yellow, that showed off the white steeple.

Photo by Lisa A. Alzo

Robert parked the car and Renata's parents came out to greet us. I was warmly welcomed by my cousin Jan. He shares the same name as my father (John). I noticed right away that they also had many similar features--especially the blue eyes and a sharp sense of humor.

Photo by Andy Rabatin

I felt instantly connected to him. Here was my WDYTYA moment and I was absorbing every bit of it. However, in that moment wished my father could have been there too because I know they would have enjoyed visiting together--talking and joking. But as I have learned, sometimes even the best family history moments can be bittersweet.


to be continued...

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