Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The Old Country
Some of my favorite stories are ones my grandmother told about growing up in Hungary, what she called "The Old Country". She came to America at the age of 6, but life in the Lower East Side of New York City in 1900 was so harsh, they returned to Hungary and my great-grandfather came back to America alone. He sent for his wife and four daughters once he'd gotten settled in Indiana.
One of the best stories involved a band of gypsies camped across the river from the family farm in Pest. Grandma crossed the river without permission and joined the gypsies in a meal. They roasted a pig they'd found floating down the river. The punishment my grandmother received wasn't so much for joining the gypsies as for having eaten meat plucked from the river.
The circa 1880 photograph is from the Library of Congress and the caption reads "Happy Romanies".