MARCH 3, 2007

 

The weather was constantly changing every minute. One moment the sun was out and then it started to rain. We had nice spring temperatures with daytime highs around 45F/7C.

 

 

After breakfast, we decided to take a walk up Calvary Hill so we can take photos of Presov. The red buildings along the path going up the hill are ďStations Of The CrossĒ.

 

 

There is a church at the top of the hill and a cross with the crucified Jesus on it.

 

 

We had Dianne take this photo of us when we reached to top of the hill. In the background is Presov.

 

 

 

 

This is the view of Presov from the top of the hill.

 

One of our goals when we went to Slovakia was to see Anna, whose husband, Jan, died last November. Janís father (who is also named Jan) is my grandfatherís brother. Anna is the only person alive who remembers my grandfatherís visit to Slovakia in 1958.

 

 

Our first stop was to Dulova Ves near Presov. Note how it is now raining. We believe this location, shown in the photo, is the place where my grandfather, Stefan, was born, but this is not the house he lived in. We donít know what happened to the building that was here when he was born. Jan Miklus built a new house (where Anna lives now), so maybe they sold the old house, later it was destroyed and replaced by a new house.

 

 

Across the road from the house is this stream. It is likely that my grandfather fished in this stream.

 

 

Near the place where my grandfather was born is this cemetery where many of the Miklus family are buried. This is grandfather Janís grave. In the photo standing with me is Dusan, Denisaís father - my second cousin. Grandfather Jan is Dusanís father.

 

 

Annaís house is a few blocks away from the place where my grandfather was born and the cemetery. She and grandfather Jan lived here in the downstairs part of the house. They used to live upstairs but moved to the lower floor so they didnít have to climb so many stairs. On the other side of this wall is their bedroom and kitchen.

 

Anna wasnít home when we went to visit her house. She was in a hospital in Presov for treatment of high blood pressure.

 

 

This is my first moment meeting Anna. She doesnít speak any English. I still feel very emotional looking at this photo. There is a smile on my face but my heart was breaking. Anna didnít look well.

 

Her eyes were opened unevenly and her face looked like she had fallen. There was a large black and blue mark on her hand. We were told she fell on the IV needle in her hand. Her mouth was opened lopsided as if one side was slightly paralyzed. Her face looked like she had suffered a stroke. We were assured that she suffered no stroke and that this was related to a breeze through an open window. This I donít understand.

 

 

In this photo showing Dianne giving Anna a hug, you see in the back (left to right) Pavol (boyfriend of Silvia also called Palo), Silvia (sister of Denisa), Denisa (my cousin), and me with our bears. Palo, Silvia, and Denisa all speak English.

 

We were told that Anna was still grieving over the loss of her husband, Jan, and thatís why she was crying. She was very sorry she couldnít have been home to meet us so she could have made me pirohy (spelled pierogy in America) Ė a favorite Slovak dish of mine.

 

 

We moved from Annaís hospital room to this empty room so we could visit and talk without disturbing other patients.

 

 

Anna loved holding the bears. She gave each bear several hugs and kisses during our visit.

 

 

Anna continued to talk in Slovak but I had no idea what she was saying. She never stopped long enough for anybody to translate. Finally, somebody told us that she was telling stories from her memory.

 

She remembered the day my grandfather Stefan arrived from America to see his brother Jan (Annaís father-in-law). They had no picture of him so they didnít know what he looked like. When the train arrived Jan Miklus (Anna's husband) went to the railway station and started calling, "Miklus, Miklus".

 

When my grandfather arrived in 1958 Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia, a communist state behind the iron curtain. Anna said, that Communists occupied land of people but didn't give anything back to the people. This made no sense to my grandfather.

 

 

Above is a photo of my grandfatherís sister, Maria (Mary), taken in 1976 when she lived in southern New Jersey. Maria married Jan Sabol while they were both still living in Czechoslovakia (called Austro-Hungary at the time). After they married, Jan Sabol came to America. About a year later (we believe) Maria came to America to join her husband and start a family.

 

Anna told us that Mariaís handwriting was terrible. Anna said that she was the only one who could read it.