the 19th of May 1996
this is also a beautiful story my father told me: You see,
his father's aunt became the mother-superior in a convent in
Pecs [Elizabeth pronounded it Petsh].
you know, some years ago a student came from Hungary to
visit me here. And I was eager to enquire about that place:
Pecs. In the gardens of the convent they used to bury their
dead. And I was sure this lady was also buried there. My
grand-father's sister. But that young man was a well trained
communist because he said that place has been turned into a
development camp / training institute.
Because my grandfather loved his sister very much.
But once you go into that kind of convent, you cannot see
your relations anymore. Anyway, he was so eager to see his
sister once more." Dagmar asked, "was that the
grandfather with the dog and the Turkish cap and the
pipe?" "No no," piped Elizabeth, "this
was my father's father. 'Gruss Batshi' was my mother's
father in Nagykanizsa. So he (my father's father), in his
young age, worked out a plan to rent a house near the
convent. Where the windows of the house overlooked the
garden of the convent, you see. He achieved this, (as they
lived in Pecs anyway). The rule was that, to go into the
compound of the convent, the consent of the mother-superior
was needed. So very cleverly he trained a parrot in that way
that he flew into the garden of the convent and remained
there. So he had to go and meet the mother-superior to get
his parrot back. Even though he could only talk to her via a
screen, he spoke to his sister once again. I don't know
whether they smiled in recognition at each other, or ...
I have never seen these people again and I am so far
away, but somehow I feel connected to them.
now always my mother's family was important.
- Now, I
don't know, these people matter a lot. They come up in my
mind many a nights." Dagmar said, "I am sure there
must be still relations of your father's side alive."
Elizabeth, "somewhere. But they may also think ... or
they may not ... their own mistake. Because they have not
quite thrown them out, but considered my mother, my father
I am sorry, I don't know why I have to talk about
these things." Elizabeth concluded. "But it is
lovely to hear it all," Dagmar persisted. "And
when I have typed it down, I will come to you and read it
out, dearest Elizabeth, and you have to say, this is
incorrect and this must be different." Elizabeth
smiled, "but all this is all ... 'oolter-poolter'
(helter-skelter) ... not at all in chronological
order!" And Dagmar reassured her, "I do not want
any chronological order. Are we not women! Are we not female
enough to talk about things when they come up in our
hearts? That is what counts. And that is full of life!"