My first day in Budapest, my only full day until I return on my way back home though thank goodness for that. We saw a bit of the city, walked to Heroes Square (Hősök Tere in Hungarian) where apparently all tourists go. It’s right off one of the Metro stops and their underground is sooooo deep! It feels like you go down forever into the bowels of the earth. I heard the Communists built it that way, not sure why, but it seems to be working. This section was built in the late 1800’s they say, although wait a minute, the Communists weren’t there then! Okay, so this isn’t a history lesson, but it was pretty cool. And the day was absolutely gorgeous! I was expecting the mid to high 50’s according to weather.com, ha ha… and instead it’s in the 70’s and gloriously sunny! I could only imagine my ancient relatives walking around.
Synchronicity has been my friend. Mr. J, my traveling companion for a bit of this trip, knows a guy who knows a guy and maybe I can find my ancestors! It’s true, he has a friend here who is a minister who knows the local priest from the parish we believe my grandparents were married in. He took us out after our day of sightseeing to the little town of Detk and I think this is where my grandparents came from. We approached the cemetery near the church at the end of the day, nearly dusk and amazingly the cemetery was still open. The woman who I believe runs the office or the cemetery or something was still there along with the caretaker of the cemetery. I told her of my story through the translation of my minister interpreter and we began scouring through the graves. Lo and behold we found about six of them with the same last name! This could be it. None of them were my great-grandfather however, but they might be great uncles or aunts or cousins. The woman was chatting with my minister interpreter when he tells me that she might be related to my grandmother! Holy cow! I ran up and hugged her! We don’t know this for sure and we didn’t research her or her maiden name, but my dear minister friend (he has so become my friend now! What a nice and generous man) has offered to research my relatives for me so that when I return before I leave for home, I may actually get to meet someone I’m related to. Is that not amazing or what! All my wasted hours on ancestry.com where I ran into brick walls looking for more information past my grandparents may all be resolved. I was standing in a cemetery that may hold the spirits of my Hungarian ancestors, staring at a church that may be the site of my grandparents’ marriage before their immigration to America. What are the odds? I felt like Lisa Kudrow on her television show that searches for your ancestors. I was really here in this ancient land and I may finally find out from whence I came. I find that amazing and profound and somewhat spiritual. How many of us know where we come from? How many of us care? I have always cared and never known. My father’s parents both died before he married so our family never knew our grandparents. That side of my ancestors seemed to be lost forever. And it only seemed that those wealthy few who were able to fly to whatever their country of origin was were the lucky ones to know their histories. I am far from wealthy financially. But I am wealthy in spirit which I believed allowed me to acquire this scholarship sending me of all places to the land of my ancestors. And I am on the brink of building many leaves on my family’s tree.
Won’t my father be proud? I hope so. For I may be discovering information that he never knew. As a child of 7 who lost his father, he never had the privilege of hearing family stories, consequently he could not pass those stories down to us. I hope he’s up there looking down and helping this story to move along.
Far from my little piece of Mayberry but nearly acquiring another one,