Friday, July 5, 2013

My Grandparents' House


The latest photo of my grandparents' former house,
taken by me on my last visit in June 2009.

My essay 'Thrown Out' of the Family Home was published in the Wall Street Journal's House Call section today. Back in January, when I saw their call for submissions for essays about a memorable or special home, I knew immediately that I was going to write about my grandparents' former house in the Czech Republic. I have a strong emotional connection to this house even though I never knew my grandparents living in it. You will have to read the essay to see how that manifests itself... (Please leave comments, too!)

Since the Wall Street Journal could only use one photo, I decided to supplement the essay by sharing a few photos here.



The flower-pot holder atop the garden archway, August 2002. Part of the colored glass of the entryway can be seen to the right.
 
 
 
The vast back yard in August 2002 - you can see me in the red pants standing about with the owners. 


 
My young uncle in the garden, late 1930s.
 
 
 
The kitchen garden in the 1950s
 
 
 
The house in October 1988 - the photo was taken when my brother and sister went for a visit behind the Iron Curtain.
 
 
 
Another 1988 photo from farther up the street when the house was clearly in disrepair.


 
 
 


16 comments:

  1. So many of us have similar stories and similar feelings. I know I did when I went to Poland to see my parents homeland and visited their homes with 1930's photos in hand. I have a favorite German poem to share here.http://backontheflooragain.blogspot.com/2012/06/never-will-everything-be-said.html

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    1. BusyB - thank you so much for sharing that poem. Speaks to the power of stories.

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  2. Congratulations on having your essay published in the WSJ, Annette. No small feat! After reading it, I could see why it was accepted. Nicely done with some thoughts that would be meaningful to many of us who go back for that look at what may have only been a memory.

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  3. Quite a contrast between 1988 and now! Congratulations on the publication of the essay!

    I've always wondered what I'd think, going to the hometowns of my parents and grandparents in the Netherlands.

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    1. William - there's only one way to find out!

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  4. Ich freu mich so sehr mit dir ueber die Veroeffentlichung im WSJ. Herzlichsten Glueckwunsch!!!
    Meine Eltern sind vor Jahren zusammen mit dem Bruder meiner Mutter und ihren Eltern nach Olstyn (Allenstein, wo meine Mutter geboren wurde) Polen gereist, auf den Spuren der Vergangenheit, haben das Haus besichtigt, das sie 1944 auf der Flucht vor den Russen verlassen mussten. Sie wurden sehr freundlich von den Bewohnern aufgenommen, durften sogar in das Haus. Aber es war ihnen sehr fremd, kaum wiederzuerkennen.

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    1. Barbara - danke. Solche Reisen haben immer auch etwas unbehagliches.

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  5. What a heartfelt and beautifully descriptive portrait of a house you never knew first hand. Congratulations.

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  6. The essay in the WSJ is just beautiful Annette; your piece left me with a tug at my heart; perhaps because I have a similar connection to a house in southern Italy. Wonderful to be able to see pictures of the house at different points in time. Evan when run down, its spirit somehow seems intact. Congratulations on the publication in WSJ!

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    1. Antoinette - thanks! It does seem that many people have a similar house in their hearts.

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  7. First of all, congratulations on having your essay published in the Wall Street Journal.

    Wow!

    I love all the photos, too, especially the sepia tone ones.

    OK - so now I'll try to slip over and actually read your essay. I'm at work - although with my hubby is the boss here, so it won't matter much if I'm caught in the act.

    ~Tui, visiting from the #StoryDam chat blog hop linky!


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  8. I love going to my grandparents house, my family and I have had some great memories there. When they got of age they needed some extra care. Visiting Angels in NJ was a great option because they got the health care they needed right from their own home. This allowed them to still do the things they love and have their family over for holidays.

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