In Sickness and Health…..


After having spent nearly 3 days ill and sleeping , it feels good to be ” alive ” again. I felt somewhat better , and I took a sweaty walk to Slovenskej dideny , an outdoor village that didn’t provide me any more insight than Zuberec , and Prybilina . I was able to get out and walk this village , which is much bigger than I expected. I should point out that it has been unseasonably hot here at 31c ( 85+ ) . For me it is very uncomfortable , and being ill in this weather only added to my being ill-at-ease. It is a bit of luck that the penzion that I am staying at serves plenty of garlic soup. It was my saving grace , added to the fact that it is very quiet here. I have also been unable to see my relatives . We were all together on Saturday as I left for Banska Stiavinca on Sunday. I was able to sweat my way through the Slovak National Cemetery here in the home of the Slovak resistance to Hungary.

It was here that the Matica ( Mah-teesa ) Slovenska was established in 1863. It was , in no uncertain terms the ” heart of all Slovaks “. There was a Memorandum of 1861 that demanded thus ; the Slovaks are to have access and build a system for the practice of their language and culture. This would later become Matica Slovenska. The leaders of this movement would then begin to establish libraries , print more newspapers , and activate an entire structure to allow the Slovak people to become a stand-alone entity .

Matica Slovenska would last only 12 years ; in 1875 , the Interior Minister , Kalman Tisza would forcibly erase the Matica with a decree that stated it was anti-patriotic and anti-government …all done without a shred of evidence. The Magyars confiscated the money that went to build the program and used it in their efforts to begin a renewed assimmilation of the Slovkas into ” Good Hungarian Patriots “. This brutal and inhumane program was called Magyarization. I stood in front of this building and supposed that I could ever know the suffering that took place after this institution was shuttered. An event like this happened all through history and continues to these modern days , whereby one culture deems themselves ” better ” or more ” civilized ” than another. When asked by a Serbian member of the Diet ( there were no Slovak representatives in the Hungarian Diet ) why the Matica was taken away from the Slovak nation , Tisza ( who was by now Prime Minister ) replied , ” I do not know of any Slovak Nation “. Down the street was the first Slovak National Museum , founded along with the Matica , as they were engaging in the study of the sciences.

Hot and sweaty , I could feel energy leaving me , so I took the short hike back to the penzion and took another long nap. I awoke in the middle of the night from a delirious dream that had me smack dab in the middle of that events of the 19th century. I stayed up and read accounts of the military attacks on the towns that resisted agreement with the Magyars and it reads like a damning scripture of defilement for the Slovaks. Awake at 4am and I couldn’t let go off the 19 century. Sleep overcame me again and I awoke on Friday morning feeling much better. A cool shower and a light breakfast , and I felt closer to human.

I was able to see both my girl cousins Zelka and Zuzka as they had been working all week and plus , Zuzka was on a swing shift at her job in the Martin post office. We knew that it would not be like the last visit , two years ago , as they had literally put their lives on hold while I was here. I let them know ( all of my family ) that I would be happy to see them when we are able. I turned out very well. On Sunday , my young cousin Jano/Kevin insisted that he drive be to Banska Stiavnica against my protest. It saved me nearly 4 hours of travel and 35 euro. I am very grateful to him .

Kalvaria / Banska Stiavnica

Today is Monday 17 June and I am happy to say that I am hale and healthy and glad to be in Banska Stiavnica ( Shteee-uhv-neetsa ) . I came here 2 years ago with my cousins Elena , Jano , Gero , and Alena. It is a former mining town in the Upper Kingdom and it is classically ” Old Europe ” , with cobblestone streets and buildings from the High and Middle Ages. More on that later , as I am going to say goodbye for now and get out to explore this ” royal town ” . The photo above is of Kalvaria , a shrine on top of a mountain in Stiavnica. This particular photo was taken from the window of my Airbnb apartment. Last night I watched a thunderstorm roll in from behind it , very stirring – plus it cooled off here ( 70f/20c ) On my last trip , 2 years ago , we walked up it and stopped at each of the 13 shrines along the way. I made firm to me , how uniquely Christian this country is. More on that later also . I just want to give those concerned readers an idea of where I have been , in the absence of posts , for more than a week ; so we are caught up and I will keep all involved well informed….

5 thoughts on “In Sickness and Health…..

  1. With all of that history, no wonder our great grandfather wanted his 2 healthy girls to leave and live in America.

    News from home: Cousin Dawn got a new Ford Escape.


    1. Hi Pat,
      It is no small wonder that our Great-Grandfather wanted his girls out of there. The more I look into the way they had to live , the more I despise the Magyars. The same thinking occurs today. They have a very high opinion of themselves and their history and it rests on the backs of others. I am very proud of our history and so are the modern Slovaks, There is no chest-thumping ; just a culture that is striving to make a strong nation for themselves.


  2. Also, when I was doing much volunteer work as a tour guide at the Freedom Center Museum in Cincinnati, and I was in the book club, I felt like I was in the 19th century which was OK but strange.


  3. I am in Bratislava now , for the last 10/11 days of my trip. It is quite a jarring experience to have been away from a ” big city ” for a little more than a month. I am in a great part of B-slava and will go for a walk. I am right down the street from BISLA ( Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts ) . I am going to meet a professor there on Monday to see if they can use me. I really like B-slava ; I prefer to be up in Orava , with the natural setting and family everywhere. It is only a 4 hour train ride , so if I come back to teach , they will be close. The big plus , is that being so close to Vienna , I am a short plane ride to the Adriatic coast in Croatia….one of my favorites on this earth.
    I have another blog coming tonight..please be well and send best regards to Roger.
    All my dear cousin


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