"Her and Her Episodes" Acrylic on paper... All content copyright! 2005 - 2017 and so on, and on, and on....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Commemorating the 1956 Uprising
October 23 - November 26

The beginning of the end of the Communist Regime

In honor of all civilians that have ever given/lost their lives or gavely suffered for freedom everywhere.

Memoirs of a child "in exile".

What do the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, The overthrowing of Peron, Radio, Emigration and Working with Refugees for 25 years have in common?
At first glance, on the surface, it may appear that they have absolutely nothing in common, except that one way or another all four affected deep changes in my life.

As I entered the architecturally exquisite edifice of the Main Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, I was suddenly presented with life size vignettes of the Hungarian Revolution. My stomach spontaneously turned as I advanced further inside and noticed showcases full of memorabilia; documents, newspapers, pins, Communist Party registry forms, Youth Membership cards. Mannequins dressed in military uniforms on every floor surrounding the escalators…
Due to my unexpected reaction, at first I avoided a close-up look at all those drab-faded-yellowed-by-time items.

I had just survived the overthrowing of Argentinean President Juan Carlos Perón – Evita’s husband – while in my former boarding school in the Town of Plátanos, at the outskirts of the Province of Buenos Aires. Heavy bombing had gone on for a short while (three days?) we could clearly hear the unmistakable sound of falling bombs and the explosion upon impact in the nearby City of Quilmes – but it felt on top of my head. I was terrified, no one explained anything to us – those were the times! And, sleeping on the top half of a bunk bed gave an automatic death sentence in my child’s mind. I died again and again with the falling of each bomb.
The low cloud muffled sounds of aircraft engines still provoke unexpected nausea now- days.

Perón’s departure was swift, after his systematic emptying of the Treasury and various other treacheries; the country has been trying unsuccessfully to rebuild herself since.

By the time the Hungarian Revolution exploded I was already relocated to Montevideo, Uruguay – not much explanation about that either (oh, yeah… those were the times!), to live with my mother and her husband I did not remember at all and, a “new brother”. She had remarried, for the second time, another Hungarian.

I recall our lives were full of rallies and wreath laying in what now, seem to only have been gloomy, rainy days… Yes, I remember the upheaval of the local Hungarian community’s adult members, particularly that of my stepfather, whom, as I recall, was “everywhere” and somehow, so was I.
The meetings, the many and repeated showings of the latest black and white newsreels of the brutal massacre was a steady diet for others and myself (and 8-9 year old) at the time – death everywhere and everywhere heroism. Heroism of those man and women that sacrificed their lives for freedom. Heroism of the rebellious youth and their Molotov cocktails!

Unlike in the colorful, crisp footage at Tiannanmen Square, where we all witnessed on TV, a defiant and immensely brave student “stop” the tanks, the Hungarian black and white footage on large projection screens showed how the tanks rolled over those in their way… as the others were shot from their tops – chaos: Molotovs, high pitched sirens, automatic machine and other gun fire, flattened/crushed corpses literally covering the streets (many, with some sort of white (?) powder on them). Men hang from tress, beaten and being spat on.
Around me, people were all either stunned, unsettled, crying, outraged… God only knows what else! I don't rmember at all how I felt.

About the same time, I assume, I began reciting “occasion relevant” poetry on radio… A Hungarian Language program sprang up from nowhere in my life… I had to stand on a stool to reach the lone podium and microphone above it, in the solitary, yet safe, center of the heavily wood paneled sound booth.
It all went quiet smoothly, peacefully in there.
Before we tip-toed out, (still etched in my mind) I could clearly hear the next announcer: “Tates, Mames, Kinderlein…”

To continuo.

I'll return to this topic in the next 35 days with the rest of the story and some paintings I have planned to commemorate this occasion.


Anne-Marie said...

My high school music teacher, the fabulous Monsieur Legrady as we knew him, came to Canada after the Hungarian Revolution. He had been the musical director at "Radio Budapest" and ended up teaching and leading a bunch of musical missfits for all the happy years I spent under his charge. He has since passed away, but we all loved him.

His sentences always started with, "I remember, back in Houn-ga-ry..."

Great post!

"Angeldust" said...

Thank you Anne-Marie,
I just need to do some things - come hell or high water.
This was one of them, as it started me down on a path, that althought "known" is somehow "unfamiliar"...because I have not made the connections.
Ay chihhuahua!
Does it make any sense?

Love and Joy

krystyna said...

Hi Angel!
Thanks for this story! I was much touched! Great memory of those days!!
I'll be back to read again!
A lot blessings to you!

"Angeldust" said...

PS.: Anne-Marie

"His sentences always started with, "I remember, back in Houn-ga-ry..."
To Monsieur Legrady too!

"Angeldust" said...

Krystyna dear -
you are welcome to be back as many times as you wish...

Anonymous said...

Hello, Alicia. I got here via Mimi's wonderful write-up on you, and I'm glad I did. The things you've experienced make me realize how ignorant I am about the plight of so many others around the world. Thank you for sharing your memories.

"Angeldust" said...

Thank you lizza and welcome.

I really appreciate when time is taken to look a little deeper than what's on the surface of each of us.
This action does foster understanding and compassion.

Thank you again. I shall visit your blog soon.

samuru999 said...

Thank you for sharing your memories!
I really do thank you!