My father never went back to the Hungarian village where he was born in 1908. He rarely spoke of his birthplace, but when he did, it was with a wistful look in his eyes. He left his beloved home and parents to start a new life in a new country when he was 18.
In May, accompanied by two of my children, I did what Dad couldn’t do. Armed only with six old photographs, we went to visit his village, Turterebes, now part of Romania.
While resting on a churchyard wall, I was overcome with doubt — is this a wild goose chase? Then, two kind village ladies who spoke no English (I spoke only a smattering of Hungarian) recognized the people in one photograph!
Unbelievably, the wall on which I was sitting was across the lane from the home of my pictured cousins!
Tears of happiness were our welcome. My cousins knew who we were because of pictures of us they had in their home. Within minutes, a delicious meal of stuffed cabbage, freshly baked bread, Hungarian pastries and home-brewed alcohol appeared as if by magic.
In Turterebes, I visited the grave of my grandparents, the 500-year-old church where Dad was baptized and the house where he was born. I truly felt my cup runneth over.
We were home.
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
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