Gramma’s Gift

Hungarian Ancient Symbol My Mom's Wedding Day

Yesterday, I was challenged to write a 50 word story about a box found in my deceased grandmother’s attic. The box had my name on it. What was inside?

Being a third generation Hungarian on both sides of my family, I have often wondered about my ancestral line. I was too young and busy in my life to care before my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents died with all their stories and information. Tracing my ancestry is made more difficult by the fact that my grandparents surname was changed to a more Anglicized version that was easier for English tongues to say. Who knows what the original version is and how would I get that information?

My birth father died of cancer when I was just seven years old and mom remarried when I was nine. My life took a new direction and we began to see my original birth family on my father’s side less and less. It was a large family, nine brothers and sisters who married, had children and produced a large number of cousins for me and my brother and sister. I have seen them on occasion, but it was usually at a public or social function and as the years passed it was infrequent.

This past year I took a therapeutic touch workshop at my local YMCA/YWCA. I arrived early and sat down next to a man, the only other participant there. As the teacher was giving us our handouts, I turned to say something to him. My mouth dropped open!

“Uncle Frank!”

He looked confused until I said, “It’s Barbie, your niece.”

A big smile creased his face and after that we enjoyed reminiscing and spoke of old times until the class began. We decided that we would get together for a coffee some day and he agreed to help me fill in some of the holes in my memories and knowledge of my family.

Well, of course, some day never came until Glynis Belec’s online challenge to write the short 50 word story. I began researching my pet name ‘Boriska’ that I was called from birth by my mother’s Hungarian side of the family and was confused by what I found. I also wanted to find a Hungarian symbol that would be suitable as a potential gift to me from my grandmother. Neither searches were easy to do what with spelling and other nationalities mixed in with the results.

I decided to call Uncle Frank. He lives here in my own town. He answered a few of my questions but I wanted more information. We agreed that we would get together for coffee and a chat about our families in a couple of weeks. The date is set and written on my calendar and I am looking forward to it.

How much do you know about your ancestral line? I have learned that the sooner you get that information from your family, the better. Time has a habit of slipping away and all that information goes with it as family pass on.

Here’s my little 50 word story. It’s fictional but it reflects my Hungarian heritage.

Dad handed me the small velvet box. On it was a small tag with one word, ‘Boriska.’ Gramma’s pet name for me since I was a baby.

“I found it in her attic.”

Inside was a silver pendant of twisted leaves and a heart, an ancient Hungarian symbol of love.

Glynis, my author friend, gave us a great little writing prompt. It encouraged me to think deeper about my cultural background. Why don’t you try it? What would be in your box?