I posted this some time ago on my Tumblr account, but I really wanted to copy it over to this blog. I wrote it about my family and I think it’s fairly important.
I read a book once called “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí – it’s actually a Czech book about the Prague Spring and communism… very.. existential)…
But, really… it has nothing to do with this, other than the fact it was written in the 80s in old Czechoslovakia and it sounds like it describes my situation perfectly. It was written in half of that country which became my grandmother and her family’s new identity. Strange in a way, how they were Romani and Czech and then they became Slovak. Our nomadic way of life was banned in 1958. The communist regime implemented forced education programs.
We come from near Bardejov. My family. I think they came sometime before the first world war though, fleeing the rise of Nazism. They didn’t all live through communism there. Some went back some times to be there, and some never came home.
My people are known to be lighter:
[Unsure of name, perhaps Marek Horvath]
Eva Horvathova, 9, plays accordion, Chminianske Jakubovany, Prešov, Slovakia.
Lucia Zavackova, 10.
I am a Zavackova. My grandmother’s family were Petikova and Zavackova.
Our families tended to have many people with light skin and dark hair and eyes. Sometimes fair hair, sometimes lighter eyes. It was something of a mixed genetic bag, I suppose. My grandmother was super dark, but her sister (Lemija) was not (hence her name, which means lemon…) My father and his older brother were fairly dark, their younger brother was not. I came out light skinned with mixed eyes and dark hair. I came out a Zavackova.
Maami always told me “keres balamuti, parne jakha” – you create trouble, light eyes. I suppose she was right. I did create trouble. I think everyone wanted me to be a Žeželj.
Another time I’ll tell the story of my other family, Papo and the Lotfitka