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AN IMMIGRANT FAMILY

Joseph Stanovsky PhD
©2012 by J S

The comforts my younger brother Robert Lee, older sister Frances Hattie and I shared were those put in place by the thoughtfulness and generosity of Hedvik´ a (Mother, Mom, Maminka and Mami) and Jozef (Father, Dad, Tatinek and Tat´ a). Mom’s 1908 trip began in Kunstat Moravia (Austria, now the Czech Republic) to Hamburg and then to New York aboard German Lloyd MS President Lincoln (built by Harlan and Wolf in Belfast). She arrives in New York in August 1908. Hedvik´ a moves to Galveston Texas in 1913. Dad travelled a smilar route, but Hedvik´ a advised him to avoid New York and especially Ellis Island. Jozef begins in Slatina, then on to Bremen and afterwards to Galveston aboard German Lloyd vessel Hannover (a ship near the Titanic event) . Dad arrives in August 1912. Hedvik´ a Kaderkov´ a and Jozef Stanovsky ´ marry in Galveston on 11 May 1913 at St Mary’s Church on Broadway officiated by a new priest (new from Poland). Jozef was an avid reader too. Their son Joe was given Americanized names: Joseph (after Jozef) and Jerry (instead of Jaroslav). Dad thought highly of writer Jaroslav Vrhlicky, Poet Laureate of Czechoslovakia. From the time Hedvik´ a arrives in Phoenix until her death on St Patricks Day (17 March 1966) in Galveston she supports and participates only in organizations that have no membership rules based on ideology, creed, race, religion or country of origin. Hedvik´ a read books written in Austrian, Czech and German and wrote to newspapers that immigrants read. One of the books in German explained how to mix, make and put concrete in place: “Beton und Eisen”. This book was well read, worn, and used with the help of Rudolph Mudrak during the building of their concrete bungalow, the 1st in Galveston. Mom mixed the concrete and helps to put a wet batch of concrete into the forms Dad built. In their concrete mix they used cement, local sand, no rocks only oyster shells and drinking water. It was Joe Halasz who came to Moravia to ask Hedvik´ a to travel from Kunstat to Phoenix as a travelling companion to his mother, Hedvik´ a’s Tet´ a (Aunt) Maria, and also to care for Maria’s grand children, Ludmila (age 7) and Eduard (age 4). The mother of the children was said to have been poisoned by her husband who was adamantly opposed to a third child. Eduard was at his mother’s side at her death and that of the unborn child. Travelling with the group was Franz Halasz (age 24), Joe’s younger brother. Franz visited Galveston in 1936. Joe Halasz left Moravia before the group he organized did, first to England and then Liverpool and after by ship to New York. Joe Halasz met the travellers from Kunstat and greeted the new immigrants in New York. The group was treated with a visit to Coney Island and a shopping spree. Mom described this a pleasing adventure and the time when she bought yellow shoes. The group travelled by train to Phoenix and from the station rode in a two horse wagon to Joe’s ranch. They were met along the way by Native Americans riding horses with no saddles who courteously greeted them. As it turned out, Hedvik´ a worked at Joe’s ranch as housekeeper, cook, cared for Ludmila and Eduard and new born but sickly livestock, and more, and did all this for no pay. She worked for two years to repay Joe. Then quit. There is little known about Joe Halasz after Hedvik´ a left the ranch except for news from Franz and probably some from Ludmila (about age 24) who did travel to Galveston.

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HISTORY
It seems that at some time before 1936 that Joe took a shotgun and blanket out into the orchard, lay down on the grass and shot himself. Mom says she heard of the event soon after it occurred. Ludmilla (Ruth) had a trained horse and dog. Sister Frances saw Ludmilla, horse and dog during her 1939 high school train trip celebrating graduation from high school. Frances says all three performed regularly in local parades and celebrations in Phoenix as well as in Los Angeles. After moving from Joe’s ranch, Hedvik´ a worked as cook and housekeeper for two Phoenix families. Her first job was in the Penney home. She met Mr and Mrs Penney while shopping at Mr. Penney’s store. After the Penney family moves from Phoenix Hedvik´ a becomes house manager in the Gardiner household. As manager of housekeeping at the Gardiner’s, Hedvik´ a had to plan meals, prepare the meals, shop for food and pack the family for a two month visit to a mountain city (Scottsdale) with days cooler than those in Phoenix. There was a second family move too. This was a stay of unspecified duration in Los Angeles where Mr. Gardiner had a business (candy). Although Hedvik´ a arranged to terminate her employment with the Gardiner family and leave Phoenix in 1912 (about the time Dad was travelling to Galveston) she delayes her move at the request of Mrs. Gardiner who was then pregnant. Hedvik´ a did leave Phoenix in early April 1913, but this was two months after the birth of Mrs. Gardiner’s child. Hedvik´ a schedules a trip by train to Galveston to be reunited with and to wed Jozef Stanovsky ´ (May 11, 1913). Jozef sailed from Bremen to Galveston on MS Hannover in September 1912. Earlier in 1912, the captain of the Hannover told Jozef and other passengers that MS Hannover had been at the sinking of the Titanic. After immigration officers completed their work Dad and the other passengers of the Hannover were met dockside in Galveston by an eight year old boy who invited the travellers to live and eat well at the Mares boarding house, his parents house. That young boy spoke his invitation in Czech. He was Charlie Mares, who was much later Charles Mares MD (pronounce Mares as if spelled Maresh). Jozef stayed at the Mares Boarding House while waiting out Hedvik´ a’s delay. That winter away from the cold of Europe was a new and pleasant experience for him. Life with the Mares family was interesting because of the good conversations with other borders. These boarding house friends spoke many languages, those I heard of were Austrian, Czech, German and Polish. The conversations, and the curiosity of three children added to a pleasant stay with the Mares family; the oldest child was daughter Julia and she had two brothers, Joe and Charlie. The youngest was Charlie. (Julia married Mr Delanera, the owner of a candy store.) During that 8-month wait Jozef worked at the Magnolia Brewing Company which later brewed Southern Select beer in the renamed Galveston-Houston Brewery. After Dad’s death the brewery made Falstaff beer. The Galveston brewery was connected to the Houston brewery and to a large St Louis brewery. Joe Mares had a small red truck with a Budweiser logo on it. Joe sold and delivered yeast. The peaceful days ended unfortunately, because someones in the US Congress passed a law that made it illegal to sell beer, wine and whiskey. That was just one act of congressional stupidity that was turned into a constitutional amendment. That amendment was approved in an election by citizens who were mislead, lied to, or who willingly drank a stupidity potion freely given by congerzers. That constitutional amendment made living difficult especially for Hedvik´ a and Jozef. This was a particularly sad event because the closure of all breweries seemed also to say that workers in a brewery were less than honorable citizens. Jozef’s work at the brewery as cooper had been their only income.

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AN IMMIGRANT FAMILY
Before 1920, they had saved money, lent money to immigrants, bought two farms in Kolin (Rapides Parish) Louisana and built a house in Galveston (where friends chided them for buying land by the gallon), the house built was the first reinforced concrete bungalow in Galveston in which all of the construction tasks were performed by Hedvik´ a and Jozef. The bungalow drawings were made by friend and Architect-Engineer Rudolph Mudrak. Mudrak had been a student in Beirut Lebanon. Instead of thriving immigrants, the Volstead Act turned Hedvik´ a and Jozef into destitute citizens by government decree. That would have been the disaster of all disasters if Jozef had not have been a skilled carpenter and a willing worker. Drinking beer, wine and liquor was not prohibited by that decree, it was just that no alcoholic products were to be sold in the US. You could make beer, wine and whiskey for your own use, but you dasen’t sell it. Sister Frances told of trips to buy food for a week. In these Saturday shopping adventures Frances helped by staying close to Dad. Frances did this by clinging to her father’s trousers. Among the food items bought were the ingredients used to make 5 gallons of beer, weekly, that was shared with friends, some from Galveston and nearby cities of Sante Fe and Houston. The group membership and attendance varied. Among the friends was a poet and writer, several pilots who safely drove steamships up or down the Houston Ship Channel, a violinist of the Houston Symphony, a defrocked priest and four farmers. To make the beer, Dad and Frances bought 5 pounds of rice, 1 can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Malt and 6 squares of yeast. Citizens living close to the Mexican or Canadian borders were only marginally affected by the amendment. Some border citizens imported whiskey and would even deliver it if they knew you. There are stories about how delivery men would hide a bottle of whiskey in a boot. Hence, sellers of whiskey became known as bootleggers. Unfortunately, local and federal government agencies hounded bootleggers out of business in the same way western Pennsylvania citizens were persecuted during the so called Whiskey Rebellion, a rebellion proclaimed so by George Washington (the persecutor). Washington sent more than 2000 troops to arrest the whiskey sellers whom he says paid no whiskey taxes. No roads may have been why Pennsylvania farmers made whiskey. Where the transport of wagon loads of corn was not possible the farmers made whiskey from their corn and found ways to ship small barrels of whiskey. The army captured twenty farmers. Some were released, a few were charged of which two were found guilty. Washington releases both, declaring one a moron. The Constitution says what a President and an Army can and can not do. We the people never gave a proper or descriptive label to the representatives who bent over backwards to make a ten thousand year old human activity illegal. Some say people had two choices, to bend over backward to satisfy the gummint or to bend over forward so the congrezors and sinatirz could satisfy themselves. As it turns out, the constitutional amendment was repealed and all breweries reopened. So you should always remember December 5th. It was the day that sanity reappeared in the US gummint but it didn’t stay for long. On the day Mom and Dad celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary Frances was 7 months, 12 days, and 7 years old and Joe was 1 month and 3 days old. It would be three more years before we could celebrate the birth of Robert Lee. Frances was born at home. That delivery was difficult for both mother and daughter (read about this on the internet --- JJS family blog.blogspot.com). As a

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consequence, Hedvik´ a was unable to do housework and none of the cooking for three years. Jozef did the housework and the cooking. Jozef had help from the Mother of a family of immigrants from Spain. The woman was a magnificent person who wore black dresses, long sleeved blouses and shiny decorative hair combs. She cared for Frances for seven years. Afterwards, Mr. Albert Tous ˇ did the household chores while the Spanish women was a regular visitor to our house for another fifteen years. In 1927, a year before the birth of their first son, Mr Alois Tous ˇ came to live and work in the house Jozef had to rebuild after the 1914 hurricane destroyed it. Albert Tous ˇ had been a French soldier fighting with the English during the war that ended in 1917. Albert cooked French, German and Moravian food, baked French cakes and Czech kolacky and was a faithful friend to Hedvik´ a and Jozef. He was care giver, nanny and language teacher (French and Czech) to Joseph. Albert travelled to Canada after the war. He moved to Cleveland Ohio where he married. Albert had been gassed during that war and physicians advised him to move South. His wife refused to move to Libuse, Louisiana. Albert received a monthly check from the French Government. The money was kept by his wife but she generously and regularly sent him $20.00 monthly. With that regular income Albert bought a Model T Ford. We travelled in it to Kolin when I was about 6 weeks old. We went to a funeral. Mom’s brother John and wife Katy Mraz had lost a daughter named Hedvik´ a. Katy met John in our Galveston house. Mom asked Albert once how much his pension was. Albert didn’t know. So Mom helps to find out about his pension by writing the French Embassy. Soon, Albert was getting his check directly and sending his wife $20 monthly. I remember Mom’s comment about Albert’s first check; Albert says he didn’t know his check was so hugh (velky). Things were almost back to normal by the time Frances was 9. Mom resumes writing letters to newspapers like the Vestnik and Hlasatel, contributes support (room and board) for a Czech language teacher from the University of Texas to teach Czech to a dozen students (among them sister Frances, Elsie Siler, Marie Doslich and George Siler) and helped nurture organizations such as a Czech insurance company, the S.P.J.S.T. and a Czech gymnastics group, the Galveston SOKOL (Mom was secretary for as long as I can remember). These national organizations were supported by immigrants who live on farms and in cities around the State. So long as these organizations were small, the local meetings were held at various venues, but as memberships grew Hedvika and Jozef hosted many of the local meetings (their rebuilt house was bigger than most). In time it became obvious to all that the organization needed a meeting place of its own. In 1927, at a meeting of local immigrants in her home, Hedvik´ a suggests this group build a meeting house for all immigrant organizations. That began the American Czech Club, a name I came to know as the AC Club. Hedvik´ a planned a way to finance and build the AC Club and presented her idea at another immigrants meeting convened in her home. The idea had been received well and was approved at a subsequent meeting. Hedvik´ a put her plan in motion by writing letters to newspapers. Those letters to editors were sent to newspapers located in several states. These letters were written to subscribers who could read and write Czech. She wrote in Czech, Austrian and Lachs. Hedvik´ a asked her friendly readers to lend money in small amounts in order help build the Galveston AC Club. In her newspaper letters she said that she and the officers and members of the AC Club promise it would in time repay these

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AN IMMIGRANT FAMILY
loans from rental income for special events such as birthdays, weddings and dances. She promised to make sure that she and the officers of the AC Club would honor the repayment plan. After many of her letters were printed, Hedvik´ a received letters containing money. She recorded each loan in a ledger. In that ledger she recorded the name, address, amount received, and whether it was a future or a present loan , and if the envelop contained cash, a check or postage stamps. Hedvik´ a replied to each letter she received, even those with no money just letters full of good wishes. In all of the replies she includes a receipt that describes the amount, the name and address of the person or organization who sent cash, a check or stamps. Hedvik´ a collected over $3000 from these letters. She put it all into a bank. Then, with money in the bank she went to an attorney for advice (he was later to become a county Judge). The money stayed in the bank. With the attorney’s help, and money in the bank it was necessary to add articles to the constitution of the AC Club. These articles were approved by members of the club and this made it possible for Club officers to make contracts, buy land and construction materials and get a bank loan. The loan money became bank collateral. Hedvik´ a, and other officers of the AC Club, found and then contracted to buy land on the west side of Offats Bayou, bought construction materials from a local lumber yard and talked with city officials about improving Herds Lane from 61st to the AC Club. Hedvik´ a, her attorney and the members who had helped with the preliminary contracts presented the details of what could be done, how it could be done and how much it would cost at a special meeting of AC Club members (it was held in the home of Hedvik´ a and Jozef with Mr. Tous ˇ attending). Hedvik´ a presented information about the source of income, income estimates, payments to the investors and even drew plans for a building of the kind that was to be built. She, and other officers answered questions raised at this meeting. All went well. The time and place for other meetings of AC Club were set and a new constitution of the AC Club was approved. The purpose of the first meeting was to approve the contract options already made and thus to begin the building of the AC Club on the shore of Offats Bayou. The meeting adjourned. It ended with excited conversations that were more like music than noise, with groups of two or three members laughing, and happy talk that could be heard and understood as members and attorney departed. All went well for a long while, but there had been word muggers around from the beginning. They wanted a club, managed by different people. The muggers lived in pairs as husband and wife and usually represented the goals and wishes of clerics rather than their own opinions. Muggers were aided by word mumblers. The AC Club was built, and florishes. But effects of prohibition, the bank and stock market crash of 1929 dropped hard times on every immigrant. By 1932 the word muggers and word mumblers were aligned with members concerned with who or what caused the crash. It became difficult to run the AC Club, establish user fees and even more difficult to collect these fees. Few immigrants had money to spend on anything. Disagreements occurred which led to envy and despair. It was a normal situation made worse at a big “doing.” A “doing” (pronounced like ’do wing’) was the generic name for celebrating a birthday, an all hallows eve festival (a halloween party), the end of prohibition, a festival or a dance for a fun night out or just traditional Czech food served with pivo, klobasi, zeli and knedliki (beer, sausages, cabbage and dumplings). Included in one doing was a speech presented by an internationally known

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citizen of Chicago, a former French Army Officer and emigree from Austria. That visitors name was Capitan Pazdral (note his spelling of captain). The Captain was well received by the audience except for departees I heard. They departed as the horse did in a story told by Victor Borg´ e in which he reads, mimics and adds sounds to the punctuation marks. I heard the sound of their departure. I was the first person these departers would see as they left the AC Club. I heard part of their Czech conversation : “Pazdral sure had high praise for Hedvik´ a. Too many and too high I thought. It was as if he didn’t know I worked in the organization too. Or, that you did to.” His walking friend supported the word mumbler too (I found out later that this vocal guy was a founder of the mumblers). At this point in his conversation he sees me, then says: “Hello, little boy. How old are you? What is your name?” I answer him in Czech, “good day Misters! I will soon be five.” I didn’t get to say much more because he started a conversation with his friend. He quietly says good things to me, none of which are important here except he seemed to forget what he had just said after I told him my name and that Hedvik´ a was my Mother. He and his friend immediately turned away, and as they left they were back to massaging their original thoughts. It was years later that Hedvik´ a told me about her last days in the AC Club (I was then a freshman at SMU). The organization had paid regular dividends to the investors, but the funds they had were still in the bank. The depression was still stinging in 1940 so there was an impending motion for the AC Club to rely on the bank funds. After this discussion, but before Hedvik´ a resigns from the AC Club she writes letters to each investor explaining changes and the financial problems caused by the amendment to the constitution that prohibited the sale of beer, wine and liquor. The current AC Club problems were caused by the depression. With each letter sent Hedvik´ a enclosed a bank draft for that investors contribution. Most got all of their money back. At a subsequent 1940 meeting Mother told me that there was a serious and welcomed motion made to use the investors funds to benefit the AC Club. Hedvik´ a resigned at that meeting, but only after presenting the audited bank records and telling the group that there was then no money in the bank. Included with her resignation were the audited bank records. Neither Hedvik´ a nor her Attorney were ever paid. Theirs was truly pro bono work. A WORD THING Men and women often construct new words. My wife brought the shoppers word “ashufing” home after a day of looking in stores at AlKhobar Saudi Arabia. In Arabic, some visitors to Dhahran suggested ashuf means to look. It is a word supposedly heard often from Saudi sales clerks. Prospective buyers who speak English only turned the usual word ’looking’ into an Arabic-English form by saying ’ashufing.’ BEDTIME STORIES Like most adults, I don’t remember much of what happened to me when I was very young. As I got older, beginning about age 4, I began to remember events and later recalled them. Some early remembrances were second hand recollections. They were second hand because the original event was told and retold so many times that the event came to be part of my memory. The stories I tell here embrace the period from my earliest remembrances to

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the time I was about six years old. The recollections I tell of are bedtime stories told me by my Father. Each story Dad told was either his own invention, a story from another source or a variation of a story previously told me, but I never heard the end of any story because I either fell asleep, or Dad did. When I was very young I was the one who slept. As I got older, the great depression required Dad to work longer hours at different jobs. He would still care for me at bedtime even though he came home tired. For that reason Dad would often fall asleep before I did. I remember bits and pieces of several stories (pohadki). Most storys that Dad told had many variations. In one particular story, there were usually three characters: a young boy named Hloupy ´ Honza (crazy Jack), Jack’s kind mother and Jack’s hard working father, a woodsman. Each installment began the same way. There was the morning awakening of a family member, the clothes each selects for that day, with a breakfast meal. After breakfast Jack’s father leaves the house to work in the forest. At noon each day, the woodsman’s wife prepares a hot meal. She puts her husband’s portion into a glazed earthen ware pot (either a red or blue or yellow pot usually with a lid of the same color). Jack’s daily task was to carry his Dad’s lunch into the forest. There were unusual events along the way and a fun part of each story. Jack usually gave his father’s lunch away. In one story I remember Jack crosses a bridge and hears the sound of croaking frogs. In a conversation with the frogs, Jack asks why do you cry? Jack answers for the frogs. He says the frogs are hungry. Jack asks the frogs what they want to eat. He hears the frogs croak their hoped for food by singing, “hrach, hrach, hrach.” It so happens that hrach is a frog sound, but in Czech hrach means peas, and Jack knows that on this day his Fathers lunch was peas. Jack understands the frogs and this simple boy tumps Father′s peas into the creek. Jack goes on to tell his father what he had done. Jack’s father remains hungry but forgives Jack. There were other stories too. I mention one here. It too had many variations. Like all of the stories Dad told me, none were in English. Most were in Czech, but some were in Austrian, German, Slovak or Polish, with occasional French words. He would use any language with a word that sounds like what you might hear on a trip through the woods. I often asked for a definition and when I did the story time was extended. One story, begins with “today I will tell a story about the dcera co dela” (in Czech ’dcera’ is daughter, and ’co dela’ means the one who works). The stories about “the daughter who works” were always interesting and dealt with the gathering of fire wood for the kitchen, about sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor, cooking or baking, gardening chores, greeting visitors at the kitchen door, and all of these details were linked to things discovered and uncovered in the vegetable garden.

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I add the following remarks to the stories Tati told me about the ’daughter who works’ because of a 1974 visit to Paris. On a walk up Rue de la Paix, from Rue St Honor´ e to the Opera, I saw a sign on yellow paper advertising a symphony or a ballet. Whether the event was soon to be performed or if it had already been performed didn’t then make much difference to me. The advertisement was written in a manner similar to the Egyptian Rosetta Stone, but in only two languages. In big, block letters the sign displayed Tzerendola, and below it Cinderella. As I wrote the stories told me I remembered the advertisement I saw in Paris. When sounded, Tzerendola seems remarkably similar to the Czech phrase “dcera co dela.” Since Tzerendola was made equal to Cinderella in Paris, so to me ’dcera co dela’ equals Cinderella! I often jump to conclusions. Jumping may not always be justified, but jumping is as much phun as a visit to Tivoli Gardens! The origin of the name Cinderella is probably more complex because a Czech book identifies her as Popelka. Furthermore, the root of Popelka is popel, which means an ash or cinder (from a fire). The circle is complete by observing that the first six letters of Cinderella are cinder (ash wouldn’t do). One can also leap to the conclusion that Cinderella is a good Czech to English translation of Popelka.

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