Visits and Achievements

I think this was the very last picture of us while our family still lived in the same house, and were doing things together.

I think this was the very last picture of us while our family still lived in the same house, and were doing things together.

Judy, George and Louis with me on the steps of the Paul Getty Museum at Malibu in the mid-1970's.

After Lajos' death, his Family back in Budapest expressed their desire to have one of my children to go and visit them. The idea to visit and to meet her Father's relations was very exciting, and Judy volunteered to take the trip. She told me, she could easily take off from school for few months, and already had more credits in her studies than was requested. The children were the beneficiaries of the small life insurance after their Dad; and that was the money I used to buy her tickets and cover the expenses of the trip. Throughout the following years I have saved enough to put the money back to use it again first for Louis, and later for George.

The visit was wonderful for Judy who was learning to speak Hungarian again. Mama was cooking her best dishes for her, the Aunts were lots of fun, and the cousins took her sightseeing, and to fieldtrips.

Judy by the gate of our old Home at Klotildliget in the Fall of 1975.

Judy by the gate of our old Home at Klotildliget in the Fall of 1975.

Judy at the front of our old Home at Klotildliget in the Fall of 1975.

Judy at the front of our old Home at Klotildliget in the Fall of 1975. Apparently, the new owner had changed the gate and the fencing from what we had three decades ago.

My family in Sopron was also overjoyed at meeting my daughter, when my sister-in-law, Ella and her family took Judy to visit them. It was very tragic that shortly after this visit Misi, Ella's husband, suddenly died of a heart attack.

Lujza neni, Kati, Rezso, Mami, Misi, Ella, Edit in the back row, and Editke, Judy and kis Rezso sitting on the floor.

Judy visited Mami in Sopron, Fall of 1975. Lujza neni, Kati, Rezso, Mami, Misi, Ella, Edit in the back row, and Editke, Judy and kis Rezso sitting on the floor.

Ilike, Judy, Ella, kis Kati, Mama at the front row, and Misike, Kati and Gyuszi in the back

Ilike, Judy, Ella, kis Kati, Mama at the front row, and Misike, Kati and Gyuszi in the back in Budapest, Winter 1975. Picture was taken after Ella's husband, Misi's death.

POST NOTE: Just got the news today that yesterday, May 24, 2012 my dear friend and contact to Lajos' family, Ella (third from the left above), has passed away in a retirement home at Godollo, Hungary. She had a very tragic life; after she lost her husband unexpectedly in 1975, her only son, Misike had a fatal car accident in 1980. My daughter, Judy visited her again in the summer following this tragic occasion, and we kept in touch with letters and phone calls for 31 more years. In 1986 Louis went to Europe which visit resulted in Ella's trip to the US in 1988, where she stayed with me and Len in Paso Robles,CA, with Louis in Hermosa Beach CA, and with Judy and family in Dallas, TX, for a few weeks. She also visited George and Tessie in Santa Barbara, CA. In the Fall of 1987 Len and I traveled to Hungary - the first time after my escape in 1956 - and had the pleasure of staying with her for few days.

Ella was a very warm-hearted and loving person who tried to overcome her sorrows and the constant illnesses of the last two decades. She was devoted to Orsika, her only granddaughter from Misike's marriage, who presented her with two great-grandkids, Csenge and Csanad.

Rest in Peace, my dear Friend!

Ella with granddaughter Orsika Ella with great-granddaughter Csenge

Ella with granddaughter Orsika and great-granddaughter Csenge.

Of course, we all missed Judy dearly, and could hardly wait for her return. When she came home after four months of being away, we were very much surprised to see that she had became a Hungarian teenager. Of course, she changed back fast to her American self as soon as she went back to school.

My accounting job with the Department of the Navy proved to be the kind of profession I was very good at. When opportunity came I got enrolled in the Oxnard College to study Public Administration on the junior level. Some of my classes were held on the Base at different locations, but some of them were presented in the same complex I was working at. After the two years I decided to change my major to Accounting and was transferring my credits to La Verne University. My main goal was to receive a Bachelor of Science degree that would bring me the desired promotions in the Accounting Department. The classes were in the evening hours at a different Navy Base, where the University had extended. In the same time Louis already graduated from High School and was at UCL in Los Angeles, taking advantages of his scholarships. Judy was in High School and George in Junior High at Camarillo still.

Before long Judy graduated from high school and decided to take some time off from her studies. She applied for and got a job at the other Navy Base, and pretty soon moved out from our home to an apartment to reside with one of the girls she was working with. My own studies at the University kept me pretty busy along with my full-time job, but I still rushed home after work to cook dinner for George. Luckily, Judy's apartment was on my way from work, and on days I didn't have any evening classes I stopped off to use the pool at the apartment complex for a good swim. Those days swimming was part of my daily routine; every morning before work I went to the near-by public pool to swim my half a mile. But our once busy and lively home became somewhat quiet and empty.

George and Fluffy kept in good company, Camarillo, 1977

George and Fluffy kept in good company, Camarillo, 1977.

On the top of everything, for the first time since I had left home, I was becoming very homesick. I knew I could not go home, not even for a short visit. During the years I had invited my Mother to come out to see us, and she always declined. She was very fragile and had to use two canes for walking, and, of course her advanced age was a factor. But I think the fact that she never flew in her life also had a big part in her refusal. I wrote to her again explaining my situation and loneliness, and after a few more letters had been exchanged, my Mother finally agreed to take the trip. I'm still having problems describing my feelings when I first saw her emerging from Customs at the Los Angeles airport. She was sitting in a wheelchair and an attendant was pushing her. Her tired face was sparkling with happiness and tears. We all ran to her and held her in our arms; we took her out of the wheelchair and took her home.

Mami with Louis and George in our home in Camarillo in the Fall of 1978.

Mami with Louis and George in our home in Camarillo in the Fall of 1978.

Mami and Me after 22 years of not seeing each other in Camarillo, Fall of 1978.

Mami and me after 22 years of not seeing each other in Camarillo, Fall of 1978

Mami with Judy and me at our home in Camarillo in 1978.

Mami with Judy and me at our home in Camarillo in 1978. I was able to put my arm around her after 22 years apart.

It took a few days to get the tiredness from the long flight out of Mami's bones, but she never complained and was very adaptable to the American lifestyle. I was using all my available leave from work, and dropped a quarter from my studies. Judy and Louis came to be with her as often as they could; George was in High School now, and was home early every afternoon. I think that Mami was enjoying her almost grown-up grandchildren a great deal, even though they could only communicate with her in their broken Hungarian.

I introduced my few local Hungarian and American friends to her, and sometimes we vent to visit, or to the shopping mall. Unfortunately, her visiting permit was only good for 5 weeks, and the departing just came too fast. At the airport we made Mami give us a promise to return for a much longer visit. Five minutes after her plane left we already missed her dearly.

1980 was a very good year for us. In the month of May I received my diploma of Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. With this paper in my hand I was able to transfer to an Upward Mobility Accountant position to the other Command at the Base. I was to work in the Accounting Department rotating every year to a different field of the profession. With the rotations and the successful knowledge of each field I was to be promoted gradually to the top of my pay scale. Louis also finished his studies of Computer Science at UCLA, and was hired locally by a very large and reputable company. George graduated from High School and was accepted by the University of Santa Barbara starting that Fall. I wrote to my Mother and with her consent I arranged her second visit, this time for 6 months duration. She came out in September, two weeks after George left to go to the University.

Mami came back to us, Fall of 1980

Mami came back to us, Fall of 1980.

Mami and me are going to the Shopping Mall, Winter of 1980

Mami and me are going to the Shopping Mall, Winter of 1980.

Again I took out all my saved-up leaves from work and the kids came home quite often. Of course, most of the time when I had to go to work Mami was all by herself with Fluffy. To break her day and to make sure she was doing fine, I called her up every day at the same time before lunch. She was reading a lot and was writing mysteriously in her little notebook between the short walks that she took with Fluffy on our driveway several times a day. She said that Fluffy and she were exactly the same age; they had grown very found of each other.

Mami and Judy are taking a walk with Fluffy on our street in Camarillo.

Mami and Judy are taking a walk with Fluffy on our street in Camarillo, Winter of 1980.

Louis came often to be with us and Mami and Fluffy had become very good friends

Louis came often to be with us and Mami and Fluffy had become very good friends, Camarillo, Winter of 1980.

Time went fast and Christmas came rushing with the hot Santa Ana wind. The temperature rose up to 90 F., and it was very hard to keep up our Holiday spirit. Nevertheless, our celebration was very joyful with Mami among us. The kids bought some presents for her, a wristwatch and a thin gold necklace with a black pendant, because they knew my Mother had to sell the jewelry that she had been left with after the War for our survival. This Christmas will be forever in my heart.

When the day arrived for her return flight, Mami asked us to take the Coast Highway to the Airport, she wanted to see the Ocean one more time. This route was much longer than on the Interstate and we got to the Airport a bit late; the attendants were already waiting for her with the wheelchair. It struck me then that if I ever want to see her again I would have to make the trip.

After my Mother went back to Hungary, a deep depression came over me. The children were gone and there were no more classes to attend to, but mainly, I missed my Mother's presence in my home. The house was so quiet that I was playing my classical records and tapes constantly on the stereo in all of my waking hours. I had to rearrange my finances, but I bought a second-hand console piano for the living room. For as long as I can remember, I always played when I had a chance, just like a gypsy by the ear. It was time for me to improve and I found a local teacher who was giving me piano lessons at her home. I practically had no social life during the past long years, but now I enrolled in a Ballroom Dancing class, and started to enjoy myself, even went out for few dates.

Alone with my Music dreaming the Impossible Dream. Camarillo, Spring 1981

Alone with my Music dreaming the Impossible Dream. Camarillo, Spring 1981.

  1. Home Page
  2. My Parents and our Family
  3. The Lean Years after World War II
  4. The Turning Point and Escape
  5. My new Family in a new Country
  6. Our New Life
  7. Visits and Achievements
  8. My Second Marriage
  9. Travels and Changes
  10. The Golden Years
  11. Reflections

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