For an orange

My father’s family lived in a small village southeast of the city, an area known primarily for paprika growing. It’s where I began also, until my birth which took us to Budapest for the big event, then back to Szabadszallas.

During the Hungarian uprising after World War two, my father made the decision to leave our home-land due to direct experience with Communist forces. He was a medical and surgical instrument designer and fabricator working for some of the top surgeons in Hungary. After many of these men were killed or their hands broken, and other atrocities, he felt he would be destroyed by this regime also. He planned our escape over the border into Austria along with my Aunt, Uncle, their son and Uncle’s Mother. This exodus involved a train trip to a town close to the border, then longer travel on foot over snow covered fields with Russian tanks patrolling the area and shooting on sight. We found our way to a refugee camp in Austria where we stayed until a country would take us. We were late to the party and America, Canada and many other countries were backed up and the wait was years for entry, if at all. 

Eszes Nagy Mama, My father Laszlo, cute little me, and my Aunt Julia

An opportunity arose for us to leave the camp. My mother was in early stage pregnancy with my brother, so the camp doctor signed papers that she was not, instructed her how to wear her coat to hide the fact, and we boarded an American transport plane out of Austria. One of the many stories retold in our new land was about the sale of my mother’s wedding ring to buy an orange through the flourishing black markets in the refugee camp. I’ve always felt guilty about that, and we’ve bought her many jewelry items she declined wearing, preferring to retell her “sacrifice for an orange story”, for ever after. In dramatic fashion mind you, and not just dramatic fashion, but full blown Hungarian dramatic fashion if you know what I mean, ” I dawnt need jovelree, I have my cheeldran”

Ironically, I now live in the home I love best of anywhere I have lived outside Hungary. This home was originally built in the middle of orange groves, acres and acres of groves. I think God has a wicked sense of humor.

Recipe:
Paprika, salt, sugar.
Combine and add to almost any fruit or vegetable to enhance flavor.

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