Welcome, Mr. Bishop!

Author: Zuzana Gaborova/Jan Oracko
Location: Brno
I taped this story with my grandfather.
Grandpa is seventy-five. He was born in Holmunica, a beautiful village near Tatry in Slovakia. He lived there until his fifties, when he moved with his family to Brno in search of a job and a better life.
Grandma was also home when I went to see grandpa and kept interrupting. She wanted to tell everything her way, but grandpa wouldn’t let her. He said he could remember it better than anyone.
"I remember some things that my father did in Holumnica.
I was ten, my eldest brother was thirteen, and my younger brothers and sisters weren’t old enough yet to go to school. The priest was teaching us to read and write. He had a little slate, and used it to teach us to write.
My father felt sorry for him having to do all that work, and wanted to get a teacher for us. He and the priest wrote to the Spisska Chapter and described the situation. They said there was no teacher in the village but there were pupils.
They got a letter back asking them to write again and say how many pupils there were in the village.
You needed fifteen children to get a teacher. But there were only ten Romani children. The shepherds’ children went to the German school. The Gypsies didn’t want to go there, and the shepherds didn’t want to change schools. But my father put all the children on the list and sent it off to the Chapter by himself.
The bishop came to open the new school and my father put a welcome sign on his gate: ‘Welcome Mister Bishop!’ it said.
Then the Germans didn’t want to give us wood. But my father fought for it. He took all the Roms and organized a demonstration, with the slogan ‘You won’t give wood: we smash your windows.’ So the Germans gave wood.
Our teacher was very nice. He taught us everything we needed to know. And the shepherds had to go to our school.”

2 Responses to “Welcome, Mr. Bishop!”

  1. Caute!
    Byvam v Holumnici a mam 16 rokov. Hladal som si informácie onej na internete. Medzi nimi som našiel aj vašu ,,Story”. Je zaujímavá, ale predovšetkým sa mi páèi to ako ovládate angliètinu.

  2. I remember Your Grandpa very well.He married my sister Justina from Hrabusice.One of the kindess man I ever met.
    I wrote a poem about him and Justina from the time they were dating. When I find it I will mail it to you.
    My greetings of the Season and Happy and Merry Christmas for the family and all our beloved Roma people in the world.May God Bless you all.
    Adam Kroscen from Canada

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