Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 8)

After the big cemetery visit and walking tour around town, it was time to go back to the house. Before we entered the kitchen we took our shoes off and turned them upside down.

Renata’s mother was hard at work–cooking again! This time, for dinner, we enjoyed Holupky (stuffed cabbage) and potatoes.

Photo by Lisa A. Alzo

More wine, and more nut and poppyseed rolls! Everything was so delicious! We enjoyed more time talking about the Alzo family in America and the Alzo families in Slovakia–making connections, sharing stories. Renata’s father reminded me so much of my own father. They were first cousins and shared the same first name (Jan, John), as well as the Alzo smile and sense of humor. Jan agreed to take a DNA test the next day (I brought a kit with me). I had hoped Jan would agree to do the test because my father had taken one a few years before he died. Up until now there have not been any matches in the database. But, after spending the day with Jan, I knew he did not have to take the test to prove we were blood relatives. Still, I was glad I brought the kit along.

After a very long, but fulfilling day, it was time to call it a night. As I was about to shut my eyes and go to sleep, I was thinking how surreal it was to be sleeping in a bed in the house on the land where my grandfather once slept. I felt so grateful to my grandfather–for having the courage to leave his home and family and start a new life in America.

Ján Alzo

Andrej Alzo

I thought about how he left his parents, his home and the village. Renata told me that my great-grandmother was so heartbroken when he left that she wanted to have another baby. It was not long after that Renata’s grandfather, Andrej, was born. But these two brothers never met face to face. They only knew of each other from photographs and letters sent across the ocean. I just kept thinking: “how sad.”

I was looking forward to the next day–we would be having a family luncheon and I would be meeting more Alzo relatives!

to be continued…

Photos owned by Lisa A. Alzo

Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo

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