this is a sad little tale....but kinda fitting with our genealogy....might
explain WHAT happened to some or OUR people.
<< BUT FOR THIS...
By Lajos Zilahy, published in "The Bedside Esquire," Arnold
Gingrich, Ed., New York: Tudor Publishing Co., 1940.
He didn't stop to wash the turpentine from his hands,
but merely dried them on the rag that was hanging on a nail
behind the door.
Then he untied the green carpenter's apron from his
waist and shook the shavings from his trousers.
He put on his hat and, before going out the door,
turned to the old carpenter who was standing with his back
to him, stirring the glue. His voice was weary as he said:
A strange mysterious feeling had shivered in him
There had been a bad taste in his mouth.
For a moment his hand would stop moving the plane,
and his eyes would close, tired.
He went home and listlessly ate his supper.
He lived at an old woman's, the widow of Ferenz Borka,
in bare little room which had once been a wood shed.
That night on the fourth day of October, 1874 at a
quarter past one in the morning, the journeyman carpenter,
John Kovacs, died.
He was a soft-spoken, sallow faced man, with sagging
shoulders and a rusty mustache.
He died at the age of thirty-five.
Two days later, they buried him.
He left no wife, nor child behind, no one but a cook
living in Budapest in the services of a bank president, by the
name of Torday.
She was John Kovacs' cousin.
Five years later, the old carpenter in whose shop he
had worked, died, and nine years later death took the old woman
in whose shed he had lived.
Fourteen years later, Torday's cook, John Kovacs'
Twenty one years later in the month of March in 1895
in a pub at the end of Kerepesiut, cabbies sat around a red
clothed table drinking wine.
It was late in the night, it must have been three
o'clock. They sprawled with their elbows on the table, shaking
with raucous laughter.
Clouds of thick smoke from vile cigars curled around
them. They recalled the days of their military service.
One of them, a big, ruddy-faced, double-chinned coachman
whom they called Fritz, was saying:
"Once my friend, the corporal, made a recruit stick his
head into the stove..."
And at this point he was seized by a violent fit of
laughter as he banged the table with the palm of his hand.
"Jeez!" he roared.
The veins swelled on his neck and temples and for many
minutes he choked, twitched and shook with convulsive laughter.
When he finally calmed down he continued, interrupting
himself with repeated guffaws.
"He made him stick his head into the stove and in there
he made him shout one hundred times 'Herr Zugsfierer, ich melde
gehorsammst'...poor chump, there he was on all fours and we
paddled his behind till the skin almost split on our fingers."
Again he stopped to get over another laughing spell.
Then he turned to one of the men. "Do you remember,
Franzi?" Franzi nodded.
The big fellow put his hand to his forehead.
"Now... what was the fellow's name..."
Franzi thought for a moment and then said: "Ah . . .
a . . . Kovacs . . . John Kovacs."
That was the last time ever a human voice spoke the name
of John Kovacs.
On November the tenth, in 1899, a woman suffering from
heart disease was carried from an O Buda tobacco factory to
St. John's Hospital. She must have been about forty-five years old.
They put her on the first floor in ward number 3.
She lay there on the bed, quiet and terrified; she knew
she was going to die.
It was dark in the ward, the rest of the patients were
already asleep: only a wick sputtered in a small blue oil lamp.
Her eyes staring wide into the dim light, the woman
reflected upon her life.
She remembered a summer night in the country, and a
gentle-eyed young man, with whom their fingers linked she was
roaming over the heavy scented fields and through whom that
night she became a woman.
That young man was John Kovacs and his face, his voice,
the glance of his eyes had now returned for the last time.
But this time his name was not spoken, only in the mind
of this dying woman did he silently appear for a few moments.
The following year a fire destroyed the Calvinist rectory and
its dusty records that contained the particulars of the birth
and death of John Kovacs.
In January, 1901, the winter was hard.
Toward evening in the dark a man dressed in rags climbed
furtively over the ditch that fenced in the village cemetery.
He stole two wooden crosses to build a fire.
One of the crosses had marked the grave of John Kovacs.
Again two decades passed.
In 1923, in Kecskemet, a young lawyer sat at his desk
making an inventory of his father's estate.
He opened every drawer and looked carefully through
every scrap of paper.
On one was written: "Received 4 Florins, 60 kraciers.
The price of two chairs polished respectfully Kovacs John."
The lawyer glanced over the paper, crumpled it in his hand
and threw it into the wastepaper basket.
The following day the maid took out the basket and emptied
it in the far end of the courtyard.
Three days later it rained.
The crumpled paper soaked through and only this much
remained on it:
". . . Kova . . . J . . . "
The rain had washed away the rest; the letter "J" was
These last letters were the last lines, the last speck
of matter that remained of John Kovacs.
A few weeks later the sky rumbled and the rain poured
down as though emptied from buckets.
On that afternoon the rain washed away the remaining letters.
The letter "v" resisted longest, because there where the
line curves in the "v" John Kovacs had pressed on his pen.
Then the rain washed that away too.
And in that instant forty-nine years after his death
the life of the journeyman carpenter ceased to exist and
forever disappeared from this earth . . . But for this . .