Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Vicious Chiffonier - Part I

In the 1970s my maternal grandfather, Martin, and his brother, Ted, sat down and recorded their recollections. Both of them were born in Transylvania/Romania/Hungary in a small town called Varalmas, Nagyalmas, or Almasu, depending upon the language.

This is being written for the 34th Carnival of Genealogy, which is themed for the Halloween season. However, despite the setting for the tale, there are no vampires involved. And while wolves will be briefly mentioned, they probably weren't of the were-variety. I briefly considered titling this post "The Were-Chiffonier" for the poetic qualities, but settled on the current title for accuracy. There isn't anything supernatural about this, it's unknown what time of year it occurred, or even whether it occurred under a full moon. But horror stories are one of the sub-themes, and this may well be the most horrific story I have discovered in my family's past. I hope I never discover anything that exceeds it.

I've had this audiotape for a while, and digitized it a year or so ago, but I made a transcription specifically for this entry. It's been on my to-do list, but it got moved up a bit, for which I am grateful. This way, instead of just summarizing the events, I can use the words of my grandfather and great-uncle.

After they announce that they’re going to talk about an Accident that brought the number of family members from seven to six, several minutes are spent discussing years, birthdates, and ages. They know their parents were married in 1898, and they think the oldest child, Jean, was born in 1899, and Armon, 1900. However, it’s also possible Jean was born in 1900 and Armon 1901.

The year of the accident is never stated, but from the ages of the children, it was probably 1908. Ted was about six at the time, and my grandfather, Martin, was two. The other main player is ‘Ed’ who was between Ted and Martin in age.

Ted: It happened that Dad always carried a gun when he went out of the village. He carried a gun with him because you travel through the mountains

Martin: Highway robberies

Ted: Not robbers, but

Martin: Hunting

Ted: Protection. Not not hunting, Protection from wolves.

Martin: Animals.

Ted: There are wolves around when you cross the mountains. He always had a gun

Martin: A revolver. A pistol.

Ted: A revolver or handgun. For protection. Not from robbers, but he did run into wolves. Wolves run in packs and you never know when they will attack you. Especially if you camp at night.

Martin: I wondered about that and how a gun got into the house.

This post is getting long, so I’m going to break and continue it in a second post.

No comments: