I enjoyed reading the impression that those words made on his life and the interesting chain of events that resulted from childhood memories of his grandfather's references to the family members still left behind in Ireland.
Thomas Lynch's idea of "the first poetry of life" is a thought-provoking one. It sparked in me the desire to remember the "poetry" or "soundtrack" of my own childhood. In the process I asked myself some questions. What were the first sounds and words that have most influenced my view of the world? Whose words do I remember most clearly from my early days, and why?
One of the strongest memories that I do have, perhaps because it stood out from the voices of other family members, was the strong accent of my great-grandmother.
|Lisa with Grammy Ulaky|
I loved hearing my great-grandmother speak with her strong accent, and I enjoyed listening to her childrens' pronunciations of Hungarian words. At one point in my childhood, I asked my grandmother to help me write out a Hungarian glossary of the words and phrases that she used most, pronunciation guide included. I still have the handwritten list of Hungarian words that I made that day. Unfortunately, my proficiency with the language has not gotten too far beyond that first start.
The loss of my family's link to the Croatian and Hungarian languages, woven throughout the lives of my family members just a couple of generations ago, saddens me. It is perhaps one of the reasons that I find myself drawn more and more to learning the history, culture and languages of the lands of my ancestors. I am thankful that at the very least I had a small taste of these wonderfully rich cultures as a young child in the "first poetry" of my life.
For more on the Croatian and Hungarian languages here at 100 Years in America, see: