Friday, December 4, 2009

Tragedy for the Maczkos

In addition to being a hard-working farmer, Baba's father, Michael, was also the magistrate of Poruba for twelve years. In Hungarian this position is called "biros" (pronounced ‘beer-ose’). This must have lent status to the family, but whether it was an appointed position or an inherited position, and what his duties were is not known. In the fall of 1904 Michael Csornej-Maczko came down with pneumonia and was taken in a wagon or cart to a doctor in Sobrance. Nothing could be done for him and he died on October 7.

Her father's death created hardship on the family which became more difficult when less than four years later, on February 16, 1908, Baba's mother died suddenly of what Baba thinks was most likely a heart attack, since she was found dead in her bed. According to their parents' will, Baba was to live with her oldest sister Mary, and Anna with sister Helen until each married. Unfortunately, Mary felt burdened by the added responsibility since she had a family of her own to care for. So Baba spent summers with her sister Helen and the remainder of the year with Mary, going to school and trying to help out and earn her board at both homes. Helen’s husband, Nicholas Czuprik, had a tendency to be gruff and yell often so Baba was afraid of him. She spent the long summer days tending oxen in the mountains which provided a service for Mr. Czuprik and kept her out of his way.

Baba felt like a lost sheep. Without a stable home and loving parents it seemed she did not have a place in her village any longer.

Click on this link for a view of the extinct volcano, Vihorlat, as viewed from Poruba looking north.

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