Eternal Memory by Ann Walko
Eternal Memory: A 91 year-old womens's remarkable story of her romance with America.
The precious gift of story-telling is beautifully illustrated as Ann Walko shares tales of warmth and humor that hightlights her immigrant family's arrival on the shores of America in the early 1900s. Far from their homeland in Slovakia, the Carpatho Rusyn immigrants faced hardships and prejudice with stoic pride and resiliency in the industrial city of Pittsburgh. 91 year-old Ann Walko shares touching memeories of Mama, Pap, Uncle Fedor, and Aunt Julia as she weaves a heartwarming story of lifetimes gone by.
"My stories are about a people who came from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, the "Pod Karpacki Rus," named by the Greeks, the Ruthenians.
Not much has been said about the people of whom I write. Living undisturbed in the shadow of thr Tatra Mountains, the historian passed them by. I will share an observation made in the early 1930s.
Unrest in Central Europe prompted "Life" magazine to do an article on the area. Included was a map of the region. At once my attention was centered on the spot from wence my people came. There was kosice, then, in the east, the smaller-lettered Mihalovce, where I began to read, "the least civilized people of Europe live here." Least civilized? Of all Europe? Mentally I hugged the pharase. What did "Life"?
When America opened its doors -- when a thoroughfare was forged from there to here, they came, and that which missed the grasp of the chronicler, came with them. Pockets of Slavic peoples sprang up all over the new land; wherever there was a need for labor, they settled, a sauerkraut barrell in ever cellar, a slab of bacon on every table, a string of mushrooms drying at the back of every stove.
Many years ago, Walter Cronkite said of the early immigration period: "...in the history of mankind this never happened before, and will never happen again."
This is not only true of the period -- it is also true of the Slavic peasant who came to these shores at the time: It will never happen again."
Ann Walko obtained her long-awaited college degree from the University of Pittsburgh at the age of 55. She has published several short stories in the "Atlantic Monthly" and the "Pittsburgh Press." She is 91 years-old and still active as a volunteer. Walko makes her home in Wall, Pennsylvania.
182 pages, paperback
The book is now out of print.
Back to Genealogical Research in Slovakia
Back to the Czech and Slovak Bookshop