My father Josef, his brother Anton, my uncle Louis Lozko, others in my clan were born in Romania in the early part of the 1910s. the political climate was very kinetic, borders and alliances shifting as with the wind. My side was of German stock, Louis and his kin were of Czecho stock and they all were in Romania as colonists, settling the rich farm lands but under-developed country.
Romania was the country of Vlad Dragul, or Vlad the Impaler, more of which can be said of him in another post http://dpjk.blogspot.com/2014/02/vlad-impaler.html.
Much legend arose about Vlad thanks to Bram Stoker but he had a valid response to Muslim encroachment.
My father remembers crossing the border into Serbia or Hungary with local Gypsies, riding on wagons that smuggled wine out and tobacco into Romania. Sometimes a rifle or shotgun, some other trade goods. They would stop by the border crossing usually manned by local boyos and slip them a bottle of brandy or bag of tobacco and all was well, see you later. That was border control, nice and easy, no muss no fuss and no terrorist plots.
In such a climate it would have been simple for a man or men as agents provocateur to travel about the land, following political leaders as they met their subjects or went to hunting lodges, so forth. They would be under orders from whichever country wanted to cause trouble and such is what happened to Archduke Franz Ferdinand. He was a pawn in the bigger game being played by Russia and Germany. We see how that turned out and it is not much of a stretch for us to see how the Russia/Ukraine situation is being played.
To a lesser extent watch how our southern border is being played by the United States and, well, whoever is behind Mexico and other Hispanic countries. You seriously don't think The Hispanics are at the front of this fracas do you?
After the Great War things got back to normal with borders re-defined. I think they drew them with a pencil, they shifted so often. My paternal grandfather died as a result of mustard gas and most of the younger folks got out of there, heading for the wonderful land of freedom and opportunity, The United States.
Even humble Louie Lozko, we all called him "Letsgo Lozko" set himself and family up outside Chicago. Five acres and some chicken coops and he hoisted and saluted the Stars and Stripes every morning, so grateful was he to be free. He raised bantam chickens.
Stop it chas. I'm starting to believe some of what you say.
BillH. Start believing Chas.
It was back in those days that my great grandfather won my great grandmother in a card game in Irkutsk, Siberia. Heady, crazy times.
@BillH: I take what you said as a compliment, sorta. All that stuff I wrote is true, taken from the oral history passed on to me by my elders. Boy I wish I would have had a tape recorder for it. Of course I play up on my uncle Letsgo, part of my commenter persona, but all true. A humble post on my crayons and wrapping paper blog: http://dpjk.blogspot.com/2014/06/fathers-day.html
Keep in mind, my ancestors were sturdy peasant stock with bloodlines in Germany, Czechoslovakia (back when it was two nation states), Romania, Hungary, probably some Polish mixed in, not certain. They were hard workers; folks like that from other countries carried us through the Depression and WWII if I may make that assertion. They ate lots of pork, sauerkraut, all the hardy dishes, schnitzel, kapusta, drank lotsa beer, danced to polka music.
I'm sure there are similar stories from other immigrant groups: the Mediterranean, Italians, Portuguese, Greeks, so forth. The point is, sturdy stock, good moral values and work ethic, appreciation for this country and all its freedoms and advantages. This is not limited to our country. I worked and lived in Toronto Canada for some years and saw the same character traits in immigrants there.
OK. I'm a ̶B̶e̶l̶i̶e̶b̶e̶r̶ believer.
@BillH: Wanting to follow in my uncle's footsteps I embarked on my own animal project. Uncle Letsgo had good luck with bantam chickens but I figured I could do better.
Ah, the conceit of youth. It bit me in the ass. Here's what happened:
I figured I could make lots of money breeding hamsters. Buy a male and a female and let nature take its course. Two and then four and eight, sixteen, ka-ching. So I did. Went to the pet shop, got a couple and set them up at home. In a "honeymoon" cage. Named them Crackers and Channing after some characters in John Waters' Pink Flamingos. I fed and watered them and watched for fur to fly but they didn't seem interested in each other. After a week or so with no connubial bliss I took 'em to my friend the Veterinarian and explained the situation.
"Aha" he sez, after examining them, "you got two males, yep."
Feeling foolish and disappointed, money making out the window, I took them home and re-named them "Ecstasy Bruce" and "Savage Roger".
Kept them for a couple years and gave them to my nephew. I did not tell him the story, nope.
chas - reminds me of the chinchilla craze in the mid-50s. Even without cable TV, and nothing like the internet, the hucksters were peddling home chinchilla kits like crazy. Everyone was going to get rich. I had neighbors that bit.