A Tale For My Grandchildren This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   For about 15 years, I took for granted something very special to me, something most people don't realize they have until it's gone. This special something is my grandmother, or Gizi, as we often call her.

Gizi and I never really talked, for I always thought Gizi is just old. What could she know? But over the last year I have realized that I haven't heard half of the sage and fascinating stories that have built up in a lifetime of experience.

After sixteen years of living with my grandmother, I only recently discovered what she had gone through when she escaped from Hungary the year of the Communist Revolution - 1957. Over the years, I have heard bits and pieces of what happened during that escape for freedom, but only yesterday did I hear the real facts.

It was the winter of '57, and my grandmother had to carry my one-year-old mother across the Hungarian border to escape a life which promised only fear.

Gizi first paid a guide to bring them across the border in the dark of night. While hiding behind bushes containing razor-sharp thorns, my grandmother awaited the switching of the guards who were stationed in the high towers overlooking the wide plateaus. When the time was right, Gizi quickly ran across the border, not knowing when a lighting-quick bullet might pierce her frozen flesh. Many people who escaped fell into the deep, rock-filled ditches, breaking many parts of their worn-out bodies. They later froze to death or were shot in the morning.

By daybreak, Gizi reached Yugoslavia, with only a small suitcase containing a stuffed bear and my mother's clothes. They remained in the refugee camp for eleven months where they stayed in one small room, which housed one hundred people, crammed like sardines. They were fed rotten cabbage once in a while. There was no hot water.

When my mom and Gizi finally left the rat-infested camp, they flew to America where the two of them have lived ever since. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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