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Re: [TexasCzechs] Agnes Sykora Kucera & Bordovice, CZ; I remember

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  • Rosemary Ermis
    You re welcome. Rosemary ... From: Lois Petter Pereira To: TexasCzechs@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, October 01, 2010 8:17 PM Subject: Re: [TexasCzechs] Agnes
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 1, 2010
      You're welcome.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, October 01, 2010 8:17 PM
      Subject: Re: [TexasCzechs] Agnes Sykora Kucera & Bordovice, CZ; I remember


      wow, what a great story. Thanks for digging for these Rosemary..lois 
      Lois Petter Pereira
      Researching Petter, Vitek, Bartos, Papez, Polasek, Kostelnik, Rada, Hlavica, Orsak, Urban, Susil, Manak, Rosenzwieg, Brdusikova, Halla, Psencikove, Slovakove, Susila, Susily

      From: Rosemary Ermis <roseermis@...>
      To: TexasCzechs@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Fri, September 24, 2010 7:37:31 PM
      Subject: [TexasCzechs] Agnes Sykora Kucera & Bordovice, CZ; I remember


      Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Sun. Feb. 7, 1965   
      I Remember:  Czech Farm Life in 1880 by Jerry Wilson
      It was a long day for a school girl in Bordovice, Czechoslovakia in the 1880's.
      Mrs. Agnes Kucera, 87, recalls that the school day, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. was followed by chores around the farm.
      She grew up on a farm in a small village near the Polish border in central Czechoslovakia.  Her father John Sykora, owned 40 acres of land which produced wheat, oats, and potatoes.  Am small orchard supplied them with cherries, apples, etc...
      With her four brothers and three sisters, she went to the public school six days a week.  There was a half-holiday on Thursday.  Vacation meant six summer weeks.
      The children took turns with all the chores, helping care for the 3 cows, geese, goats and sheep.  An acre of timberland produced their firewood.
      The Austro-Hungarian Empire's conscription and tax laws weighed heavily on the small farmer.
      "We had a good farm," she remembers, "there was plenty of rainfall and our crops were good.  We had plenty of everything but we had to sell everything we could to pay the taxes and take care of our needs.  Most of the milk and butter was sold.  We had meat only on Sunday and now and then some milk and butter but mostly we ate sauerkraut, fruit and bread."
      School attendance was rigidly enforced and children from 8 to 14 were required to go to public school.  The father was required to account for any absence from school.
      The schools were very good," she said, "we were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and science."
      They had "something very special in our school, a sample of cotton from the United States."  The children had never seen raw cotton before.
      There were two rooms in the school and two teachers.  The teachers then were always men.
      On Sundays, the family walked to church, about three miles away.  She says that they measured distance by the time it took to walk.
      In the summer, after Mass, the teacher would sometimes take the children on a picnic.  This was usually their only time of recreation.
      With much amusement she explained, "I still remember one of my teachers and how we all laughed when he fell into the river."
      The rigid caste system gave a sense of frustration to the Czechoslovakians.  In the summer there were outdoor parties and weddings.  Only the wealthy people had wedding celebrations with music and food and dancing.  These celebrations lasted for several days.
      "The poor people could not afford these weddings and they served what food they had and the celebration lasted for only a day.  In our country the poor married the poor and the rich married the rich and there was no chance of a change."  Mrs. Kucera said.  Frenstat, the nearest town, was about three miles away.  None of the people in the small village played any musical instruments and the only ones who could have music were the rich who afford to send for the musicians.  The poor had to be content with singing.  There were festivals which were mostly gymnastics.
      The boys were required to complete military service before they could marry.  In addition they were expected to take care of both sets of parents should the need arise.  They could not marry before they were 24.
      "We girls had to wait for the boys and could not marry before we were 20 or more," she recalled.  The bride was expected to bring money to the marriage to help set up housekeeping.
      In order to escape the enforced military service, Mrs. Kucera's uncle came to America.  He lived here several years, married, and started a farm.
      Later he went back to Austria to persuade the Sykora family to come to America.  They sold the farm and decided to move to America where they felt they would have a better future.
      The uncle brought the entire Sykora family back and they arrived in Galveston in September, 1895.  Mrs. Kucera was 1 years old.  She stayed with her uncle and aunt and worked for them.  The rest of the family moved to Fayetteville where they rented a farm.  Two years later Mr. Kucera was able to earn enough to move back home with them.
      The family then moved to a farm near West and it was there, at a dance, that she met Charlie Kucera.  Their wedding day was a rainy one.
      "I remember it rained and rained," Mrs. Kucera recalled.  "We had prepared for a large celebration with plenty of food and drinks for everyone.  But no one could get to the farm because there were no paved roads, just mud.  The family was there and we were all so sad.  My mother had had a three-day celebration at her wedding but I had nothing but lots of food and rain, rain, rain."
      The Kuceras farmed for 34 years in West.  They moved to Robstown and later bought a home at 3005 Lexington in 1946.  Charlie Kucera died in 1948 and Mrs. Kucera, who speaks no English, lives with her maid and companion.
      They had six children.  They are Charlie and William Kucera of Gregory, Mrs. Janie Dlabja and Mrs. Joe Pavelka of Kennedy and Albin and Eddie Kucera of Corpus Christi.  There are 28 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
      Mrs. Kucera enjoys good health and is looking forward to Monday night when she will attend the Harlem Globetrotters' program which will include a performance by the Czechoslovakia State Folk Dance Troupe at Memorial Coliseum.
      This will be the first performance here of the Czech dancers which are in this country on a cultural exchange program.
      And if her "feet hold out," Mrs. Kucera will go to a party given by local Czech organizations for the visiting dancers.  The party at Moravian Hall will feature a midnight supper of typical Czech food, and the Majek polka band will play.
      Submitted by Rosemary Ermis

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