I was born March 23rd, 1936 in Hungary. In 1956 I was studying mechanical engineering in a town called Gyöngyös, which is 90 kilometers east of Budapest. At the time, the town was occupied by Communist Russia.
I didn’t like communism because the Communists were very strict and they didn't like freedom. I was a young kid – maybe twenty years old – and one night I got drunk and decided to throw eggs at statues of Lenin and Stalin. Somebody saw me throwing eggs, took a photo and showed it to the higher ups in the Communist Party.
My family was friendly with a big Communist party member. He came over to my house the day after the egg-throwing incident.
“You are a nice kid but you are against Russia. They have a list of people who are against the government and you are on it. You better leave now because you never know when they are gonna get you, put you against a wall and shoot you.”
That night I fled to Austria. I found a good job making washing machines in Vienna. My boss liked me but knew I eventually wanted to move to America. He said: “Don't go to America. Stay here and I’ll help you buy a nice house and find you a nice lady to marry.”
But I always knew America was the place for me, the place where there was the most freedom.
I spent three years in Austria waiting for someone in the U.S. to help me out. I wrote letters to my mother in Hungary, “Please momma help me find someone in the U.S.” Eventually my mother wrote a letter to an ex-teacher of hers who happened to have a brother in Cleveland. He brought me to U.S – it was a miracle.
I moved to Cleveland and eventually made my way to New York. I worked at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Company making top secret instruments for the spacecraft that went to moon. I had to wear special badges that were only given to people that worked on top secret projects. They made me swear on the American flag that I wouldn’t disclose any information, and I was so proud to swear on that American flag after all I had been through.
I met my wife Cecelia while she was up from Colombia visiting her sister. I was working at a different job in Flushing, New York. I was under one of the big machines when all of the sudden my foreman said, “My goodness. What a piece of behind on that one.”
I rolled out from under the machine and looked at the woman walking down the street. She was a very sexy looking lady and I knew I had to ask her out on a date. But when I approached her there was one problem: she couldn't Speak English and I couldn’t speak Spanish. So everywhere we went we needed her sister to come with us and translate, but we all had a wonderful time. Cecelia and I eventually made a pact: I would teach her English and she would teach me Spanish and we would be together.
A few weeks after meeting Cecelia my momma was visiting from Hungary. I invited Cecilia and Innis over to meet her. Momma cooked delicious food the whole night. After dinner Momma said, “You know my son I like these two girls. They are so kind and sweet and simple. You should marry one of them.”
“Okay momma I will try.”
I tried, and succeeded, and we’ve been married for fifty-three years.
Goose Chronicles Outtakes:
“Is there a key to marriage?”
“I met so many intelligent men in my life. Engineers. Lawyers. Doctors. They all told me the same thing: if you want to stay married for a long time there are three secrets: close one eye, close one ear and finish every statement with, 'yes my love!'
“I speak Hungarian, English, German and Russian.”
“Don’t forget Spanish. You learned Spanish so we could communicate.”
“Oh yeah. Spanish too.”
“Did you mind when he chased you out of the shop and down the street?”
“When you are drunk you don't mind.”
“Guillermo from Colombia became a good friend of ours. He lived in Whitestone, New York. He used to tell me, ‘You are one lucky guy. When Cynthia lived in Bogota she held up traffic. They called her Bonita the beautiful in Bogota.’”
“Before we got married I had many girlfriends and made love to many girls and all the girls used to say, ‘Thank you my dear. You satisfied me.’ And like Frank Sinatra I used to sing back, ‘Baby I did it myyy wayyy!’
(As Cecelia cast him a sideways glance.)
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