Summer memories are special. Most of us should remember school assignments where we had to write about our summer vacation. Some of us took trips to exotic places, some stayed at home enjoying the local scene and actually some of us worked the entire summer. There is not one of us that could not narrate a unique memorable event that happened some summer long ago or a more recent summer event. All those memories are the fabric of American society.
If you will indulge me I am going to relate a very recent summer experience that might not be the type of summer memory that you might have tucked away in your mind.
To set the scene my wife Irene welcomed our three grandsons from Buffalo to spend a week with us each summer. A much needed visit for us and a respite for the parents of 10 year old twin boys and their 5 year old brother. We also include our 7 year old granddaughter and her 5 year old brother on the various scheduled events, Two days at beautiful Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park were on the list of things to do. Bike and scooter riding and 2 trips to Kent Recycling were also weaved into the daily to do list. The movie “The BFG” was part of the busy week. (I highly recommend that movie).
By the end of the week we packed the 3 Buffalo boys up and waved good bye to their cousins and began our (sorry about this) “shuffle to off to Buffalo. It was a slow shuffle. With stops at Howe Caverns, watching fireworks from the lawn of our motel in Cobleskill , bowling a few frames, mining for Herkimer Diamonds and several hours in motel pools. A well rounded and busy shuffle.
Why the long tedious diary of two Grandparents? Well the experience happened during the shuffle but I wanted to brag a bit about what we did with our grandchildren prior to my summer experience that I wish to relate. The experience happened at 7:00 AM at the Inn at Cobleskill while I was waiting for the boys to wake up to continue the shuffle. I was reading an article in a local newspaper the “Daily Star” of Oneonta. It was in the Lifestyle Section that I met the Bozanic clan.
In a time period where people need safe spaces, where college students claim undue stress because the name of a person running for president is scrawled on the sidewalk where every one receives a trophy it is time to “Meet the Bozanic Family”.
The parents John from Croatia and Marta from the Czech Republic were married in 1921. In 1933 they bought a farm in Worchester, NY and moved there with their 5 children. By 1942 there were 11 children but a major trauma to the family occurred with the birth of the 12th child. Marta was in distress with the birth of number 12. While they tried to walk the 3 miles to the doctors in a blizzard they were forced to turn back to the farm where she gave birth but passed away 2 days later. John was determined to raise his children and did so. Each daughter remembers being coming the mother figure after the oldest daughter moved out. They had no running water or electricity. To bathe they filled up a big washtub and the oldest to youngest took turns bathing.
Ten years later another disaster struck the Bozanics. A tractor turned over on top of the father and crushed him to death. They were now without parents. Six were still living at home. An older sister and her husband became legal guardians and a 19 year old brother remained on the farm to help run what had transitioned from a dairy farm to a
cauliflower farm. They remained together and worked together. School was their respite from the toils and tribulations of their everyday life.
They remember the hard work and hard times, they remember that one of the
bonuses of school were real toilets but they also remember there was no whining. Now where does this lead us? To the Bozanics as adults. All 12 graduated from High School. Many went into the military. All weresuccessful.
Nick-got a chance to play for the NY baseball Giants and went on to manage a farm, Zita –was the 1st woman radio operator at La Guardia Airport, John worked on Apollo 13 as an electrical engi-neer, Mary-wrote and composed songs, Anne and Emily-became accomplished musicians, George-became a school teacher, Jean-ette-toured the country with the Air Force Band and earned a PhD from UCLA, Vera -joined the Air Force, Helen –is a Justice of the Peace, Don-worked for Westinghouse and holds many pa-tents in electron spin echo frequency, Larry worked for Ford and helped open Ford’s China facility.
Only six survive today but brother Donald offers this sage advice to the youth of today: “look around and see what you can do to improve the world…don’t just think about what you can do to make yourself feel better”.
Sage advise indeed to all of those cowering in their safe spaces.