After learning of her family’s future, Rosa was stunned. She pulled on the marriage scarf around her neck and looked at her new husband. He wanted to uproot her from all she had ever known, her precious Hungary, her family, church, and why? Through fearful tears, she told her husband,
“No, Hubert, I cannot go. This is our home. Why must we leave?”
“Woman!” cried Hubert. You are my wife. You shall do as you are told. The war is coming soon, and we must leave this place. You will ask no more questions, do you understand?!
Rosa looked at Hubert with her sad blue eyes and nodded. It was her duty to obey. They had been married for only three months, and Rosa already loathed this man. He was not her choice of husbands but her parents. It was not her decision to make. She recalled the day they wed, wearing her black wedding dress and new marriage scarf. They only picked him because he was part of the long family line. He was a poor farmer, like so many others of this village. Whether it be his station in life or something else, he was a tyrant. Instead of being the happy bride, Rosa felt more like a grieving widow. She had just turned 20 and felt her life was over. Now this man wanted to take her from her parents, and all the people she loved. There was more to not wanting to leave their small village of Glogowatz. She was with child. She had heard horrible stories about people dying at sea, the trip being too arduous for them. The morning sickness had already started. How could she make such a journey without possibility of miscarriage? He would not have been baptized and would be a heathen in the eyes of the Lord. Her unborn child was already doomed. She went into her room and paced back and forth. Her sister, Teresa was in the room.
“Sister, what troubles you?”, asked Teresa
Teresa and Rose had the same dark black hair and haunting blue eyes. They were wearing their black peasant dresses, the style at the time. They were both very short, 5’2” if that. Teresa was the older sister, by one year.
“Oh, my sister, who else can I tell? Hubert wants to leave this place for America and I am with child!
“Goodness, Rosa, does he know?"
“Of course not, you know how he is, he would say I planned this deliberately, and than give me my “just punishment”.
Other than being a tyrant, Hubert was a wife beater. A woman must know her place in this world. In order to keep her in place, he must treat her like a child, there was no other way.
“Sister, you cannot make that horrible trip, surely he would not make you go if he knew your condition. Many other husbands have gone ahead of their wives to find work and a decent place to live."
“Teresa!” cried Rosa. We are not talking of a human being, we’re talking of Hubert. Of course he would make me go. He would probably want me to lose the baby!"
“Rosa”, I don’t believe he would do such a thing, not even Hubert is that cruel.
Rosa sat in the chair and began to cry. She loved her sister so, but she could be so naïve. No sense putting it off, she went in the second room to tell Hubert. She looked at him sitting there, his dark black hair, and much too long mustache. He was wearing his farmer’s clothes, overalls, and a plaid shirt. He looked up from his wooden chair, and yelled at Rosa
“Speak, woman, don’t just stand there!”
“Rosa began shaking and swallowed hard.”
“My husband, I am with child, I cannot make the journey.
He then stood up and slapped her face. Rosa, held her hand against her stinging cheek and held back tears. She knew how angry that made him.
“How could you be so stupid! You knew months ago this journey may be forthcoming. Baby or not, you ARE coming! I will hear no more of it. We leave for two Germany in two days. Pack your bags.”
Rosa just looked at him and couldn’t believe she even had a baby with this horrible man. But once again, that was her “wifely duty.”
She was confused, they lived in Hungary, why must they leave for another country? She then overhead talking to his brother,
“They say we can no longer emigrate directly from Hungary, but must leave from another place.”
The next day they took the train to Bremen, Germany. Rosa was feeling ill both from the baby and leaving her country. Her only comfort was having Teresa with her. Teresa was a spinster, and as their parents were no longer living, it was Hubert’s duty to take her in. Hubert was not happy about this, but by law, had no choice.
The train finally stopped in Bremen, it was a four hour trip. Rosa looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings, and knew from then on, her life would be filled with strangers. A very long line was waiting to board the ship. So many people were emigrating from the place. Her husband was right, something terrible was about to happen. As much as she hated him, she knew he was right. They had to flee their home land, and leave behind their precious belongings. They were only allowed to take the bare essentials.
She then heard a loud noise, “All aboard, all aboard the George Washington sailing to America, New York City.” The man spoke German, but not in her dialect and was difficult to understand. She stood still. Hubert grabbed her arm,
“Come woman, must you be so stupid! It’s time to board ship!”
With tears in her eyes, Rosa pleaded one last time,
“Please Hubert, do not make me do this! I don’t want to leave home, I don’t care if the ware is coming!”
“Woman, do not make me punish you in public.” Now go. He pushed her from behind.
All sorts of emotions ran through her mind, her hate of Hubert, her sorrow of leaving her home, and fear of the new country.
She boarded the ship, and as she stood on the deck. turned and looked at her homeland one last time. She waved at the air and through tears whispered.
“Good-Bye, my beloved country.”
To be continued....