A fourth journal entry for Folk Magazine with love and understanding.

January 21, 2013

The Folk Magazine Journal entry for this week asks for influence. To write my American story as part of a giant American story, the tapestry of our lives, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

I’m Czech by birth, German by heritage, Canadian by chance, British by choice. My Austrian grandfather was in love with Vancouver, the land, the ocean, the mountains and, when it was evident that our family would not be safe in Russian occupied Prague, my grandfather decided we would immigrate to Canada and here I am. I have a dual citizenship and speak several languages. I’ve lived in Europe, (Paris, Geneva, Austria, Prague and now Oxfordshire UK) for very long stretches of time so I can say that while Canada is my country, Europe is generally my home town.

I must say that I don’t know a lot about American history. I know of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but only understand his basic premises and I hope that’s enough for me to talk about what I would like to talk about in this post.

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I have a story, a beautiful American story to tell.

Over twenty years ago, my then husband and I drove down the American Pacific coast on holiday. I was pregnant with my last child and so over the top emotional…you know how that goes. We were at Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco and I just stepped out of the car when a man ran past me shoving me violently into the side of the car and another man ran past me directly after him chasing him with a knife. I was shaking and completely inconsolable and we got back into the car and drove to Oakland to the hotel we were staying in.

I gathered my strength after several hours, and after much persuasion, and seeing the lights at the Oakland Coliseum, we decided to go to the baseball game.

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Now please know and understand that I was never, NEVER, EVER going to set foot in San Francisco ever again. But then we found our seats and beside us were the most wonderful, loveliest, most loving people I had ever met in my life. Some of them invited us to stay with them, all of them sympathised and many told us of the wonderful and beautiful San Francisco I had given up and abandoned forever without ever giving it a chance.

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So this brings me to my MLK Jr. story. It’s so important to know and understand your whole community, everyone, whoever they are. Look thru understanding and loving eyes. Having been a political refugee, an immigrant and living as I do in different parts of the world, I come across prejudice sometimes but I truly think that, by knowing and accepting without judgement people of all nationalities, races, sexual orientation, religious/or not persuasion and welcoming them into my life, these prejudices can be dispelled and the vitriol neutralised.

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What would I do without my writing group Wordsmith Studio, (mostly made up of American members) who support me and love me and accept my quirky ways? Where would I be without my Seattle friends and closest American neighbours who I impose on each year? Who would I be without those generous Oakland A’s fans who held my hand and helped make San Francisco one of my most favorite and romantic places to visit?

So, on this third Monday in January, I would like to wish a Happy MLK Jr. Day to my lovely and loved American friends, I’m so happy you are all in my life. I hope to keep learning your stories and continue to be a part of the tapestry of America in my own Canadian way.

Journal 1 entry here, journal 2 here, journal 3 here.

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The library and thoughts about snuggling up with a good book.
Sunday Whirl...oh no, Sylvia Plath words...good thing I didn't look first!

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  • Reply sorrygnat January 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Yes, and question – you were a political refugee? I grew up in Boston and exposed to a lot of white skin color privilege, but i didn’t relate to it; when i realized the oneness of mankind, I read Richard Wright’s Black Boy and American Hunger, Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown, Frederick Douglass, and endless incredible women writers, Paule Marshall, Brownstone Girl, …, Toni Cade Bambara, Gorilla My Love, I loved Alice Walker’s work and a little know book is The Third Life of Grange Copeland, awesome, and of course all of Toni Morrison; i read so many incredible people who have such a view of the underserved, the overserved, the skin color issues (barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible, a case in point); we are rich in heritage, and long coming in coming together; i liked your post very much; I don’t use the WordPress much, perhaps i don’t know how; i just go to Sorry gnat and click on and up; i asked someone, and I’ll ask you; how do you do both, put it on Wordsmith group and blog; i totally wish the best to you in this coming year.

    • Reply Veronica January 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Yes Esther. My grandfather was a general so he was very closely watched. We escaped as political refugees and left all property behind. After amnesty I went back to find that 30 years of communism turned my kin into hard people who I didn’t recognise. I’ve read some of the books you talk of and the rest I’ve made a note of and am determined to hunt down. The way I post something on the Wordsmith group is I copy the http:// line of the post and then paste it on the WSS FB page. To put it on the site I have to sign in, go to the dashboard of the group I want to post in…like the media group for a photo prompt, go to post – add new – write the post and then hit publish. Adding in an image means that before you write the post you must go to Media – add new and upload the image. Then, on the new post page you would like to write at the top left hand corner will be a tag for add media – from the media library. That opens a dialogue window where you can chose the image you want to add to your post. I usually do this in the html form because it’s faster. The dashboard of WordPress takes some getting used to. 🙂

  • Reply Pat Walsh January 21, 2013 at 11:54 am

    A lovely, inspiring post. I’d like to think your experience at the ballgame is something that is out there waiting for all of us, wherever we may roam – which again leads back to Dr. King, and his insistence that we are all equal in spirit and should therefore also all be treated as equal in fact. Good people are simply good, and their goodness serves as a counterbalance to all that is not good; may we all add a little to the good of the world, each in our own humble way, every day…

    • Reply Veronica January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Hello Patrick. You are so right in everything you say. “May we all add a little to the good of the world” brilliantly said and a wonderful wish. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this comment. 🙂

  • Reply tammykillough January 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Wonderful. I’m so glad that you had the opportunity to turn your opinions and views of America around. It’s so sad, I guess there is violence everywhere…but what an AWFUL way that could have left you feeling about America! Thanks For Sharing! ~Tammy

    • Reply Veronica January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you Tammy. I’m just loving these Folk journals, aren’t you? I loved reading your inspiring story. 🙂

  • Reply Khara House January 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    First of all, I love the photos you’ve shared in this post. They all speak so much about the landscapes they portray. Second, this post speaks volumes about the impact of moments: sometimes it seems we get so caught up in the passing of days that we forget how important and beautiful and impactful a single moment in time can be. I’m so glad you had the moments of the ballgame to counteract (or at least counter-balance) the moment of violence. And thank you, for this reminder that lives can be changed in moments, which for me serves as an urging to be careful that the moments I work into the lives of those around me need to be positive ones … We never know how one moment of our time can change the lives of another!

    • Reply Veronica January 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you Khara. I chose those photos because I took them in San Fran and in Seattle while feeling very happy and lucky that I could be there, in those cities, with the people. You are very right, we do have an awful lot of power, out and about and especially at home with our loved ones and friends.

  • Reply Achieving Clarity January 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I simply loved your post. The photography is stunning to start with, but the words add such a depth and richness. Your life sounds spellbinding. And you are so very right that when we are willing to step outside our comfort zone and learn, it neutralizes much of the negative we thought we knew as fact.

    • Reply Veronica January 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you Achieving Clarity. 🙂 Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment. Would you please tell me your name? I love to know people by their names.

  • Reply Sara v January 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Oh Veronica, SF is one of my most favoritest of places!! So happy that the Oakland fans were able to give you a new perspective. Your words are so perfect–judging never gets us anywhere. Thank you for this 🙂

    • Reply Veronica January 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Thank you Sara. 🙂 I love San Fran now with a passion. Have done for a long time. I feel perfectly, wonderfully at home just strolling thru the city, watching the morning Tai Chi in the parks, afternoon sea lion sunbathing, evening cable car lights, taking it all in. 🙂

  • Reply Sabra Bowers January 21, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I like learning more about you and your family’s history. I wondered why you lived in England and Canada.
    You’ve had and have a rich life experience…much more than most. I’m glad you shared some of it with us today.

    • Reply Veronica January 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you Sabra, I always think I’m not that interesting and I never considered people would want to know about me. Thank youf ro being so sweet my friend. Maybe I’ll start writing more about me…on the day of Khara’s really great post over at Our Lost Jungle to get the “I” out of one’s bolg. Sheesh…some great challenge participant I’m turning out to be. 🙂

  • Reply Linda G Hatton January 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I so enjoy seeing the world through your eyes. In this case, I am glad that experience turned itself around and you were left with a better feeling. It goes to show that there are all kinds of people in the world, no matter what country we come from or live in. I also feel very fortunate to have met people from all over the world through the Wordsmithers. Thank you for sharing. And I love the photos! (Yay – Seattle, my hometown!)

    • Reply Veronica January 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Thank you Linda. 🙂 We are so lucky with our little group, aren’t we? Yay Seattle is right. If I was living in America it would be Seattle for sure…or maybe Vermont…you know, one of those quaint little farmhouses with the red barn and beautiful horses in the meadow. (sigh)

  • Reply Sue January 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Hello Veronica! I`m following you too! Thanks for stopping by!


    • Reply Veronica January 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Hello Sue, thank you so much. I just know we’ll be friends. 🙂

  • Reply Linda H. January 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I love this post, and having lived in three different countries I can understand your views completely.

    I am glad you had a good experience to counteract the first impression, balance it a bit. Everything has its good and bad side.

    Oh, and I like the photos you posted very much.

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