American Citizen Living in Hungary Returned to America

Teenager born in Youngstown, Ohio, and relocated to Hungary makes the journey back to America.

| Good Old Days

I hope you will consider my story about my father, Vincent Gondol Jr. This is a reverse story. He was born on February 23,1911, at Youngstown, Ohio. His Hungarian parents, Vincent Gondol Sr. and Esther, had settled upon coming to the United States. When my father was 18 months old, my grandmother took him and his sister to Tiszatarjanban, Miskolc, Hungary. My father lived in Hungary for 15 years, while the communist were rounding up all the young men for the military. My grandmother told him, "You are an American citizen, go to the United States." Although my grandmother lived in a communist country, she did not want her son fighting in its army; she just didn't believe in communist ways.

In 1928, my grandmother saved money to pay her son's ship fare. My father left Hungary at 4:30 in the morning; the entire town's population showed up to see him leave for the United States, the land of freedom. Even the band played while he was leaving. My father came back to the United States and didn't know one word of English.

On the ship, my father was seasick for days. He spent all of his money on the ship, even the money for his train ticket when he reached Ellis Island in New York. He stayed with some nuns until his uncle, Steve Adam, sent him money to buy his train ticket to Lorado, Logan County, West Virginia. He arrived at Lorado on November 29,1928.

He had a job waiting for him at the mines in Lorado. He learned English while he worked; he didn't attend school here. My father didn't have a diploma or a degree. He mastered English but never lost his Hungarian accent.

He married my mother, Julia Ann Kohari, on August 25,1934. My sister, Julia Esther, was born on September 20,1935; I was born on January 29,1939.

My father retired from the mines in 1964. He and my mother moved to North Palm Beach, Florida. During the 1970s, my father's nephew's son, Bela, came to Michigan on an agricultural program. My father sent him a round-trip plane ticket to Florida, and they got to spend a week or two together. When it came time for Bela to go back to Michigan to join his group returning to Hungary, my father told him, "Stay here in the United States." Bela told him, "I have to go back to Hungary. If I don't, my country will send my parents to Siberia."



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