Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Carrying a Secret in My Heart.

I just finished reading Carrying a Secret in My Heart, and thought I should post some quotes here. I always enjoy saving quotes, because reading them one year later is always a fun reminder of what I liked about a certain book. However, I have realized that when I write down quotes on old-fashioned pieces of paper I just lose them ;)

I chose a couple of quotes from the chapter dealing with the 1956 revolutionaries' children's opinions of their father's actions and of the return from prison. All of the interviewed children have fathers that were either thrown in prison as a consequence of their participation in the events or by being there by accident, or who were executed. The women who participated were either too young to have children or too old, and very few were executed.

"I cannot feed proud about it because such pride involves spending 10 or 15 years in prison for the ideal of 1956 and getting away with it. But what can I say? I lost my father, and my mother had to suffer twice as much as other women. That's really something to be proud of!" (Ferenc Z.)

"After I learned that my father had been executed I was really ashamed. If he had been executed he must have committed some horrendous crime. If someone is given a sentence like that, he must be guilty or something terrible. Even later on I didn't see him as a hero or as someone who had changed history, but as someone who had abandoned his family." (Katalin Földesi)

"There was a photograph of my father on the desk, but it only showed his face. And when my grandmother said that if daddy came home he would teach me to ride a bicycle and to swim I suddenly burst out crying: 'How will he play with me when he hasn't got any legs?'" (Krisztina Lukách)

"When we went on holiday I spent the whole time sitting on a tree waiting for my father. I became a past master at waiting. But no one could tell me when he would come back. Nor did they realize that they should have told me that we would be informed in advance when he was coming back. They should have said something at least to stop me being permanently on the lookout for him." (Zsuzsa Mérei)

"I remember being afraid when we talked about him coming home. I was apprehensive, partly because we got along so well at home and partly because I have come across many bad fathers. Another reason was that in the end I had no idea what kind of person daddy was. Of course, mom always loved talking about him and it was clear that she loved him a great deal and wanted him home. But in reality I still didn't know what kind of man he was. I was afraid that someone would somehow upset my world. Mom, for example, never smacked me. As far as I knew fathers smacked their children. I was afraid that a man would come who would start hitting me. But it soon turned out that he was a really nice bloke." (Péter Zsámboki)

"My mom's nerves gave out completely. She cried all the time and it was very hard for us. Then she got all kinds of illnesses and had some serious operations. The doctor said it was all due to her nerves. She suffered a great deal. She was always afraid and always sick and we were always having to run to the phone to call the doctor. On many occasions when mom was in hospital we three children were left alone and I had to look after the little ones. Then I got an ulcer and I was taken to hospital several times." (Jószef Andi)

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