The Short Shell


August 3, 2020 by ellie892

Holding Pattern: November 29th

After a backward glance at the family plot, I leave the cemetery to board the bus back to Szeged, but feel that I must let my cousin and her daughter know that I am in town. They can decide after that if they wish to ask me to visit. For various reasons many of our previous plans to meet were cancelled.

They are delighted that I have paid the sexton for the upkeep of the graves until 2031. I was glad to have paid and the fee was affordable. I will show them the original receipt and give them a copy as proof. Later, we will take a picture of it to keep or send.

I arrive at their modest apartment building and am greeted at the entrance by my second cousin’s daughter. We are happy to meet for the first time, and chat as we ride the small elevator to the fouth floor. The apartment is a colourful collage of blankets, nick-nacks, files of documents and many photo albums. They are the keepers of the records and the family archives.

From my travel wallet, I remove a small photo of my children. They are bright, tall young adults standing in front of the maple tree in our tiny side yard in Windsor. My cousin cherishes it and tucks it into a historical leather album. She hands me photocopied pictures of the family weddings and events. We talk of celebrations and milestones. Huge parties. The Hungarian word for party is buli (pronounced as bully). I have learned that my family loved to socialize and my mother’s parents sixtieth wedding anniversary lasted three days and nights. The entire town was invited and everyone still speaks of that wonderful time. This amuses but saddens me, and wish we could have all buli’d together.

paper leaves fall

worn Persian carpets

once there was dancing

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August 2020


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