My Cousins Have Found Me

The Ukraine. Where the Huns and the Mongolian hordes finally settled down, made farms and grew lots of potatoes. The land of my ancestors.

I thought they all came to the U.S. But no. Seems I have a bunch of cousins still there. And they tracked me down. Googled my ass from the motherland. And sent me an email. Jaw dropping time in Boulder.

The email is in the Cyrillic alphabet. But fear not. My brother Ron in New Bedford, Mass. taught himself to read and write Russian. I zapped the email to him and he translated it. I got a reply the same day. Jeez. When I was a kid in Brooklyn, we didn’t even have a phone. All messages were yelled from the windows.

Kunak 2

Seems my cousins have given up potato farming. One is a Senator. Another couple owns a meat and fish market. They vacation to western Europe. One pic they sent shows a cousin and his family in Rome. Another shot shows the gang at a ski bistro high in the Carpathian mountains. It would appear that the antique clothes irons in the foreground are filled with glowing coals and used for…?

Kunak 3

In the third photo, the table is filled with every form of potato preparation known to man. How well I remember the Easter feasts in New Jersey. Carrying packages of food, from the Bronx we took the subway to the lower tip of Manhatten. There we boarded the Staten Island Ferry. We thrilled at the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Upon landing, we rode a bus across Staten Island to a branch of the Hudson River.  Here we boarded a small boat which took us to the New Jersey side of the continent. Then on foot for a few miles. My brother and I were 5 or 6 years old and we loved every minute. My mother toted a basket covered with a beautiful embroidered cloth. Inside was a sample of each of the foods we were bringing. She had the basket blessed at the church early that morning.
Kunak 1
They tell me that my mother was raised in the house in the background of the photo. As for the people in the photo, all are related. Except , maybe, the guy in the middle. I think he might be from another valley.
We’re already planning our trip to the Ukraine in 2011. There will be about 15 Boguskys and Kuzmas from across the U.S. descending upon Uzghorod. And you thought I couldn’t speak Russian.





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