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What is your earliest and/ or most vivid memory?

Updated on October 8, 2015

I don't remember leaving the Hungarian refugee camp in Austria, but I can recall vividly arriving in Belgium, November 26 -1957.

Three weeks before my fourth birthday, on a train bound for Eupen in Belgium; "Zsuzsyka wake-up...we're almost there...the train will be pulling in to the station in a few minutes...we're almost in Eupen...we have to get your shoes on...come on". Mom kept trying to wake me. " I want to sleep more, I'm tired" I whined from my soft and warm cocoon, under my Dads fox-fur-lined coat (brought from Hungary). I gradually surfaced to the hustled rigmarole of packing happening around me in our compartment.

We were the only ones who had gotten off the train in Eupen. It was the middle of the night. Mom, Dad and I just seemed to be standing in limbo for a minute or two as we watched the train pull out of the station, on its huffy-puffy way. The lone trains-depot attendant was locking up the terminal.

We needed to cross the tracks. I don't know, how it was that Dad knew this. It was dark and wet out, not really raining just a cold foggy mist hanging onto everything. Not the Frankenstein spooky fog just the chilly damp kind. The air smelled funny. (We were to find out later, not far from our arrival point was the world famous chocolate factory 'Trois Jacques',and the chocolate fumes always permeated the town especially in misty-foggy weather).

With total oblivion, of the child that I was, to anything other than my own creature comforts I whined -"Daddy I'm tired, Daddy...carry me". Both Mom and Dad were loaded down with all of our worldly possessions. Dad had a big duffel bag slung over his shoulder, and a suitcase in each hand. Mom was holding my hand a little tight - she must have been nervous. She too had a bag slung over her shoulder and clutched our food hamper in the other hand. I was cuddling my 'Janczy Baba'. My greatest treasure, one of the first dolls made of couchouk (molded rubber) . (I still have her).

One little foot in front of the other, on and on...my short little legs felt as if they were getting heavier and they just didn't want to keep on moving anymore... Mom kept on talking to me, kept encouraging me, "Zsuzsyka-not too far now, soon we'll be at Aunt Ilonas. Tomorrow you'll be able to play with your cousins. Won't that be fun?"

Eupen was built on and around a ridge. The train terminal was uptown, 'Oberstadt' but my aunt and uncles address was in the 'Unterstadt' downtown. Two or so blocks away from the train-station we came to the steepest (San Francisco steep) road. The street lights reflected off the mist-wet 'Edel strasse' and made it look icy and slippery. One little foot in front of the other, on and on..."Zsuzsy look that's the street, number 47...49...51 we're here we made it..." Mom let go of my hand and just started to push open the gate when the house door opened and my tall...tall Uncle Pista came rushing out followed by Aunt ILona and Aunt Rosalie. Excitedly I was picked up and hugged. Talk...talk...talk...

The next memory I have is waking up to hushed complains "How long is she going to sleep? We've been up for ages...what a sleepy baby..." When I finally opened my eyes, I noticed I was curled up in the most 'comfy' bed. It was made up out of two great big dark green living-room chairs pushed together and my cousins Icuka, Pisti and Zoli crowded over the backs of the chairs "...finally you're awake...".

My memories to this particular event are so very clear. The walk in the middle of the night, that forlorn feeling that I felt when the train-station was being locked up, the damp cold. Even now fifty plus years later the smell of warm chocolate will trigger those uncomfortable uncertainties of that long ago night... and till this day I do not really care for chocolate.

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    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Hiya Rochelle, so glad you dropped by for a visit. So glad you and your Hubby are getting those old stories onto paper. I'm the last of the oldies in my family and all of our "memories" are going to be gone with me. I want to make sure that my children and grandchildren know what super folks (my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents)they come from.

      hope you and your gang are well

      kindest regards

      Zsuzsy

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Zsuzsy, I don't think I read this before-- glad it came back to see. Wonderful story. I hope by now you have written down many more.

      My husband's family were chased off their farm in W. Prussia by the Russian army when he was 9. They left illegally in the deep winter. He has many memories and we are getting them on paper.

      So many people today think they have it hard... These stories need to be told now.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you Pam...

      greetings

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      That's great that you're putting together an Ancestor's book. I've been enjoying researching and writing family history for some time.

      I've had a note to myself taped onto my computer for a couple months now which says, "Read Zsizsu Bee's Needles hub and watch one of her quilting videos." I will be getting to those. Wish I wasn't so disorganized sometimes, but I am determined to get to those because they really look like something I'll benefit from. Mahalo.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Hiya Pamela so glad you stopped by for a visit. My children kept urging me to write all of these old memories down for them. In our family I'm the only old timer left and as I have always loved to listen to all the old favorite stories I'm working on putting together an "ancestors" book for each one of my children and grandchildren. This one is one of the first entries of the collection.

      Thank you for reading and commenting

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      This was really intriguing to read. I didn't know if it would all end well -- so glad it did. Such a nice idea, to share this special memory. Thank you.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      mhuze, wow age 2 is quite early. Thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • mhuze profile image

      mhuze 7 years ago from USA

      Great story. My first memories where at age 2.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      i scribble, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

      My lack of affinity for chocolate does not stop me from liking all the other goodies available though...

      Kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • i scribble profile image

      i scribble 7 years ago

      It's hard to say which of my early memories is the earliest- certainly none are as significant as this life-changing event in yours. I don't know whether to feel sad or envious of your lack of affinity for chocolate- one of my main reasons for living! Great story. Makes my life seem so boring.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      Computer antivirus is hilarious, but I cannot find Chicken Paprikas or the Hungarian Goulash. I did not want to bother, I tried, but I cannot find them. Please leave me a note on my site, so that the system will let me know when its there?

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you so much, you're making me blush...we must be on the same wave length because I sure enjoyed reading your hubs too especially the 'advise to youth series' quite the hoot.

      If you happen to be bored check out the story that goes along with the Chicken Paprikas, the Hungarian Goulash or Computer antivirus you might just get a little chuckle out of them...

      Thanks again for the boost to my writers ego

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      I have put a link to your site on mine, with a recommendation for readers to visit you (and some others). I hope that it is OK with you. You cannot imagine how much I admire your work :-)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Hiya Greek, how kind your comments are. Thank you.

      This was one of my earliest hubs and the digital camera and I were not on speaking terms yet. I'll make myself a note to add a picture into this hub.

      greetings to you and your family from a really wet and rainy Ontario

      Zsuzsy

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      I only came by for my daily Zsuzsy pick me up and you made me cry. I felt as if I were your dad and it hurt that I could not pick you up and cuddle you while crossing those tracks... AND.... I don't love you anymore, because you did not put up a photo of that doll you still have :-))

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      lctodd1947 thank you for reading and for commenting.

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

      I just found your hubs. This is beautiful story and I am going to have to jolt my memory to see what I can remember from my childhood. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Moesky thank you for stopping by. I always find it amusing what can trigger a deep seated memory, a smell, a color etc.

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Moesky 7 years ago

      Beautiful story superbly written. Shows you that if we take the time to remember, we've all got an autobiographical book in us.

      My earliest memory is from around two years old, sitting in a police station in Liverpool waiting to be picked up my my mum. I can still see the policemen drinking tea and asking questions. Apparently I'd wandered off with a friend of the same age.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Sophs, I believe I was already in my twenties (same age as my parents) when I started to really understand what an enormous and scary undertaking it had been for them.Leaving everything they knew behind in a strange country with a new language etc... I was too young and in child fashion selfishly demanded my creature comforts, which makes me wonder how many sacrifices they had to make to give them to me.

      Wow, they were such good people; I can't honor them enough.

      Thanks for visiting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      sophs 7 years ago

      Brilliant story! I enjoyed this I think my first memory is from when I was around 2. No where near as interesting as yours though. Great work :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      GojiJuiceGoodness thank you for taking a look and for commenting. Isn't it odd how some memories or sections of them are so vivid and yet the happenings leading into those memories are so blurry.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 7 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Wonderful story! My first memory was seeing Niagra Falls as a child. I was touring with my grandparents, parents, two older brothers and one younger brother. I believe I was about 3, possibly 3 1/2.

      I vividly remember peering over the rail and seeing the tiny "toy men" on the boats below. I thought they looked smaller than lego men!!

      The falls were big and impressive, but I was more interested in the boats on the water and the people moving about on them.

      Later that day, we visited the carousel, one of the biggest in the country. This I also remember vividly.

      Another memory, which may be from when I was younger, was sitting on the basement steps at my grandparents' house pulling off my barn boots, cooking breakfast with Grandma and sitting on a hay bale while a guy came to take the cows to market. The last few things took place when I was about 2 or 2 1/2, yet I remember these isolated events clearly.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Sheila, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      Hi! I really enjoyed your story.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Truth from Truth, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

      Wonderful story. Thanks

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      poetlorraine thanks, sometimes I feel that all that old stuff stuck in my head is bogging me down and maybe plopping in down on paper might relieve the heavyness other times I say just forget it all who really will care to read any of it. The kids have heard the stories many times...

      thanks for taking a look

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 7 years ago

      wonderful, your children are right you should write all your memories down, i enjoyed reading this so much

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Writer Rider thank you for the visit, for taking a look and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Sweetiepie always glad when you pop in for a visit, thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Writer Rider 7 years ago

      Though I'm not vain (I don't think), I remember looking in the mirror when I was a year old.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      My earliest memory is from before I was one ears old. I remember my mom panicking when I ate some cat food when she turned my back. I also have another memory from around the age of one when I fell and hit my head on a sprinkler.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Pollyannalana thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

      Loved your story, I really needtogo catch some more of yours.I know I will enjoy them.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Hi Naomi, thanks for coming by for a visit and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • NaomiR profile image

      NaomiR 8 years ago from New York

      Great story! Your descriptions are so vivid. Thanks for sharing.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      zhuhuimin, Thank you for taking a look.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      nutuba, I find it really interesting that just out of nowhere smells will trigger long forgotten memories.

      Thanks for stopping by

      regards Zsuzsy

    • nutuba profile image

      nutuba 8 years ago from North Carolina

      I enjoyed reading this. You captured the imagery beautifully -- the smells and sights and sounds -- as well as the fears of being a child in an unfamiliar environment. Nicely done!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Katacham, thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • katacham profile image

      katacham 8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thats such a cool story, much more interesting than my first memory - a deathly high fever at 4am when i was 3 years old. I remember sucking on the corner of my duvet and being made to sit up to glug some horrid medicine by my parents. I swear that the ballerinas on my wall that night danced, haha.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Karen! Both my Mom and Dad were always surprised at how much of that day I could recall. There are a few other things from earlier on that year that I remember but like you, they seem like short little stories.

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

      Wonderful story - Wow, you really have a very vivid recall of this time. I can remember back to being three, but the memories are like short, short stories. Some are only like snapshots.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 10 years ago from France

      Yes please, I will be waiting for the next installment !

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you for your kind comments. Princessa! I'll try to continue on I guess.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 10 years ago from France

      Great story and so well told I could almost see a little sleeppy girl and feel her uneasiness! I would love to read more... what happen after?

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for taking a look Carol.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Carol Stokes profile image

      Carol Stokes 10 years ago

      What a very well told memory.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you Cgull I appreciate you taking a look. And yes it was my parents who were the heroes. Can you imagine how hard it would be to decide to leave life and everything you know behind, just because communism is not a way of life you want to lead or offer your child...How many were and are still in that position where political values are ramed down ones throat????

      regards Zsuzsy

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

      Great story, it is as if we were there. Well done, glad you were taken to a safe place to live by your parents, it is all worth it.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty! Wew! That is quite a comment. Thank you for that. I guess it is just a matter of getting started...The flood gate of those long ago days seems to have opened I think I'll try to get the more memorable once together into a bit of a book. Thanks for making this HUB request.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Zsuzsy Bee! This story is jaw-dropping good!

      Yes, you must write these stories one day so that more may read them. So many younger people know nothing of the 1956 Revolution in Hungary, or the old October revolution in Russia, or other dramatic histories.

      One of my early memories is a couple of scenes from black and white film in which a man smuggled a petite blonde woman out of East Berlin in a large SUITCASE and was fortunate enough not to have it inpected by the authorities. I cannot find the name of this film.

      Thank you for writing, Zsuzsy. May I say that it is no wonder that my finest student among my children's class is named Szuza, after a grandma I think.

      Patty

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Wajay! I guess this one was a start...Thanks again

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 10 years ago from Chennai

      Slip of the keys please excuse,Zsuzsy! I always spelled your name correctly till now!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you Kenny for your comments!

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      wajay_47 10 years ago

      Write them down, Zsuzsy. One day You may not remember all the details. Your children and eventually your grandchildren will cherish them.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 10 years ago from Chennai

      Thanks for sharing this very moving experience with us! You write with great imagery, Zauzsy!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you very much MrMarmalade your good for my morale.

      Having to leave Hungary during the 1956 revolution was a choice many faced. Many, many couldn't or wouldn't live with communism...

      thanks again for your comments

      regards Zsuzsy

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 10 years ago from Sydney

      Being busy for a bee should not worry you.

      I like your story and I am glad you left where you were, as I might not have been able to read of your exploits.

      I now know why you are a good hubber, you know how to write stories.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks Wajay!

      My kids want me to write them down> I'm thinking about it but...there is always the matter of being too busy.

      Thanks for your comment.regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      wajay_47 10 years ago

      ZsuszyBee. That was a great memory. I love those childhood stories. Great hub.

    • VickeyK profile image

      VickeyK 10 years ago

      Great story!