When I was younger I didn’t want to speak Slovakian. I thought it was a dumb language and I didn’t need and why would I use it. There’s not a lot of Slovakians… There’s no real use for the Slovak language in America, but there are communities that you can get along with. But now I am so thankful that I know Slovak
Slovak Language Tag
No, there was not an invitation; there was forcing. I asked them ‘Why me?’ and they said ‘Oh, we need the people who really do a good job at work, who are responsible’ and so on and so on. But it was so strong. Every single day I was called to the big boss’s office or this contract guy – he was a chairman of the Party – so I had them all the time on my neck.
I was always kind of growing or living with the music community, and it was not just the band. It was folk music, folk ensembles, dancers, theatre. So I got to know a lot of people, and also that community was what I always loved. The musical or artistic group of people, we always said that we are different. We have a big love for it. It helped me in my business, too.
I was kind of oblivious to what was going on in politics. I think I started paying attention to it when I was 14, 15, 16. I remember sitting in a pub in Domaša, drinking beer and having a discussion with friends. My older friends, three years older were saying ‘Communism is going to fall. I am telling you guys, it will end.’
You do because you need to survive. You need to be able to talk to people, and if you just speak Slovak all the time, they don’t speak Slovak in the store or Czech or Russian – now they speak Spanish – so you have to assimilate. You assimilate language-wise, but cultural-wise, that comes with the system. As you live there, you start doing what other people are doing.
I don’t think it’s really where you grew up, I think it’s more your attitude. I’m sure I could have kept up the Slovak culture and felt more Slovak than American myself. I think it’s more of a personal decision – what you want to be, that’s what you’ll be. If you feel like being more Slovak, you’ll be more Slovak, if you feel like being more American, you can go that way.
The Germans started to collect any male they could at the very end – and I’m talking here about the end of March and beginning of April 1945; Bratislava was liberated on April 4 – and when my father heard that, and since my brothers were 17 and 18 at that time, in other words, in a very dangerous age group, he wanted to run with them to our summer house and hide there.
It was just a few kilobytes of memory, but I was able to do a little coding in Basic. I even programmed my own little game – this little ghost moving around and collecting some goodies. Similar to one of the games at the time. But computing was certainly in its diapers. It’s come a long ways since then.
We had several American pictures, but we had them hidden, we couldn’t play them because under the Germans, they wouldn’t let us play them. We had some Czech, we had a couple of Slovak films, but these came from Bratislava, you know, we always got a new film every week. And I don’t know what kind of film we were preparing because we never –played it – the Russians came and they wanted to…