Sunday, March 20, 2011

March’s Topic: "Best Childhood Years Memory"

My Grandfather was a tacit man. He was a notary in the pre-war Hungary , then demoted by the Communist regime and served as a clerk in the city hall of Miskolc - he was lucky to find employment instead of deportation. All in all he was living an uneventful life when we "met". But inside his round, bald head there was another world, filled with distant , exotic places the latest advancements of science and technology and a talent and passion for woodcarving.

The only carving I have from my Grandfather, István Majoros. © Pal Gooz 2011 

He was the ideal companion for a child like me, who was living wild adventures in his head about exotic animals , treasure hunting and an unsatisfiable curiosity about how things worked. We both loved solitude and liked to share quiet hours, when we both - I believe -  lived our own intense second life inside our heads.

One of our favorite past time was to go to a magical place called Lillafüred, near Miskolc. The woods and the lake there  were inexhaustible sources of entertainment, constantly  feeding  my  adventure hungry mind , filled with Pirates, Indians, fairies, hidden treasures and long forgotten ruins of never existed castles.  ( There is a real one there, but that is not ruins, so does not count ).

Lillafüred : Palace, Hámori lake, and the surrounding forest

© copyright Civertan Grafikai StúdióCivertan

Sometimes we just walked the narrow paths between the woods , but from time to time, we took the small train that took us on scenic route to place called Ómassa ( meaning Old Smelter ).

 The train . (original: A LÁEV vonata Lillafüred állomáson by  VT )

 From there we would walk towards Újmassa ( New Smelter) to find the the ruins of the old blast furnace and forge that was built in 1813. ( Honestly , at that time I had no idea I would become a jeweler, melting metal in my own little furnace).

The Old Smelter at Újmassa   (Az újmassai őskohó by Szalax )

We would often go there with the the purpose that I would make drawings of the place, and we were equipped accordingly with sketchbooks and pencils and erasers. I loved drawing the old smelter. I have no idea why I was so attracted to that ruin. It may be that I always liked abandoned buildings which I could inhabit with the products of my fantasy. Additionally , the function and use of that smelter fascinated me beyond imagination. I wanted to understand how those people extracted iron from stone. Of course at that time - early 70ies - there was little explanation about the place. So I listened to the explanations that my Grandfather provided. Neither he, nor I were very well schooled in the chemistry and technology  of iron smelting, of course,  and his lectures always left gaps in my understanding. Maybe this was another reason I returned to the place so willingly every time.

Some days I had no motivation to do sketches and I went on expeditions to discover the building and the surrounding " jungle". In the surrounding forest people still produced charcoal and lime in the old fashioned way.

Charcoal pile ( Public domain) (This photo was taken by someone else, somewhere else)
 On some other occasions, we just sat there, silently, side by side with my grandfather and was  enjoying the almost supernatural beauty of the place. We would be sitting there for an hour or longer, speaking very little, that left enough time for our minds to wander wherever it was taken by our imagination. 

The Old Smelter at Újmassa

© copyright Civertan Grafikai StúdióCivertan

 Those were the times of peace and freedom.

           Please visit my friends' blogs, to read about their memories:

          Andes Cruz:
          Kathleen Krucoff
          Laura Flavin:
          Wendy Kelly:
          Stephanie Nocito Clark
          Brad Severtson:
          Andrea Bell:
          Natsuko Hanks:
          Shaun Young
          Beth Cyr