The Magic You Can Find in a Book, by Karina Fricker

I read a book recently that many times made me stop and think, so much so that I wanted to pull out a red pen to underline and star the passages so I could save them for a rainy Saturday morning like today when creativity strikes. Now, let’s not get carried away, I did NOT write in my book. One library teacher I had in my childhood taught me to respect and take care of books. So, graffiti my new hardcover novel, I did not. It is the year 2021, and like any other fellow Gen Z, I took photos of the pages on my Iphone and “favorited” them, so they wouldn’t get lost in my wasteland of photos of pretty coffees, my smiling nephew, or selfies with my friends.

Anyway, let’s not get off topic here. The first passage that caught my eye, or more specifically, my heart, was one that read:

 “The ones who remained, the one who believed- they were worth fighting for.” [1]

This simple text, 13 words, put only one thought in my head: German Hungarians. Those words still carry weight even at 110+ years of thriving existence. The ones who remained, the ones who care, the ones who get it. That is why we do what we do!

They say it is remarkable what can happen when a group of strong individuals come together with a common purpose, and the German Hungarians validate this. In the midst of the chaos of the past two years, We found a way to stay connected, and did everything in our power to keep our traditions alive. We put about 40 feet on the dance floor on Tuesday nights, and 40 soccer shoes times two teams on the fields on Sundays. Instead of looking for a permanent home, we found it within ourselves. Our home isn’t a place, it’s a community. It isn’t eight walls and a dance floor with a disco ball. Our home is in our hearts. It’s that familiar sound of a rich saxophone playing the first song of the night, it’s crisp white skirts and polished black leather shoes. It’s the sound of our children’s singing voices and their little dance shoes tapping to the beat. It’s the red, black, red, on the soccer field and the crew of Superfans standing beside them. It’s our sea of red. Members in red t-shirts hopping off of a coach bus one after the other, folded red uniforms stacked one over the other, red skirts swishing in unison. These are the things that define us.

Okay, passage number 2:

 “She’d read somewhere that a person could change anything about herself except her place of origin. And she’d seen this truth about the human condition play out in the book club novels: the heroine of each story managed to reinvent themselves, but they were always driven by their childhood experiences.” [2]

What makes a person who they really are? Is it genetics, outside factors, or the way you were raised? They say, “it takes a village.” It sounds cliché, doesn’t it? But to me, this rings true. As I think about some of the happiest times in my life and my childhood, those memories all have one thing in common. My club family. Memories of people as individuals, legends, the German Hungarians who came before me and paved the way. The way we play soccer, the way we dance, the way we carry ourselves, even the way we party, all of it together. Is it a learned behavior, or is it innate? Either way, it’s the German-Hungarian method, and it’s a good one at that.

So, maybe what makes me, me is really all of those things. Maybe I’m a little bit of everything. The granddaughter of a musician, a seamstress, a writer, a soccer player. The daughter of a dancer and a past president. A sister, a cousin, a friend, a niece, an aunt. Maybe we all aren’t “one thing.” We are many. We are writers, historians, teachers, artists, dancers, singers, musicians, athletes, friends, family. Wir sind Deutsche Leit from Ungarn. We are German Hungarians, and we are a family.

So, let’s keep going.

Karina E. Fricker

[1,2] from “Blush” by Jamie Brenner

leave a comment