Hungarian elegance in the form of Elizabeth Demeter Tatar

My Pandemic activities, to keep me sane, are all over the map. I do my gardening, actually enjoying having impatiens in my front of the house planter since I can attend to them in person and not worry about them keeling over. I also occasionally get on my bike, do a good amount of walking, read, do puzzles, a paint by number, and study Hungarian.

Studying Hungarian is something I had always wanted to do and unfortunately put it on the back burner for way too long. It is a way of connecting to my roots and makes me think of my grandparents, my mom, and a bit of the maternal side of the extended family. My sister, being four years older, was able to go to Hungarian school in Cleveland and I missed out. She even has photos where she is decked out in traditional Hungarian constume and dancing. That is how French came into the picture since languages fascinated me and Hungarian school was not an option in Parma, Ohio.

When Mary Kay and I met in 1973 in grad school, we also met a person named Gloria, who became our friend. Gloria ended up marrying John, whose parents lived in Highland Park, IL. They lived and still do in the western suburbs of Chicago. We are no longer really in touch, as things sometimes happen. We ended up becoming friends with his parents, since we lived in Deerfield, and they became a part of our extended family.

Here is a photo of Elizabeth when we combined a visit with her and a visit to MK’s sister and family in the Richmond, Virginia area.

Christian, our oldest son, Mary Kay, and Elizabeth on a visit to
Monticello, near Charlottesville, VA in 1991.

Here is Elizabeth’s obituary that I just found online:

« Elizabeth Demeter Tatar

Elizabeth Demeter Tatar, 92, passed away in her sleep on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

Elizabeth was born in Debrecen, Hungary, and married Joseph Tatar, a doctor of Ophthalmology, in 1939.

She is mother to Steven, Anna, Maria, and John. She immigrated to the United States with Joseph and her children in 1950. They took up residence in Highland Park, Illinois, through the sponsorship of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Elizabeth moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, shortly after the death of her husband in 1986. She was an active member of the community and her memory will be treasured by her friends, children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held for Elizabeth, 3:30 p.m. Thursday, August 16, 2012, at the First Presbyterian Church Chapel, 500 Park Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902.

This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress. »

Elizabeth and her husband, Joseph, were fixtures in our lives. The told us of the old country, giving me information on the other side of Hungary, not one of the peasantry that I was accustomed to. It was fascinating to me and Elizabeth and Joseph provided me with many different plants that I still have today: raspberries and currant, given from their Highland Park Garden.

When I go behind my garage, almost every time, I think of her and Joseph and her beautiful Hungarian accent in English that made it almost halting and yet exquisite to my ears.

As I play around with Duolingo and Pimsleur Hungarian, I think especially of her and the richness that she brought into our lives.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
This entry was posted in Confinement, Covid-19, Ethnic, Friends, Hungarian, Hungary, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

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