12, 1939 - September 6, 2002
I am sure many people on our mailing list throughout the World have asked
this question over the years.
I know Maksi from my
student years, I guess from about 1965. Maksi is book binder by trade. He
also studied at the Komenius University in Bratislava, physical education,
while working at a printing company. Maksi beside being a good dancer,
the life of a good party was also an excellent athlete swimmer. He held
three Czecho-Slovakian Junior swimming records in 1957 and many times he
was also Czecho-Slovak National Junior Swimming Champion. In 1965 or 1966
they opened a new University Students Club in the center of Bratislava.
There were student dances at least four days a week. We used to dance and
party. Maksi was always at the center of happenings, he was the happening
maker and we all had a great time and perhaps for few hours we have
forgotten the reality of life in Bratislava. At the same time a University
Students Organization started to publish a student paper "Echo."
Echo was testing the loosening of the censorship and the beginnings of
democracy, only to be closed on numerous occasions. Many students used to
sell Echo at street corners and no doubt, Maksi was the best seller.
Nobody could outsell him. The way he sold, was unbelievable. The paper was
going off his hands like hot cakes. In September 1968 while I was
returning to Bratislava from a three month hitch-hiking trip through
western Europe, I met Maksi and his bride in Vienna, Austria. I was
surprised to see him married and even more surprised to learn that he is
not going back to, Bratislava after the honeymoon, but instead they are
emigrating to Canada.
Almost four years later,
after we moved from Toronto to Edmonton and finally to Vancouver, I met
Maksi, my long lost friend again.
When he was a boy,
his dream was to live one day in the Kysuce region of north west pad of
Slovakia bordering with Poland and Moravia. This is still one of the
poorest regions of Slovakia. He always liked Kysuce with its rolling hills
and mountains and unspoiled nature.
In British Columbia he spent every
weekend with his family outdoors, camping. In 1975 during one of
their weekend trips in Central British Columbia, 300 miles north-east of
Vancouver flashback of his dreams about the Kysuce region came to reality
and he felt in love with this area, as it was reminding him of the Kysuce.
He persuaded his dream,
bought 10 acres of land, built a house and moved to Cariboo permanently.
He knew the life in Cariboo will be hard and harsh, since at that time he
had no running water, electricity, phone or any other amenities of city
life. Now 13 years later, he
has water, electricity, and all the amenities of modern household. His
house is still not finished as he always finds new ideas for improvements
and additions. Maksi is 54 years old, very enterprising and not afraid of
any job. He is self employed, does carpentry, builds log fences, cuts fire
wood and manufactures his own style of picture frames. Because of his high
standard of workmanship he very busy. He is well known and liked this
rural community and everyone knows that they can always count on Maksi. He is very close to
nature. In summer he feeds hummingbirds, in winter other birds and
squirrels. He is not a hunter as one would expect, but he enjoys the wild
life's company, studies their habits and updates his animal identification
Our two children Julia
and Mathew, my wife Maria and I, visit Maksi at least twice a year as we
enjoy each other's company and beautiful Cariboo. We go for nature walks,
fishing, bird watching, identify flowers and observe the wild life. Many
evenings by the camp fire, we sing and talk of the long gone years of our
life and Bratislava.
BACK TO PEOPLE STORIES
Go to letter from
to World wide
reunion of Veckar's "GENERATION 1968"
to Makši's pictures over the years
to Makši's 62nd Surprise birthday party
to Makši's final days
Celebration of Makši's life party at Watch
Lake Community Hall on September 28, 2002
Scattering Makši's ashes at his
favorite spot near his house on September 29, 2002
Makši's ashes at Bute Look Out above Watch Lake, BC, on October 13,
burial in Bratislava on November 12, 2002
Published in the
Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 1, No. 4, Winter 1993
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1993
Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced,
republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without
the express written permission of Vladimir
Linder. All rights reserved.