Cinderella finds her long lost slippers.

Cinderella finds her long lost slippers

Over a year ago, a language professor at Berkley University translated some Hungarian documents and letters for me. I had found him through a referral to interpret military papers belonging to my father that were technical in nature. Then, almost a year later, I was surprised to find that he had given my name to be placed on a newsletter list of Hungarian events. I was honored to receive an invitation to celebrate the two hundredth birthday of Count Agoston Harászthy at the General Consulate of Hungary in San Francisco.

The count’s birthday was a rare opportunity to meet other Hungarians who had left Hungary in 1956, as I did. Like me, these guests and the count had long ago traveled to settle in a far away land. In 1812, when he left Hungary, Harászthy came as a pioneer to California, where he eventually became the father of California viticulture, the science of grapes aging to perfection into good wines.

The guests sampled some of Hungary’s traditional foods: cheese pogácsa, apple strudel, and delectable meat canapés. They also sipped some of Harászthy’s wonderful Buena Vista wines, appreciated today by many connoisseurs. I felt like Cinderella lost in time, for I had found my slippers—the many bits and pieces of my ancestors’ roots and stories.

I—Cinderella—and guests were wined and dined and entertained by a dramatic storyteller. The storyteller in the photograph, wearing a top hat and period costume, vividly re-enacted the count’s life. He related the count’s numerous accomplishments and some of his defeats—for without risk, there were no gains to be made. I was awed to hear how this visionary braved the tough new world of California. If you care to read about Count Agoston Harászthy, here is a link:

You will find it worth your time.

Also, dear readers, from now on I will be posting every two weeks instead of weekly so that I can complete my novel by winter time. Thanks for your understanding. In two weeks I will be writing about the famous Huszárs.

About Sheila Bali

Sheila Bali, historical fiction writer, is soon to complete her novel, Swans and Cranes, based on a family’s escape from the iron grip of post–WW II Russia during the turbulent 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The book focuses on a young girl’s experiences as her family’s world is uprooted, forcing them to flee their home and country to save their lives. Sheila holds a Fine Arts Degree from Concordia University, plus two graduate degrees from McGill University in art education and special education. She now lives in San Francisco Bay Area of California and paints with colorful words. Sheila is a member of CWC Tri-Valley Branch.
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4 Responses to Cinderella finds her long lost slippers.

  1. Connie Berry says:

    Loved the article – what a fun thing to do! One of my Norwegian relatives is a “gilder” at the King’s Palace in Oslo. Maybe I can get an invite.
    I look forward to reading your other blogs.

  2. ugoagadauyah says:

    I loved the Cinderella story. Glad she found her slippers. She even also found a prince at the meet. Looking forward to more blogs from you. You seem to love history.

  3. Pinky Poinker says:

    Oh Sheila! What a lovely way for you to be able to explore your national culture. I’ve never been to Hungary but would love to go. I loved the title of your post.

    • SheilaBali says:

      Yes Michelle the culture is indeed rich, and I’m writing a book about it. Please make sure to subscribe to my blogs and receive notifications of new posts. Thanks for reading.

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