City of Érd, Part 2
Please read Érd Part 1 first at http://sheilabali.com/wordpress/?p=323
How does one find a cousin in a foreign land?
On that crisp, cold, sunny day, my husband and I headed for Érd’s information center. Unfortunately, a note on the window said it was closed. Locals were going about their errands all around us, but I hesitated to stop anyone for directions. Finally, I asked a middle-aged couple how one finds someone you haven’t seen in five decades. The woman raised an eyebrow in surprise and then suggested a telephone directory or perhaps a library or post office. The man mentioned administrative offices, such as a civil office, or the magistrate’s or mayor’s or city council’s office. But those places, too, were closed for the weekend. Others I spoke to mentioned the police or fire department, or going back to square one—the information center.
My husband encouraged me to press onward. We went in and out of doors, questioning several doormen as people queued behind us. One of the doormen recommended the census–motor vehicle bureau around the corner. It turned out we had already been there.
Nevertheless, we took a ticket and sat down to wait. Three hours later, a blond woman called our number from behind a glass. I explained my situation in great detail, leaving out nothing. She agreed I had come to the right place. I sighed with relief. I spelled my cousin’s name, my parents’ names and even my paternal grandparents’ names, just in case a link could be made. When she found none, I asked her to please go back and recheck. Lo and behold, this time she found my relatives—their birth dates, death dates, cemetery plots—but she couldn’t divulge my living cousin’s address. Surely, I pleaded, there must be some provision for a person like me searching for a long-lost relative. She listened with compassion and then phoned her supervisor.
I listened to half the conversation. “No,” the woman said, “she speaks Hungarian with an accent. No, she’s with her husband. Yes,” and at this point she nodded to me, “they’re speaking English and have U.S. passports. I think they’re authentic, and they have been waiting for hours.” Then she hung up, leaned forward and whispered, “Here’s what I can do.”
I pulled my chair closer and she printed out a paper and placed it before me. “I’m legally not allowed to give out addresses.” Then she pointed her pen at the name János Dvořák, resting it on the paper. “As you can see, we have so many names,” and she looked the other way.
I understood immediately and quickly jotted down the address. “Thank you for this great gift,” I said.
Then I thought, how do I get there in the two hours before my train leaves?
Sorry, I’m without pictures of Érd however here’s a link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K1IJrbqmgo