Thursday, July 14, 2011

NA NAŠI PUDE STRAŠI - Our Attic is Haunted

For a change of pace, lets talk about Teksikanski for a little while. We will hear a lot more about Teksikanski language and culture as we go. This part of the Hrvati experience is not in Europe.  It's part of the North American Experience which begins as far as we know with Alonso Pineda in 1519 just inside the Bay of our Mother, protected by the huge sandbars which he called the "Arms of St James," named after his selo,
his village,  just outside Dubrovnik.

Croats and other Slavs have been in Texas from that time forward. In most places, most of the time, we've been outnumbered, but hej, its a big land, with lots of room for everyone.  Even though we were here first and perhaps by rights this is our land, we are a hospitable people.  It wouldn't be polite not to be.  As each wave of immigrants has arrived we've welcomed them and helped them settle in.   

In the town where I graduated from High School, there was a man who represented a fraternal insurance organization for Slavic peoples. His surname was Mahalik, his daughter's surname was Cream, and yes, he was her daddy.  First, the immigration folks couldn't spell Mlijekic, much less pronounce it, so they stuck the family with Mahalik.  Secondly, no one else in or out of the Slavic community could make heads or tails of Mahalik.  What language is that?  Immigrationese?  So her mother and dad changed the girl's surname when she was born so she would fit in better with the Anglo community.

I remember once back in '64 as Mahalik described a meeting of the fraternity somewhere up in east Texas.  He said there were more than 80 different kinds of "Bohemians" represented at the meeting.  After more than four hundred the Anglos wanted to call all of  us "Bohemians" whether we were Bohemian, Croat, Czech, Polish, Slovak, Serb, or whatever.  It had not helped either that in some communities at least up to the eighth grade,  most Slavic children went to segregated Slavic schools taught by Roman Catholic nuns, rather than attending public schools.  In places like Wharton, Texas, that practice didn't end until about 1959.  The language of these schools was Czech for the longest time,so many of my friends had had to learn a smattering of Czech.
So, at least in the eyes of the Anglo community, we all became "Bohemian".

Along the way, we developed our own language, which was a mixture of everything Slavic plus a bit of english and spanish thrown in for good measure.  

Aside from a few phonograph records here and there, the only Hrvati we heard in those days was what we spoke, mostly at home.  You didn't dare use it in school or you would be punished.  There weren't any newspapers available to us either, but there were some in Czech.  One of the Radio Stations in our area had a program on early each morning which began with "Dobre Den!" followed by the "Peanut Polka." The Monday after Bloody Easter the program began "Dobro Jutro!"  After that, we gradually came crawling back out of the woodwork into the light of day.

A lot of the music we will begin to look at under the heading "Teksikanski" will not be in Hrvati, it may be in Czech or whatever we could get our hands on.  At least it was from somewhere in central or southern Europe and that felt more comfortable than nothing at all.  There will be several items which are in spanish and are completely homegrown Teksikanski in their musical style.   There are still some stories about all this we haven't touched on, but those will remain for another day.
Today we will hear "Na naši půdē straši," (Our Attic is Haunted) as performed by Václav Albrecht.  This was part of the culture as some of us experienced it.  "Na naši půdē straši" has been lovingly digitalized from a ten inch Victor Talking Machine Company record made back in 1926.  It is Matrix BVE-37250, the label says its a Valčik or a waltz.  Besides Albrecht there is a Violin, three clarinets, three French horns, two cornets, a baritone horn, and a tuba. Albrecht is also listed as the composer, and Karel Sindelar as the director. According to Victor records this was recorded 16 December 1926 at the Webster Hotel in Chicago, Illinios.  Its Victor 79116, take 1.  There were two other takes made that day but it seems they liked the first one the best.  The US Library of Congress seems to lack a copy of this recording. Victor designated this record to be marketed to the "Bohemian community."  The flip side of this record has "Andulicka" (Little Annie), a polka written by K. Hasler and also recorded by Vaclav Albrecht. Na Naší Půdě Straší  is still alive today here is a group playing it in Clarkson, Nebraska in 2010.  
 Na Naší Půdě Straší 

/: Na naší půdě straší,
   až z toho vstávají vlasy. :/
/: Honza na žebříku, nadělá cavyků,
   když na tu půdu leze, udělá bum na dveře. :/ 

Haunted Garret Waltz  

/: In our attic there is somebody haunting,
   that even the hair on the head is standing up. :/
/: Jack on the ladder is making a fuss,
   when he is climbing to the attic, he bangs on the door. :/ 

Na naši půdē straši

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

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