European Travel Slovenia and Lithuania
I knew a fair amount about my Slovenian (Maternal) ancestry. I vaguely remember my Grandfather, John Rozich, we moved from Chicago to California in 1962, when I was a month old. He and my grandmother would come and visit us once a year until he died in 1967. I knew my maternal Grand-mother Mary (Bukovec) Rozich well. She moved from Chicago to California to live near us in the early 70's. A few years later She moved to back to Wisconsin to take care of her mother, Lousie (Alozja) (Sterbenec )Bukovec. I met her on visits we made to relatives in Wisconsin in the 1970's. She died in 1981 at the age of 99. My grandmother came back and lived at my parents house in 1984. My grandmother died there in 1990 at the age of 89. I was the last one to see her alive. She was dying of cancer and had chosen to die at my parents house. We would take turns sitting with her. I was sitting with her on the night of 21-Aug-1990 , I stepped out of the room for a moment, I can't remember why. When I came back she had passed away. That was just kind of how she was.
My parents wedding aniversary was the day before, my mom thinks she willed herself to live one more day so that they wouldn't remember their aniversary as the day she died The clock in her bedroom actually stopped at that exact time, 7:40 pm.
My parents aniversary is the feast day of (a) St. Bernard. (though the dogs are named after St. Bernard of Menthon). We had a Saint Bernard dog growing up. It's the only breed of dog I've ever had and probably ever will.
I had visited Europe several times in the mid-1990's for work and
while I was there I would take time off to travel. But never went to either
Lithuania or Slovenia. I wanted to visit both, but instead I went to the more
conventional European destinations.
The travel bug was biting me again in 1999. Some friends of
mine and I were talking about traveling and decided that we should go to
Europe. I suggested maybe going to Slovenia, but then decided against it, thinking
that it probably wasnít fair to drag them there when there are so many
other sites they should see.
After several months of planning and dozens of itinerary changes, we embarked in the spring of 2000 on a tour that became the "Spiral Stair Case Tour", because it seemed every where we went we found a set of spiral stairs we had to trudge up to explore some site. The tour took us via eurail from Paris, to Berlin, Prague, Munich, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, with several side trips including Terezin, Dachau and Neuschwanstein.
Germany, especially Bavaria, is beautiful and fun to visit, but it's also important to remember the terrible things that occurred there, not as some grudge against Germans, but to remember the inhumanity humanity is capable of. I thought Dacahu, which I had visited once before, would be a good place to visit. We decided to go to Terezin while in Prague.
When I returned I started to think about my next trip and thought about visiting Slovenia. My grand Aunt Victoria (Bukovec) Krutlz had researched the Bukovec
family, my mothers maternal line.I continued some of that research
back a couple of more generations. I knew the villages that the Bukovecís had
come from and my Aunt Vicki had visited them in the late 1970's.
I started to think that maybe I should visit Lithuania instead.
As far a I knew no one in my family had been back to Lithuania. I thought it
would be a challenge to "pull back the shroud of time" and see what I
could discover about my Lithuanian Ancestors. Perhaps I could find the villages that they
lived in and visit them (if they still existed), maybe I would find some old
graves or something.I didnít think that
I had any living relatives or any idea how to find them if I did.