I was a little girl living in Hungary. Our country was invaded by Russia and they took over. We had to run to the basement in our apartment when we heard the sirens. There were mines set to explode at all of the borders. I didn’t like living at my home because there was so much turmoil and fear. And in my house, I had to do all of the work – wash the clothes, scrub the floors on my knees, cook for a big family and my brothers did nothing. When I was 20, I pretended like I was going to work and packed a small bag of things. I went to the edge of the next town. My friend knew what I was going to do – try to escape to Austria. She told me how dangerous it was but I had heard that America was like a dream and I had to get out of Hungary and Europe. I had to be careful to try to cross the border when there were no cars or trucks or people around. Then, when I got to Austria, Radio Free Europe helped me to contact my mother and tell her what I had done.
I worked hard all of my life and saved money. I told my three sons that I had money for them when I die so they would not have to have a hard life like me,
They said, “No Mom, we will not take it. You deserve to live in a nice place, with good food and company. So, that is why I am here. I used the money I saved to give to my kids.”
The residents in the room clapped when she finished telling her story about her courageous escape and her life here in America.