FINDING MARIA by Peter Szabo. Chickadee Prince Books (www.ChickadeePrince.com), 2016, 139 pp., $11.99. ISBN 978-0-9913274-4-7. Click here to purchase.
Peter Szabo certainly loved his grandmother, Maria, up until her death in Queens, N.Y. She survived the Hungarian Holocaust of World War II, escaping only by converting to Catholicism. Eventually, when she made it to America, Maria returned to Judaism.
In an interview with Chickadee Prince, Szabo points out that his grandmother told him there were 60 friends and family lost in the Holocaust.
To Szabo, his grandmother made the ordeal vivid and disturbing, the escape to Czechoslovakia, having to be hidden in a nunnery and then the trek to America. But her memories remained vivid and she spoke quite often about her trips through New York with Peter, her grandson.
Peter’s fondest memories seem to be when he tours the Museum of Modern Art with his grandmother, as Maria conveys what she remembers of the past. The recollections help Szabo learn and understand his own history and appreciate his grandmother’s sense of family, honor, pride and love.
Truthfully, it still remains a puzzle as to exactly why Peter was enamored over his grandmother. While I can see his respect and affection for her, Peter struggles to articulate exactly why: was it because she seemed such an honest and simple soul? Was it because she respected and honored the elements of her past? Did he feel sorry for all she had to endure? It could be all of those things, but I was not certain, as the author never could spell this out. But it was a charming and recommended book.