Tag Archives: Gabičko

Family • Photo Restoration • 64 • Dusil • 50th Anniversary of our Emigration

• Today commemorates the 50th anniversary of our family’s emigration from former Czechoslovakia. It would also have been my dad’s 77th birthday. On this day in 1969, over a year had passed following the Soviet Union and members of the Warsaw Pact‘s illegal occupation of Czechoslovakia. Our departure would have been immediately after the invasion, but with my mother being eight months pregnant, my parents felt it would be safer to leave a year later.

• Our departure was shrouded in tremendous secrecy, with only the most trusted members of our family and friends knowing our plans.  The local authorities could have found any minor excuse to prevent us from leaving the country. For this reason, I prefer to categorize our departure as an “escape”, even though we legally left the country with all the necessary paperwork.

• I want to thank my mother and father for their tremendous bravery and steadfast convictions in believing that we would have a better life in the West. Our departure may be the obvious choice in hindsight, but at the time, it could have been argued that there was no clear winner between the political doctrines of capitalism and communism. Two more decades were necessary to prove which was better. The collapse of the iron curtain and the end of the cold war at the end of the ’80s put a definitive stamp on that debate.

• When I was eight years old my father was driving me to our animal hospital where he worked as a veterinarian. During our drive, Taci decided to explain communism to me. I vividly remember him articulating the horrible regime from which we escaped, with a heavy heart. In these few minutes, he created a hypothetical analogy for my young mind to understand – “If Canada were to become a communist state, then our veterinary business and our house would be taken from us. In fact, every citizen in the country would not be allowed to own any business or property – the government would take ownership of everything.  Even at eight years old this resonated with me. More importantly, I recall the sadness in his heart, while explaining this to me, because he had to leave behind many friends and family who continued under the repressive and totalitarian communist regime.  As he took the final turn to the animal hospital he concluded by saying, “Unfortunately I will probably not live long enough to see the collapse of communism, but with any luck, maybe you will see it happen”.  Both came to pass.


If you are interested in other posts of our emigration you can find their links here:


62 – Košice · Vaclav, Robert, & Robert Sr. Dusil
68.Oct – Košice · Vaclav & Gabriel Dusil
68.Oct – Košice · Iveta, Stefan, Valeria Kende, Vaclav & Gabriel Dusil (back yard)
69.Oct – Paris · Sona, Roman & Gabriel Dusil (park)
69.Oct – Paris · Roman, Gabriel & Sona Dusil (park bench)
69.Aug – Košice · Eva, Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (Slavo’s back yard)
81.Jul.12 – Burlington · Cezar, Eva, Gabriel, Vlasta, Alica, Sona, Valeria, Roman & Erika Dusil (Ali’s birthday)
81.Dec.24 – Burlington · Roman, Gabriel, Vlasta, Sona, Alica, Nuri & Cezar Dusil (Christmas cousins)
88.Dec.24 – Burlington · Vlasta, Gabriel, Roman, Alica & Sona Dusil (Christmas)
99.Sep.25 – Prague · Annika, Alica, Sona, Karin, Roman, Gabriel & Roland Dusil (wedding)

  • I love you, Mamička
  • I love you, Taci
  • I love you, Googičko
  • I love you, Pumprdlik
  • I love you, Trpaslik

Time is Relentless • To December 2016

To help navigate through my personal blog I have provided these hyperlinks to easily connect to my posts. This gives everyone an opportunity to find posts they may have missed. Enjoy!

• Dusil

• Taci

• Mamička

• Gabičko & Googičko

• Services

• Swimming

• Martial Arts

• Judo

Family • Photo Restoration • 57 • Dusil • Canada

Diary • 22nd October 1993

• I was four when we left Brampton. I still refer to that apartment complex as the “red buildings”. My cousin Roman and friend Laco Dobis lived in the twin building next door. Taci worked in the local Veterinary office while mom was studying at Guelph University. At night Taci and I would go to Judo. As a second degree he would teach the students, and as a white belt I would participate in the warmup and then play at the back of the dojo. The summer before turning five we moved to Burlington. We slept at the Animal Hospital while our house in Tyandaga was being built.

• In September 1974, and it was my first day of school at Holy Rosary. Mom was with me, and our first stop was the Principle’s office (A room I would frequently visit during my elementary years). That first day of Kindergarten was traumatic. When I walked into the classroom all the kids were playing. But, I felt as though everyone already knew each other – as if I was entering the class in the middle of the school season. I was very shy and it took me a while before adjusting to the new setting. My first friend was Patrick Pongetti. He was quiet like me. Neither of us were interested in following the alphas. Our friendship lasted until we graduated.

• Soon enough I became a trouble maker. Partly due to befriending Danny Berris, who got under my skin on several occasions. I’m sure I pissed him off just as often. All kids fight and I was no exception. Kids can also be very nasty, and I didn’t take that lightly. My first report card said, “Gabriel is still hitting the other children”. Budding in line, and name calling were dealt with five-year-old violence. A receptionist at the Animal Hospital – and seventh grader at the time, Michele Cieslik – once told me that she watched someone bud in front of me in line, and I punched him.

• Mom told me that that I was a real trouble maker for the first few years at Holy Rosary. Most of those memories have faded but  I do remember one event that ultimately put closure to  that behavior. It was grade three and I was in the Principle’s office with Danny, and our teacher. Principle Butt lectured us on our bad behavior,  and all the while I was wonder if the pending strap would be on our bare bums, or not. So the time had come, and Principle Butt did me the honours, and Danny got his beating from the teacher. While getting the strap I was surprised how lightly I was being hit. It didn’t hurt at all. When it was all over, Danny was whimpering as we walked back to the classroom. I remembered vividly thinking how stupid it was for him to cry, because it didn’t hurt. So what was he crying about? It was the first and last time I got the strap. And from that point onward Danny and I were separated in our seating arrangements. Anyways,… the pants stayed on.

• Dusil

If you missed the previous Dusil posts, then click on these links:

• Digital Photo Restoration

 5 minutes 3 seconds

72.Jul - Brampton · Gabriel, Eva & Vaclav Dusil (park swings)
72.Jul – Brampton · Gabriel, Eva & Vaclav Dusil (park swings)
72.Jul - Tampa · Vaclav & Gabriel Dusil (football on the beach)
72.Jul – Tampa · Vaclav & Gabriel Dusil (football on the beach)
72.Jul - Orlando · Eva, Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (Ripley's Believe It or Not!)
72.Jul – Orlando · Eva, Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (Ripley’s Believe It or Not!)
73.Jun - Guelph · Gabriel, Vaclav & Eva Dusil (College of Veterinary Medicine, graduation)
73.Jun – Guelph · Gabriel, Vaclav & Eva Dusil (College of Veterinary Medicine, graduation)
73 - Burlington · Eva, Gabriel & Vaclav (Aldershot Animal Hospital driveway)
73 – Burlington · Eva, Gabriel & Vaclav (Aldershot Animal Hospital driveway)
74.May - Hawaii · Vaclav, Hula dancer & Gabriel Dusil
74.May – Hawaii · Vaclav, Hula dancer & Gabriel Dusil
76 - Rio de Janeiro · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (pool totem pole)
76 – Rio de Janeiro · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (pool totem pole)
78.Jul.12 - Burlington · Alica, Eva & Gabriel Dusil (birthday)
78.Jul.12 – Burlington · Alica, Eva & Gabriel Dusil (birthday)
80.Jul - Burlington · Gabriel, Vaclav & Alica Dusil (reading)
80.Jul – Burlington · Gabriel, Vaclav & Alica Dusil (reading)
81.Jul.12 - Burlington · Eva & Alica Dusil (Ali's birthday)
81.Jul.12 – Burlington · Eva & Alica Dusil (Ali’s birthday)

72.Jul - Brampton · Gabriel, Eva & Vaclav Dusil (park swings, restoration)

Family • Photo Restoration • 49 • Dusil • Canada

• Introduction by Eva Dusil • Editing by Gabriel Dusil • 2014 November

• According to communist propaganda, only rich people could attend university in the West. They told us many lies, trying to convince us that Socialism was superior to Capitalism. Constant propaganda brainwashed citizens in believing that the West was an evil imperialist empire. History has told a different story. Either way, the borders were essentially closed to the public, except for a select few who were allowed to travel and see the real picture with their own eyes. This included politicians and top athletes. Communist leaders told us that they were protecting our borders from the evil capitalists. But the ongoing joke was asking why border guns were facing their own citizens, and not the enemy.

• The younger generation believed much of what was told to them. When you grow up seeing, hearing, and reading propaganda, you believe it. Especially when you don’t know any different. Most citizens didn’t have any idea what the West was like. When we finally immigrated to Canada in 1969, our stories filtered back to family and friends in Czechoslovakia. The Canadian government offered us English language courses for free, and financial help get us on our own feet. We bought a cheap camera and took pictures among the fruit stands of a grocery store, to show our parents we weren’t starving. In those days our friends and family had to line up for toilet paper, potatoes, bread and other daily necessities. Store shelves in Eastern Europe were practically empty. Once in Canada, our eyes finally opened to the success of democracy and freedom. It was hard for the Communists to keep that a secret.

• Dusil

If you missed the previous Dusil posts, then click on these links:

• Digital Photo Restoration

 5 minutes 43 seconds

70.Dec.24 - Toronto · Vaclav, Eva, Gabriel, Sona, Erika, Roman, Gabriel Dusil (birthday cake)
70.Dec.24 – Toronto · Vaclav, Eva, Gabriel, Sona, Erika, Roman, Gabriel Dusil (birthday cake)
72 - Brampton - Erika, Karol, Vaclav, Eva, Robert Sr., Vlasta, Roman, Gabriel & Sona Dusil
72 – Brampton – Erika, Karol, Vaclav, Eva, Robert Sr., Vlasta, Roman, Gabriel & Sona Dusil
71 - Brampton · Roman, Gabriel, Sona, Vlasta, Vaclav, Kajo, Eva, Robert Sr., Erika Dusil
71 – Brampton · Roman, Gabriel, Sona, Vlasta, Vaclav, Kajo, Eva, Robert Sr., Erika Dusil
72 - Brampton - Karol, Robert Sr. & Vaclav Dusil (living room)
72 – Brampton – Karol, Robert Sr. & Vaclav Dusil (living room)
72.Sep.18 - Brampton · Sona, Vaclav, Gabriel & Roman Dusil (Gabriel's birthday)
72.Sep.18 – Brampton · Sona, Vaclav, Gabriel & Roman Dusil (Gabriel’s birthday)
76.Jul.12 - Burlington · Vaclav, Eva, Vlasta, Erika, Gabriel, Roman, Alica & Sona Dusil (birthday)
76.Jul.12 – Burlington · Vaclav, Eva, Vlasta, Erika, Gabriel, Roman, Alica & Sona Dusil (birthday)
80.Jul - Lake Nippising · Sona, Vlasta, Gabriel, Alica & Roman Dusil (rock beach suntan)
80.Jul – Lake Nippising · Sona, Vlasta, Gabriel, Alica & Roman Dusil (rock beach suntan)
78 - Burlington · Erika & Vaclav Dusil (sharing coat)
78 – Burlington · Erika & Vaclav Dusil (sharing coat)
76.Sep.18 - Burlington · Roman, Alica, Gabriel, Vlasta, Noel, x, Sona Dusil (Gab's birthday)
76.Sep.18 – Burlington · Roman, Alica, Gabriel, Vlasta, Noel, x, Sona Dusil (Gab’s birthday)
75 - Burlington · Roman, Gabriel, Sona, Karin, Vlasta, Anika, Alica Dusil
75 – Burlington · Roman, Gabriel, Sona, Karin, Vlasta, Anika, Alica Dusil

70.Dec.24 - Toronto · Vaclav, Eva, Gabriel, Sona, Erika, Roman, Gabriel Dusil (birthday cake, restoration)

Family • Photo Restoration • 42 • Dusil • Immigration

• Introduction by Eva Dusil • Editing by Gabriel Dusil • 2014 October

• Our family struggled financially throughout my youth. My father was paid very poorly as an appraiser of antique books – somewhere around 800 Czechoslovakian korunas per month (equivalent to 33 US$ at today’s exchange rate). My mother earned around 1200 korunas (49 US$) per month as a clerk. As a child I didn’t feel our financial struggle. I even managed to have a happy childhood. Looking back, even though the entire country was poor (in Western terms), I think we were poorer than the average. We lived from salary to salary and frequently my parents fell behind. I remember one day my mother didn’t receive her salary on time and we had nothing to eat. She scraped together some old leftover cottage cheese and mixed it with flour to make dumplings. It was very good.

• Growing up, my parents were very strict. My mom kept an eye on me and punished me if I didn’t do well in school. She consulted with the teachers when I misbehaved, and that kept me in line. I was repeatedly told that I would do better if I applied myself. Throughout high school I was an average student. I really came to my senses once I decided to attend university, and study veterinary medicine. Finally I was studying what I enjoyed. In my first year I met Vašek Dusil, who was in his fifth year of veterinary studies at the time. When we started dating he insisted that I regularly go to lectures, even though they weren’t compulsory. Out of 120 students in the class, less than 10% attended lectures. I came to realize it was good to be seen by the professors who later tested us, since all the exams were verbal. I was among the first in my class to complete and pass my exams. I finished four years of university in Košice before we emigrated to Canada. Once there I completed my veterinary studies at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.

• Digital Photo Restoration

 6 minutes 36 seconds

69.Apr - Košice · Gabriel Dusil (sleeping)
69.Apr – Košice · Gabriel Dusil (sleeping)
69.Oct - Paris · Gabriel Dusil (on the ground)
69.Oct – Paris · Gabriel Dusil (on the ground)
69.Oct - Paris · Gabriel Dusil (park bench & toy)
69.Oct – Paris · Gabriel Dusil (park bench & toy)
69.Sep - Košice · Gabriel Dusil (my 1st birthday cake)
69.Sep – Košice · Gabriel Dusil (my 1st birthday cake)
69.Sep - Košice · Gabriel Dusil (touching 1st birthday cake)
69.Sep – Košice · Gabriel Dusil (touching 1st birthday cake)
70 - Toronto · Gabriel Dusil (Leslie St., bowling)
70 – Toronto · Gabriel Dusil (Leslie St., bowling)
70.Sep.18 - Toronto · Gabriel Dusil (birthday cake)
70.Sep.18 – Toronto · Gabriel Dusil (birthday cake)
70.Sep.18 - Toronto · Gabriel Dusil (glass grapes)
70.Sep.18 – Toronto · Gabriel Dusil (glass grapes)
71 - Brampton · Gabriel Dusil (Jack & Jill Nursery)
71 – Brampton · Gabriel Dusil (Jack & Jill Nursery)
71 - Montreal · Gabriel Dusil (Slavo's flat, statue)
71 – Montreal · Gabriel Dusil (Slavo’s flat, statue)

 



69.Apr - Košice · Gabriel Dusil (sleeping, premiere pro)


 

Family • Photo Restoration • 15 • Dusil

• During the communist era very few citizens of the eastern bloc were allowed to travel to the west, except for politicians and sportsmen. Travelling amongst countries such as East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Yugoslavia were allowed. But even that was difficult, since the authorities only allowed travel to the eastern block once every two years. Travel to the west on a Czechoslovakian passport required both a “vyjazdna dolozka” (an “exit visa” granted by the passport police) and an entry visa granted by the western country. Only after receiving the “vyjazdna dolozka” (specific to the country of destination) could the traveler apply for an “entry visa”. In addition, the traveler’s employment manager needed to approve the application.

• Top sportsmen from Czechoslovakia would have a number of STB minders when competing in western countries.  STB, or “Štátna tajna bezpečnosť”, is Slovak for “State Secret Security”. Essentially they were the Czechoslovakian equivalent to the Russian KGB. STB minders were present as members of the Czechoslovakian delegation at events such as the Olympics, European or World championships. Despite these minders, some successfully defected to the embarrassment of the communist party – Martina Navratilova (tennis), Václav Nedomanský and Richard Farda (hockey), and many others. In the early 1960’s travel rules and political repression was a bit relaxed. But these political changes were not enough and this led to changes in the communist party hierarchy. It also resulted in the attempted reforms of the new General Secretary, Alexander Dubček, referred today as the Prague Spring. On the 21st of August 1968 the Soviet Union and four other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia to halt Dubček’s reforms. This meant in a renewed orthodox communist grip on Czechoslovakia for the next twenty years.

• Dusil

If you missed the previous posts on Dusil, then click on these links:

• Digital Photo Restoration

News footage from the 21st of August 1968

• In 1969 my uncle requested travel to Paris, His boss asked what would happen to his children. My uncle lied, saying that his children would stay with their relatives. Essentially he was reassuring his boss that my cousins would remain home as “collateral deposit”. This was sufficient to reassure the authorities that the traveler would not defect. On that basis his manager approved their travel request. My uncle subsequently forged his children into the application. They obtained exit visas from the passport police, and then entry visas into France. Ten days later they “forgot” to return. The rest is history…

• Digital Photo Restoration

4 minutes 40 seconds

68.Nov - Košice · Gabriel Dusil
68.Nov – Košice · Gabriel Dusil

 

• Postscript by Eva Dusil • 2014 October • Gabičko, this a very cute photo when you were about two months old. I still remember Nanika commenting how well you were able to hold your head up. Love you, Mom, with happy memories.

• Postscript from me • 2014 October • I think I could have won the award for the roundest head in Czechoslovakia.

 

8 minutes 00 seconds

69.Jan - Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil
69.Jan – Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil
69.Jan - Kosice · Gabriel & Eva Dusil
69.Jan – Kosice · Gabriel & Eva Dusil
69.Jan - Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (cradle)
69.Jan – Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (cradle)
69.Jan - Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (kiss)
69.Jan – Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (kiss)
69.Jan - Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (on Taci's shoulders)
69.Jan – Kosice · Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (on Taci’s shoulders)

 

• Postscript by Eva Dusil • 2014 September • This photo was taken at Slavo Sykorsky’s villa in Košice, where we lived until we left Czechoslovakia in August 1969 and emigrated to Canada. Prior to Slavo’s place we lived in Pepo Vosecky’s apartment for short time. You were about four months old.

• Postscript from me • 2014 September • Look at that little baby… Precious!

 

69.Apr - Košice · Gabriel Dusil
69.Apr – Košice · Gabriel & Eva Dusil

 

 

8 minutes 19 seconds

69.Sep.4 - Košice · Leaving for Paris (#1)
69.Sep.4 – Košice · Leaving for Paris (#1)
69.Sep.4 - Košice · Leaving for Paris (#2)
69.Sep.4 – Košice · Leaving for Paris (#2)
69.Sep.4 - Košice · Leaving for Paris (#3)
69.Sep.4 – Košice · Leaving for Paris (#3)

 

• Postscript from Eva Dusil • 2014 October • These were taken in Košice on the day before we emigrated. We are at the bus station on our way to Bratislava to catch our flight to Paris the following day. In Bratislava we slept over at a rental apartment with Slavo and Milica Sykorsky. We arrived at Orly Airport in Paris, late in the afternoon on the 5th of September – on Vašek’s birthday. As we landed in France we finally felt free. Our first night was in a university dormatory, since the fall semester had not yet begun. You took your first steps that night. During the trip you had a bad cold, runny nose and fever, but a couple days after arriving in Paris you were fine.■ My father-in-law didn’t know that we were leaving, and later told us he would have informed the authorities.

 

• Tags

Alexander Dubček, dusil.com, Eva Dusil, Eva Kendeova, Erika Dusil, Gabičko, Gabriel Dusil, Igor Fridrich, Karol Dusil, Lokomotiva Košice, Martina Navratilova, Pepo Vosecky, Prague Spring, Richard Farda, Robert Dusil, Slavo Sykorsky, STB, Stefan Bartus, Truncheon Law, Vaclav Dusil, Vašek Dusil, Václav Nedomanský, Vlado Makovsky, vyjazdna dolozka, Warsaw Pact invasion, Štátna bezpečnosť, Štátna tajna bezpečnosť


69.Sep.4 - Košice · Leaving for Paris (#1, thumbnail)