Around the 1980's I received some poetry written by Bozena Samankova. It was sent to me to the radio station 2EA SBS in Sydney by her friend Anezka Tondrova. When I had a few free moments I looked some of the poems over and liked them, ever though some of the rhymes were not always perfect. I realized that the author was an older lady and that I should read her work more carefully and decide soon whether or not to use her work in our radio broadcasts. I was deeply moved by the verses- even though they were very simple- but they came "from the heart." When I met the author later I saw that she really was a great patriot, a loving mother and wife, in short- an unusual and very special person.
I called her on the phone and we arranged a meeting at her home in Croydon Park. There were lovely flowers on her veranda. The lady that opened the door was tastefully dressed and carefully coifed. She smiled at me and welcomed me with both hands. Right away I had the feeling that we had known each other for a long time!
It was clear that Bozena worked very hard all her life, yet lived in very modest circumstances. She was born in Lasenice, near Jindrichuv Hradec where she went to school and grew up. She always liked to reminisce about her birthplace and shortly before her death she was named Honorary Citizen of Lasenice. We quickly became friends and started to address each other by our first names.
We prepared a program composed of her poetry. It became so popular that I sent a copy of it to Blanka Kubesova to Zurich for broadcasting.
I also found out that Bozenka had written several manuscripts. With the help of Vladimir Skutina, Blanka Kubesova, dr. Jaroslav Strnad and her children, her writings got gradually published. They became very popular in Australia. Her first book was called "Escaping my Homeland". Other books followed, e.g. "Angel Steps", and "Perpetum Mobile" In this last book she describes the hard beginning of the Czech emigrants trying to establish a home in Australia. She also published a small collection of poems called "As Life Went By", and a book of stories called "The Opal in Your Hand". In the "Opal" she describes life in the community Lighting Ridge where opals are found. She and her husband lived there until her husband's death. In the last part of her book she says:
"It all now seems like a dream. Thirteen years of getting to know a completely different world. I often dream that I am still digging underground, the colors of the opals change from blue to green to orange. I hold them in my hand and when I awake- my hand is empty."
Bozenka's last years were spent in a retirement home. We often talked on the phone. We celebrated her 96th birthday a few days before her actual birthday. She died on April 17, 2002. (She was born April 20. 1906.)
I miss her very much but I will always have her in my heart.Jana Anna Rich(Reichova)
Translation by Marie Dolanska
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