My great grandmother, Anna, immigrated from Czechoslovakia in the year of 1915 when she was just 15 years old. Anna made a life for herself in a Chicago suburb where her sister was living and where there was a large bohemian community. While her kids (one of which was my grandfather) were born in America and grew up living a very "American" life, bohemian culture continued to play an important role in the family and this stands true today. I grew up hearing stories about how my great grandmother would speak Czech every time she picked up the phone and how she would spend weekends baking Czech pastries. I also grew up experiencing some parts of our bohemian roots first-hand. As a child, and even to this day, I could always count on one thing when visiting my grandparents; a loaf of houska in the breadbox. Houska is a traditional Czech sweet bread, and it is the object that I associate most with my family's immigration history. My dad recounts that when he grew up, Houska was always a staple in the house, at both his immigrant grandparents house and his own house. And as I grew up, this stayed true at my grandparents house. I remember that my grandma would stock up when the whole family came for holidays and she would be lucky if four loaves would make it past one morning. While there are other Czech traditions that have been carried throughout my family, Houska has become the main symbol of this heritage, especially for my cousins and I who are now the 4th generation. To me, Houska symbolizes the immigration history of my family and the story we have to tell. 

Place(s): Czechoslovakia
Year: 1915

– Anne Fanta

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more