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It’s a Small World (Kicsi a Világ)

Charles Bálintitt Jr. 

After finishing college, I spent the entire summer of 1980 in Europe, including one week in Budapest.  I was traveling with one of my closest friends, Simonfay Feri, and we were both able to find lodging with a relative of mine, the amazing Atzél Bandi.  Now Bandi was the kind of guy who welcomed anyone and everyone at his apartment, in fact many people were given keys and could show up at almost any time seeking a place to spend the night.  While we were there, two brothers, Kicsi (yes Kicsi) Gyuri and Gábor were sharing the apartment with us, Bandi and Bandi’s 4 young children.

At the time, I had no idea who the Kicsi brothers were.  I just knew them as two other young guys who needed a place to stay while in Budapest.  It turns out that Gyuri lived in Romania, very close to the Hungarian border.  Gyuri told me that he was freely allowed to cross into Hungary, but had to stay within 20 kilometers of the border.  He could get into a lot of trouble if any of the authorities found out that he went all the way to Budapest.

A couple of days after our arrival, while walking through the city of Budapest with Gyuri, he asked me if there was anyone that I needed to see while I was there.  I told him that I did want to see my father’s first cousin, Feilitzsch Róbert.  He said: “Robi bácsi is away on vacation.”  I thought, “OK, he knows Robi bácsi.”  He then asked if I needed to see anyone else.  I told him that I did want to see Bethlen Erzsébet.  Gyuri responded: “I was just on my way to see Erzsébet néni myself because she’s my grandmother’s sister.” 

Then my response was: “Your grandmother’s sister???  She’s my father’s second cousin!”  And this is how I found out that I was actually Kicsi Gyuri’s mother’s third cousin.  You see it is a small (kicsi) world after all!


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