A 1910 MEMORY FROM THE UKRANE

 

††††††††† One of our members, Dr. Jerred Metz of St. Louis, Missouri, is in the process of writing a book entitled HALLEYíS COMET, 1910.He sent us a passage from his latest published prose work, Drinking the Dipper Dry: Nine Plain-Spoken Lives.He created the book by way of edited tapes, having interviewed the nine people for two-and-a-half years.The passage below was recorded from Frank (Froika) Fershter.The incident took place in Bondorova, Ukrane.

 

††††††††† It was a Sunday in 1910.An automobile passed by.It was the first time the people had ever seen an automobile.I had already seen one because I had been to different places

 

††††††††† The peasants were smart people, they were intelligent people, but they werenít educated.They didnít know what to make of it.It was the time of Halleyís Comet.Some said it must be a part of the comet.Someone said it must be something that brings the end of the world and someone said a devil sits in there and operates the machine.

 

††††††††† I donít know how the peasants knew about Halleyís Comet.The town where I lived had about fifteen blocks and I donít think amongst all of those people there were ten people that could read or write, but everybody knew that something was coming; they just didnít know what it was.

 

††††††††† I had a book that described Halleyís Comet.Somehow the peasants knew that I had it.So they came up to me and said, ďFroika, we want the book that tells about the comet that will come and destroy the earth.ĒSo I told them itís not as bad as that.It wonít destroy anything.I couldnít tell them that nature provides the comet.If I told them that, Iíd have to explain all these things and I didnít know anything about them myself.So I told them its Godís doing and thatís all.Heíll see that weíre safe.What can you tell an illiterate person?

 

††††††††† I remember just like today.There was a bunch of Russian boys and girls visiting at our house.†† That evening we were sitting around the table and drinking tea and talking.One of the fellows said goodnight.He was going home.All of a sudden he comes back and he knocked at the window.He said, ďCome on out, ladies and gentlemen and youíll see something.Ē

 

††††††††† We went outside and looked around.The comet was there.It was almost as big as the moon. The comet and its tail covered up almost the whole horizon.It made the night like a street now looks when the streetlights are on.It was beautiful.

 

††††††††† I still remember as I walked out of the house it looked to me like the fiery tail was all on me.I wasnít scared; I was stupefied.I didnít think of God, I didnít think of angels, I didnít even think of nature.I thought just of that thing.It looked like gold.The comet didnít have any certain quality.It just looked like something the imagination would make.It was a dream.It was like being in space.It was such an experience, Iíll never forget it.

 

Copyright: Jerred Metz, 1980, Drinking the Dipper Dry: Nine Plain-Spoken Lives.K.M. Gentile, Publisher.

 

 

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