I was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1941. Two years to the day when Germany invaded Poland. My home was about 5 blocks behind the Parliament buildings, the beautiful neo-gothic structure that you usually see on the news when Hungary mentioned.
Suddenly my world was turned upside down and found myself as a refugee in Austria, then 4 months later, shivering at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg. Learning English, adjusting to a new lifestyle and making friends with other young adults who were brought up in a stable, naive, yet in some ways more sophisticated, affluent western environment was no small feat. With a lot of help and understanding from friends and teachers, I successfully finished high school and earned a degree in Science at the University of Manitoba in 1963.
Shortly after graduation I met and married another refugee, John Kende, a cartographer. His career-moves had us living in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary. For 20 years I worked as a biochemist, research assistant in medicine at various universities and hospitals across Canada. In 1984, I published my first cookbook Eva's Hungarian Kitchen, which amazingly still has a huge following, sold over 20,000 copies and is in 6th printing.
My second cookbook, Eva's Kitchen Confidence is a compilation of methods, tips and techniques I've learned from experience. Although my jobs exposed me to computers very early, writing a 324 page book and teaching myself to compose an eBook was a challenge. I chose this format to make the book affordable for people trying to save money, time and still put a nutritious home cooked meal on the table.
Our son Leslie was born in Winnipeg in 1968. He is an engineer, a graduate of Queen's University. He and his wife Ruth, a registered nurse, live in Calgary. On December 22, 1998 they presented us with a beautiful grandson Noah Thomas. Our second grandson, Anthony George was born April 23rd, 2001. Both boys give us great pleasure. Their unique view of life gives us new perspectives and challenges. We are "semi-retired" in Canmore Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and see the peaks of the Three Sisters from our windows.
Our home is on the edge of an environmental reserve, near the Bow River. We have frequent visits from coyotes, bears, elk and deer in our back yard and there is a constant traffic around our bird feeders. -To the right is a Rufus Hummingbird.- I garden, knit, crochet, tole paint, read, volunteer, write and of course, cook up a storm. We travel to Hungary, exotic places like China, Cuba, Jamaica, Greece, Alaska, Russia, the Mediterranean, as well as, around Canada as frequently as possible.
Snapshots...Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain was published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. It's a memoir of my childhood in Hungary that depicts the way that the repressive regime affected the everyday life of ordinary people including the world of young children. It is a reminder that we should cherish our freedom!
To read about my previously published books and other writing projects, please visit me on my homepage: www.telusplanet.net/public/ekende
Where to find Eva Kende online
Snapshots...Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain
While this is Eva's personal story, it reflects the minutiae of everyday life in post war Hungary until the 1956 Revolution when thousands felt compelled to flee to the west to seek a freer life in democratic countries such as Canada.
Eva kept her stories free of political bias so you, the reader, may draw your own conclusions.
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Smashwords book reviews by Eva Kende
- Reversible Skirt
on Sep. 08, 2011
by Laura McHale Holland
Laura McHale Holland broaches the subject, suicide, which has long been a taboo subject in western society. The author tells the story of three little girls, herself one of them, coping with the big secret, their mother's suicide. Children back then were not supposed to remember, have feelings or understand. Armed with these presumptions and an iron will, Laura's stepmother runs her charges with cruel rules and chores, forcing the girls to eventually unite against her.
Even though our childhoods were literally a world apart, I could relate to many of the problems of the girls faced. I had a grandmother whom I adored in spite of my mother's interference. There was a dark hole about my paternal grandfather's death of what they called "depression" that was never explained. As for the lack of nice school clothes, I could actually feel the pain of a teenage girl, because I've walked in those shoes.
The author describes, amazingly well, the thoughts and feelings that run through her little-girl mind, never faltering to show us, without being tempted to add an adult comment, the events as they unfold. Her naiveté, coupled with longing for something else, something better, is palpable.
To fill in the adult background, she cleverly interjects the missing information with a number of handwritten letters, from her deceased mother, who as a roaming spirit, watches over them and tries to explain herself.
The book delves into a very difficult subject. Well written and honest, this book makes for a thought provoking read. I am looking forward to a sequel, to find out what happened to the girls after they freed themselves from the clutches of a truly wicked or may be just incompetent stepmother.
Reviewed by Eva Kende