Tuesday, May 7, 2013

West Must Be Doing Something Right...

Last night I went with my sister, Becky, and her family to see their house one last time before it is bulldozed. I hadn't seen the house since the night of the fertilizer plant explosion, April 17, 2013. As we carefully walked through the debris that was once their happy home it was hard to keep our emotions in check, so we didn't. As I looked at the couch where little niece, Ally, sat, I could do nothing but thank God that she survived...without a scratch. The couch was covered with glass, bits of ceiling, sheet rock and insulation...but little Ally is ok. After shedding a few tears, hugs and smiles we took a few pictures, gave it the official "clap" (applause) for keeping the family safe, said good bye...and drove away.

Before going home we drove through a nearby neighborhood and saw a good friend. This dear friend (a teacher at West Elementary) visited with us for a bit. We did what everyone in West, Texas,

is doing now when we see each...thank God for all the survivors. Then she told us that the first day back at school the faculty and staff let the children of West express their emotions...drawing, writing, talking...whatever they need to do. The teachers were amazed. Most of the students looked past the explosion. Past the blast. Past the loss and instead focused on the blessings this town is witnessing. So very many of the dear children of West are focusing their attention on "God bless West" and the love, support and generosity surrounding this dear little town so many of us call home.

I have to think that we must be doing something right as a town when our children can see God's blessings in the midst of this tragedy.

Out of the mouths of babes...God blesses West.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bridal Kroj from Hluk

Thanks to everyone for your patience as I have not posted in quite a while now. This post is part of a series I hope to start on the varied costumes from the Czech Republic. Anyone wishing to have their costume(s) featured in this series can send photos and description to me at czechcostumes@gmail.com.

I want to extend many thanks to Mildred and Bill Dokupil of West, Texas, for providing the photo and description of her spectacular authentic Czech costume (kroj).

Mildred is wearing a traditional bridal kroj from the village of Hluk near the town of Uherske Brod, located near the Moravian-Slovak border area. This kroj is a stunning example of a mid-20th century costume. The collar is called an objek and is made of pleated Czech lace and embroidered ribbon. The accordion pleated sleeves (rukavec) are trimmed in hand embroidered lace (kanicky) which have been heavily starched. The blouse (kosila) has embroidered panels on the front and sleeves. The vest (kordula) is made of purple velvet, trimmed in hand painted ribbon (masla) and metallic lace. The back has three orange yarn puffs that indicate what village the kroj originates from. The front skirt (fertusek) is of burgundy brocade with floral prints edged in pleated Czech lace. The back skirt (sorec) is made of white accordion pleated cotton and is highlighted at the waist with brocade ribbon and metallic lace. The white skirt is worn by the bride and black by the bridesmaids. The off-white panel at the back (struple) has hand embroidered puffed pink roses, greenery and adorned gold beads and sequins. The kroj is complemented by a floral ribbon (masla) tied at the front waist.

The elaborate bridal cap (cepeni) is handmade with puffed Czech ribbons, flowers, pearl beads, gold and silver beads, crystals, silver sprays and miniature mirrors. The back is accented with Czech embroidered bows and ribbons.

Mildred acquired parts her kroj in March 1984 with the help of Ludmila Vaculikova and her family. During the Communist regime it was very difficult to get parcels in the mail. Slowly it came piece by piece. The bridal cap was the last part of her kroj and it was hand carried by Karol Vaculik, son of Pani Vaculikova, who came to West for a visit. Mildred wishes to thank Babicka Vaculik for all her work and getting this beautiful Czech kroj.

Mildred and her husband, Bill, first visited Czechoslovakia in 1978. They found Bill's relatives in Halenkov where his great grandfather is buried. After a return trip to his home land his great-grandfather became ill and died. Mildred found her grandmother’s family in Orechov. They have been back eight times and still visit the Dokupil and Hejl families.