As a child, Charlotte Mendelson thought her grandparents' native Hungarian sounded ridiculous. But now her tiny vocabulary keeps their memory alive.
My grandmother was fearless. Yet if I asked her about the past, she would start crying. What kind of monster would have questioned her? So I resisted and now it is too late. She and her husband, my maternal grandparents, were Hungarians. Or so I thought. They spoke Hungarian, impenetrably, to each other. Even after 50 years in Britain, their accents remained so strong that kindly strangers would direct them to tourist attractions.
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