Tuesday, May 22, 2007

RJ Halla

RJ Halla has traveled a great deal in his amazing life. (Thesis sentence)He was born in Prague (see picture to the left) in 1926 and emigrated to the United States in 1949. While he had spent part of his youth in France and England, he decided to leave his native country for political reasons. He married an American citizen and spent his career working abroad for the US Department of State. Today he still follows Czech customs, but enjoys spending time with is two sons, eight grandchildren and, at nearly 82 years of age still works full time. (Outline sentences)

RJ's travels began in Prague where he was born in 1926 to a father who worked for the travel company Cedok. (Topic sentence that is linked to the thesis.) Because of his father's work, he was able to escapte Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia and moved to Paris (see video below) where he lived until Hitler invaded the city of lights. From there he moved to London where he lived through the Battle of Britain from 1939 to 1944 and endured the death of his father.

After the war's end, RJ moved back to Czechoslovakia which was transitioning between different governments. (Notice the topic sentence links back to the theis discussing travels and tells you what is coming in the paragraph.) While in Prague he entered and graduated from Charles University and then entered medical school. At the same time (1948) the Communist Party won elections and took over the government. Strongly opposed to this ideology, Roman took part in demonstrations against the government, translated articles from Time magazine (eventually Time even wrote an article on him) and was finally kicked out of school when he refused to join the communist party.

From Czechoslovakia, RJ escaped to Germany where he was a refugee for almost a year.  There are approximately 1.2 million Czech-Americans in the US today.  While there were many Czechs coming to the US in the 1920s after World War I, during the decade that RJ came to the US, only eight thousand made it.  In 1949, when RJ left his native country many Czech refugees to the US were going to big cities such as Chicago, New York and Cleveland.  RJ initially moved to Delaware and lived on his mother's porch.

There have been many changes in the US since RJ arrived here.  Harry S Truman was president and the US was just entering into a war with North Korea.  RJ was a member of the US Army during that time period which helped him to get his citizenship more quickly than normal.  There were also many cultural differences from today.  Kleenex had just been invented and most people had just several channels to watch on a black and white television.  The Civil Rights era was just , rock music was barely in its early stages and the average house was just over $8000!
RJ left his country with no money and landed in a refugee camp in Germany before eventually making it to the United States. (Again travel is mentioned and I have outlined the paragraph you are about to read.) In the US, he first sold vacuum cleaners door to door, moved to a job in research before eventually become a foreign service officer for the the US Department of State. This job took him to Greece, Belgium, Iran and finally to France (see video below).

RJ brought many customs with him to the United States from his life abroad. (Again we are linked to movement from one place to another.) One of them is to put candles on the Christmas tree and then eat fish on Christmas Eve a holiday he shares with other Czechs in the predominantly Catholic country. Roman also still enjoys traditional Czech food such as goulash and bread baskets.

Today RJ still travels, but now it is to visit his grandchildren. Three of his grandchildren live in Alexandria, VA and and five are up in Saca, ME. His travels do not limit his ability to work full time, play tennis several times a week and read his precious books. (Notice how the two sentences are linked by the word "travels.")

RJ Halla, through a life lived in many countries, has had a rich life. He has been an American citizen three times longer than a Czech one and in spite of his Czech tradtions considers himself an American citizen who nevertheless still enjoys visiting his relatives in Prague. (You always need a summary paragraph.)