Little old voices, twinkling in the forest of the past...
In modern times, having an ancestral tree is a fashionable duty. Many families do their very best in trying to find their roots, in perhaps a way of consolidating a base in which the family tree can grow and shine with splendor. It is also a nice coincidence that our last name translates to, "Land of Trees.”
It is in many ways a happy and joyful thing - the fact of having a medieval last name; and it is indeed a great emotional weight to carry everywhere you go. I could write hundreds of pages about my family history and the overall geography that helped create the spiritual landscape of my ancestors and in the end, mine as well.
A millennia ago, in the bohemian dark forest of today's Czech Republic, one of my great-great-great-grand-parents moved to a much sunnier and saltier place in the southern part of an unknown paradise that is today known as Spain. Since then, many misfortunes and several hundred years have stamped a painful mark on my family. Forced to be part of certain diaspora, as if a tsunami of hate and terror arrived to our door, it made us transhumant and stateless...
And there we were, in the very Turkish Ottoman town of Thessaloniki; with languages unknown, facing the challenging reality of being newcomers in the ethnic minority. Each time my family moved from one kingdom to another, we collected our precious objects and brought our tiny shiny memories with us. A piece of manuscript here, some jewelry there, a rare mysterious drawing of an unknown someone also called coincidentally, "Mister Forest.” It didn't matter how heavy the baggage, we just wanted to keep our long treasured family tree.
Many decades ago the man I was left his everyday world. He became tantalized by the promise of becoming as free as a bird, even if he was in actuality much more like a tiny twisted cedar branch beginning to sprout. The rebellious part of a golden bough. To America I carried along a fragment of a very old soul, kept safely inside a tin can of Ottoman manufacture. I saw the new horizons, and behind me the thin line of Europe; many kingdoms left behind, as well as a dark forest in bohemia. It is interesting how after a while I became obsessed with the idea of digging deep down in American soil and planting myself like a desperate tree. I started to collect, to treasure, surrounding my little daughter with a million silent objects that every midnight started to sing a very old mysterious song. After a while, tiny figurines, dark sterling coins and many others oddities talked, murmuring their own wishes on my shoulder just when I was about to pass from a room to another. It was a magic surprise!
Thus I decided to open the bobocollected store that you visit today; as the old memories continue talking to me with twinkling voices: Let us go! Let us be free on our own! Help us to fly!
Naama Sarid / NYC