Flooded in Tears
Written by Martin Rada (telling the story of the village where my great-grandmother lived)
"How are you doing miss?" the neighbour asked politely. The excitement for Friday and the weekend was obvious in his voice. The neighbour was so friendly, sociable and he was liked by many people in the village. He lived with another 100 people in a village called Staré Kníničky. This village was located right next to Brno.
Everyone was happy that day because the weekend was slowly approaching. For most people, it meant that they could spend time with their family. Weekends were such an important thing for people and they still are, aren’t they? It is the time only for our families and friends. It is basically the only time when people can do whatever their hobbies are.
This weekend had been as every other weekend. Nothing unusual had happened. Every person worked on fields, kids were either helping parents or hanging out in the streets of the village running around and playing a variety of games. Until the polite neighbour came with a message saying something unusual. He told her “I am sure you’ve already heard the message, haven’t you, about the session in the local pub. Weird right?” said the guy and the surprise was visible on his face. “No we haven’t heard anything about it. What kind of meeting is it supposed to be? There is nothing to discuss.” “That’s such an uncommon thing though. What’s that important. I don’t have much info but I know that the mayor is calling all the inhabitants of the village. Even the council is gonna be there, every member. I wonder what the urgent thing is.” “Me too. It’s probably just an announcement about something. Although we’d better go there. The time of that was set at 8 o’clock tomorrow. Also, I must leave the workload on my field which is unbelievably great.” The neighbour left and the thought of tomorrow's gathering was stuck in her head. It was the kind of thought that does not disappear from your brain. “What a mystery!”
Nobody knew what they should expect. Although people had many other things to worry about and so they were only waiting.
A few days after the day came and all people from the village went to gather at the local pub. On the way, many people met their friends and gossiped about the meeting. So many theories were exposed, maybe even conspiracy theories. She and her family also heard many things. Her friend Mary told her “Hey Blažena I honestly think that they are gonna announce early elections. The mayor does not look after our village as it should be” Yet Blažena didn’t agree on any of those theories. Indeed, she was worried and she wanted to know what to expect. Although she was not superstitious and no prejudices were in her head. She had always said, “people are always pretending to be smart even though they don’t know enough. People may look like that they are smart as owls but actually it is different.” After five minutes the council let people into the pub. Many people were already there but they were still waiting for some latecomers.” When the bells rang right at 8’clock the mayor went ahead and said “We all know you came here not knowing what to expect. Well, it is serious enough. The Moravian committee of the lands has presented a plan for a new reservoir close to our village. Brno needs a new reservoir as a source of water, they say, and apparently, the city has also funded the building of the reservoir. For all of us, it means that our lands, possessions must be sold since they may need the land.” Everybody was sweating. At that moment all the people realized that the village was not going to be theirs anymore and they all would have to sell and leave their houses, fields and probably friends.
Luckily the mayor was friendly and felt sympathy with all the families. The council understood the issue as well but still by the end of the day nothing changed. People had to leave and sell their possessions. The session was all the time under pressure. Nobody could reduce the tension. Only the mayor managed it when the council told people that they had negotiated good prices for their houses and fields. That made people less worried about their future. “At least we are not going to live in poverty,” said Blažena to her family but still many tears were floating in her eyes.
Approximately two hours later the meeting was done and people could go home. Every person realized that the session was not something absurd, something that is not super important.
Six months later all the inhabitants of Staré Kníničky left the village all knowing that the village was most likely going to be flooded. Not everybody. Some people still believed that the project would be dismissed and people could buy their things back, and then live their lives in the village they all used to live. Unfortunately, that never happened.
Almost eight years later they began digging and building around the village. The landscape was devastated. In addition, the village itself was also ruined and officially considered abandoned. People knew that they would never live there again and admitted that Staré Kníničky was only a memory in their minds. It was no longer a village or anything more than devasted houses and an enormous hole. At least the majority of the buildings were still standing and people could look at their old houses and remember their happy moments.
It had been almost a year after they began building. Blažena woke up and saw a newspaper lying on the kitchen table. The newspaper was open on the third page and there was an article with the title: Flood completely destroys buildings around future Brno Reservoir. According to the article, the flood destroyed all the buildings and other things when the Brno Reservoir was still in the process of being built.
That included all the houses in Staré Kníničky. Blažena hardly breathed. Nothing was left in Staré Kníničky. All the buildings collapsed. Nobody could go around and look at their house anymore. Moreover, it was quicker than people thought. All people thought that at least the houses would not be destroyed and even if they couldn’t live there, they could have had the memories connected with the actual buildings.
However, the flood made a different plot.
Afterward, the building of Brno Reservoir was finished and citizens of Brno could have a water supply. The reservoir is there till now but Staré Kníničky is just something in history books, journals and old maps. And in the stories of its former inhabitants.