+ ‘Goodbye friends, goodbye America’
Our journey started after the war in 1948, when the family and I, as a 9-year-old, escaped from Hungary to Austria. This was followed by five years in refugee camps before arriving in America.
From the South Bronx we slowly moved up the economic ladder, from Morris High School to CCNY, to an Army stint in Nürnberg, Germany, where I met my lifelong partner, Ilona. Ilona stood out because of her Hungarian name and because she was also a poor refugee (from Oppeln, East Germany, now Poland).
After marriage and 30 years of working, saving and investing, Ilona and I arrived in paradise: Longboat Key.
This was 19 years ago — 19 years as Key Club tennis members where we met many, many wonderful friends. Friends whom we will always remember and cherish.
To our surprise, our journey is not yet over as we have decided to go “full circle” and return to Budapest, Hungary!
We would like to thank you all for your friendship, for the good tennis and lots of memories. We also thank America for giving us the opportunity to participate in the American dream. We remain grateful and faithful forever!
Géza “Gary” and Ilona Benko
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