If everything goes according to plans, on 30 November I will start my first field trip. I will conduct research at the Technisches Museum in Vienna. I am already excited and I try to get prepared. In addition to reading various museology-related articles, I spend around 20 minutes each day looking at texts written in old German gothic handwriting. It is vastly different from our current handwriting – and it is strange to think that even in the 1920s and 1930s it was still widely used in Germany and Austria.
Back in 1994 I was a young, 21-year-old university student, who just started researching the history of Hungarian motoring. Following a hunch, I showed up at the National Archive of Austria on a summer day. I was caught completely by surprise. I got these old, late 19th century, early 20th century index books. And because of the difficulty of reading gothic handwriting I had absolutely no idea what’s written there. After a couple of hours I was able to decipher words like “Budapest”, “automobile”. Upon my return I took a course to properly learn reading these texts. And my beloved grandmother was also an enormous assistance. She kindly transcribed some of the texts and also translated those. She was very smart – she was almost 80-year-old when she learnt to use emails and she also frequently texted me. For many years I kept one of her poems which she composed for my birthday and sent it via SMS. It’s been almost 10 years since she died, but her presence is still felt in some of the recipes my wife is cooking and now, she’s with me again through her handwritten notes. I am using the transribed texts to practice gothic handwriting.
Elsewhere, I am preparing my second exhibition. It’s a small exhibition with some text panels a few classic cars and memoribilia celebrating the 115th anniversary of the Hungarian Automobile Club.
I also have a class again to teach. The international motoring history session has already ended and in February we’ll get into the Hungarian part.
And because there’s a lull in other activities I have time to write some articles focusing on motoring history. It’s lifting my spirits.