Friday, 22 April 2011

Old photos, new technologies

And an old mystery

In 1984, when I first went to what was then still the State Institute for Motor Disorders,, Mária Hári gave our small party a room to use as our base, at the end of the long corridor on the right. This room was used for meetings but in earlier times, she told us, it had been András Pető's office, the room in which he had died in his birthday, nearly seventeen years before.

It contained a table, some chairs and a couple of shiny wooden cupbooards. There was nothing to reflect its earlier occupant, except the single black-and-white photo, no more than a snapshot, of a still-vigorous András Pető, working with a little boy, with a youngish woman leaning over them.

In those seemingly distant days, the Institute was very far from being 'world famous', so Mária was able to give us considerable time (I rather suspect that she and her Ministry were not at all sure what to make of us and our visit, nor of the apparent interest of HM Ambassador in those still Cold War days). So, perhaps to play safe, they gave us a lot of attention and time. Mária spoke much about Pető, and the way in which she did so soon had us exercising out imaginations, not about the man himself but about what sort of relationship the two of them had had.

There were very few photographs of him that we saw, but that stark, over-exposed snaphot stared down upon our conversations. And on our attempts to see whether the woman in the photo was Mária.

We certainly did not dare to ask her!

Blogger, Facebook, Picasa

Now that photo has appeared on the Internet, along with a couple of others also taken during the years 1957-59:

The first of the three is the one that used to hang in his room, the second shows children settling down for sleep on their plinths, the third is of András Pető flanked by student-conductors.

Looking again at that photograph, having seen quite a few of the younger Mária during the years that have passed since then, I am certain now that it was not Mária in this photo.

But who was she?

Due thanks...

I have to thank Susie Mallett for setting me off today on the trail that took me to this photo. Yesterday a posting on her Conductor blog referenced the Pető Institute's Facebook page for directing her to a really excellent video, a one-hour-long video of a programme with people with multiple sclerosis:

I had not previously spotted this Facebook page. Most reemiss! It looks a veritable cornucopia. It is in Hungarian but that is nothing that Google Translate cannot cope with (well, usually!). You can find this page at:

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Blogger Laszlo said...

The text names the person: Korispatakine. She is well known.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 23:23:00 BST  
Blogger Andrew Sutton said...

Thank you, Laci, I really should have spotted that!


Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 09:26:00 BST  

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