Wednesday, 18 December 2013

THANK YOU, ILI-NÉNI AND JÁNOS-BÁCSI

Snippets for the record

Yesterday's posting on next year's Makarenko Symposium has reminded me of a perhaps tenuous personal link between Conductive Education and a cardinal exemplar of A. S. Makarenko's upbringing in the People's Republic of Hungary: Ilona ‘Puszi’ Lazár Péterné.

Puszi who was a very close friend of Mária Hári's at gymnasium and at the close of Mária's life life. Between times, she had worked at the Fót Children's Town, world-famous in its time with in its field.

I have no reason to suggest that Makarenkoist ideas somehow leached from Fót to Villányi út through this personal connection. Indeed this seems rather implausible. The coincidence was probably no more than Puszi and Mária were were two fish swimming in the same small sea, their ideas and practice developing over the course of their working lives under the same social pressures and within the same Zeitgeist.

Here for the record is a short obituary note published in early 2005.

Ilona ‘Puszi’ Lazár Péterné

Former classmate of Mária Hári's and her good friend in later years

Ili-néni was a classmate of Mária Hári's at the Baár Madas Gimnázium in Budapest, back in the nineteen-thirties. In Mária Hári's's final years 'Puszi' as she was known to her friends was an important member of the small support group of former colleagues and close friends around a Doktornő (‘the Doctor'), who were increasingly vital to her well-being during the final period of her life.

Thus in September 2000 the Foundation [of Conductive Education] hosted a conference at the Novotel in Broad St, Birmingham. This proved to be Mária Hári's personal swan song on the international stage: she was already far from strong and only came at all because Puszi accompanied her.

The group of friends had come together again only after Mária Hári retired, at a fiftieth-anniversary class reunion. In October last year, along with other class-mates from the Gymnasium, Puszi contributed to the day conference held in memory of Mária Hári at Budapest Technical University. At this event Puszi recalled their early years and their later rekindled friendship. She recalled a trip to Transylvania following their matriculation:
We all went, it was a very long trip with lots of great walks in the mountains. One was 25 km. We were asked: Were you the girls who went alone in the mountains? We should have been frightened but we were not. We had many experiences together. My uncle, Dr János Balogh, was Deputy Director of the Sports Hospital. At the time Mária was working with children at the special education institute and she often went to my uncle in order to put together her own methods. He told her that she would have to graduate from medical university if she wanted to practise independently with her own methods. That is how she came to take her degree from the medical university. She had very good contact with my uncle. Towards the end, when she was ill, I was with her in Birmingham and many other places. It was a very close friendship.
In her own career Ilona Lazár had been a psychologist working with difficult and disturbed adolescents at the internationally renowned Fót Children's Village. Those who met her remember a warm and jolly but strong personality of considerable humanity and culture. The conductive world owes a considerable personal debt to Ilona ‘Puszi' Lazár Péterné – and to her Uncle János.

She died on 20 December following a short illness. Her funeral will be held at 10.00 a.m. on Friday, 4 February, at Fiumei úti Sírkert.

28 January 2005


Reference

Sutton, A. (2005) Obituary: Ilona ‘Puszi’ Lazár Péterné, Conductive Chronicle, 28 January



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