“Life as Lenke” Brown…Hungary to Brunswick Plantation!

Lenke Brown 2Lenke Brown , a lovely lady and resident of Brunswick Plantation and Golf Resort for 10 years, has an especially amazing life story! Born in Hungary in the small town of Devecher, not too far from Budapest, she has survived and thrived through  many difficult world events and personal challenges. Her inner strength and passion for Life have sustained her and given her the courage and persistence to achieve the life she loves today! Lenke says she knows God was with her all the way!

Lenke has written a book on her life titled, “Life As Lenke”.  The title came from the fact that the official name on her birth certificate is “Jolan”, which she did not know until many years later when she needed a copy of her birth certificate for official reasons. In Hungary at that time, you had to prove you were a Christian to get a job. There was not a birth certificate for Lenke, as her mother’s sister did not like the name Lenke, and christened her Jolan. So, at the age of 92, Lenke still has to sign papers as Jolan though she goes by the name her mother gave her of Lenke.

 Lenke wrote her book at the request to her husband , Larry Brown MarriageBrown. Larry, whom she married in 1977, was the Love of her Life! They met at “Roaring 20′s Place” where she went with her women friends in Connecticut in 1974.  Her friends had told her what a handsome and nice man Larry was, and when he asked her to dance…they danced all night! You could say that it was “Love at First Dance”! They both also loved to golf, which was one reason they were drawn to Brunswick Plantation and Golf Resort.  They had made their home in Connecticut after they married. Until moving to Brunswick in 2004, for the previous 10 years…they lived 6 months at their home in Las Vegas and 6 months at Cape Cod. They chose to be where the golf was good!

Brown dinnerThe house on the Brunswick Plantation in Smithfield is where Lenke lives today with her loving son, Miki and his lovely wife, Karen. They built it together as they all enjoy the area, and especially to support Larry’s medical challenges which eventually required a wheelchair.  Lenke loved and cared for him until he sadly passed away.  Her book is a tribute to her love for him, and was completed and published so that he could read it before his passing.

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The reason Larry wanted Lenke to write the book was that he thought her life story should be shared with others! A few main points on Lenke’s life journey include:

***Early Life Challenges!***

  • * Losing her dad at Age 4.
  • * Living with her struggling mother at her grandparent’s winery where she never felt welcome and experienced severe treatment.
  • * Leaving this bad home situation at age 15.
  • * Going to Budapest to work as caregiver to children in a family.
  • * After an frightening experience at the home where she babysat the children, Lenke went back to grandparents house to be hidden in the attic by her mother. (She was told not to return if she left.)
  • *Used money made in Budapest to get training as a dressmaker..Realizing she needed a Trade!
  • * Worked in Budapest as maid for a good Jewish family while learning pattern making & designing (1 year training).
  • * Stayed with a nice older lady who gave her a bed while she worked as a dressmaker. Though she was good at the dressmaking trade, she was told she was too slow and was fired.
  •   *Got a 2nd job cleaning houses and used her money to get to work with good tailors.
  • * Passed test in front of several tailors …Making pattern for herself and received a European Masters Degree in Ladies Tailoring.
  • * Struggled with rent and food until a young girl met her and took her to an elegant salon to work as a tailor @ Age 19! ***Lenke feels that God was there for Her for thisMiracle!***

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***Challenges as a Young Woman***

  • * Living with her father’s parents where she kept the books for grandfather’s business using grain machines. While living there, she met a handsome 19 year old young Hungarian GI whom she married.
  • *Germany had taken over Hungary and bombing was all around. After their little house was bombed, Lenke went back to Budapest. Her husband had to go to the Service.
  • *Lenke went to her husband’s parents and was scared by bombings. When she was 7 months pregnant when her husband was home and took her to the hospital. She was  hot and then cold constantly and had no energy, even to cry. Her husband was angry with her. It was not a happy marriage!
  • *When her son, Miki, was born, Lenke asked her sister to help for 1 month. It took 2 months for her son to have a voice and not be cold. After 6 – 8 months, his health was normal, and he grew up to be very good and very smart! Her precious love of her young life!
  • * In 1943 her husband was drafted. One day his cousin came to tell her he had died.
  • * She met a nice man who had a knitting business. When the Russians took over Hungary, they took his business. He had saved some money and was planning to go to Switzerland. He arranged for Lenke and Miki to go to Switzerland, also.
  • * As they were preparing to leave, her supposedly dead husband came home. Miki missed his dad and ran to meet him. Though their marriage was not good, Lenke stayed home so that her son would have the dad he missed. So, though they were married on paper, she did not consider him married to her and planned for a divorce.
  • * Lenke worked until 1956 and the Revolution.  Then she came to the United States. She had to leave her 14 year old son with his dad. Though he was a very smart boy, she did not discuss it with him. She planned to get him to the United States. She gave money to a friend to smuggle Miki to the U. S.  She tried to get her son through Vienna to Salzburg, but the communist would not let him come to the United States. She was  not able to get him to the United states for 8 years. When Miki came to the United States, he went to a 2 year Trade School . He later graduated from Hartford University in Connecticut.
  •  While in the U. S. in Connecticut, Lenke worked at a factory that made roller skates, golf clubs, etc. She had to change jobs due to health reasons. So, she got a job at a dry cleaners doing a tailoring job.
  • *Lenke decided she wanted her own tailoring business.  She went to the bank for a loan tailoring_tailoring001-13365_business_card_templatebut had no collateral.  She told them her tailoring talent was her collateral. She asked a friend for help and met a business man who loaned her the money. The man said he liked her because she had lots of guts. He also liked the excellent way she was trained in Hungary. He told her she could rent his shop in a good location because location was important in business. She was loaned $5,000 and opened her own tailoring business. Working 14 hours a day, her business thrived. She paid off the loan in 1 year rather than the 5 years on the contract.
  • * Lenke’s business had been thriving for six year when she met Larry Brown. The rest is a Happy History for Lenke!

Lenke feels happy to have Miki and Karen sharing a home with her. Lenke also has two grandchildren. Grandson Gary lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Grand-daughter , Sharon, lives in Connecticut and has a daughter. So, Lenke is also a Great Grandmother! She loves her family…another of God’s Blessings!

Brunswick_Island_GreenThough she has lived many places and played on a variety of golf courses, Lenka says that Brunswick Plantation and Golf Resort is the most beautiful place she has ever lived!  She also says it the best golf course she has ever played! She still plays golf every week and is a member of “The 9 Holers” golf group!

Lenke loves the beauty of Brunswick Plantation and that it is a gated community! She enjoys eating at the 19th Hole restaurant on at Brunswick Plantation. She is happy to live here with her son and his wife! She especially loves the Smithfield and considers the people who live there her family, too. She says she can walk around and everyone knows each other. She has many friends and loves it at Brunswick Plantation very much!

Lenke’s schedule for the week could be a guide for us all for healthy, happy longevity! She says she does stretches when she awakes…120 each! She does Tai Chi at Carolina Shores a few times a week.  She also plays Mahjong at the Brunswick House Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays. She belongs to a Friendship Class of  18 – 20 people at her Methodist Church in Little River.  They also have Window’s Club, and Lenke joins them for lunch once a month. She also has a friend, Stephanie, a Hungarian lady, that lives at Surfside.  They get together for shopping at Myrtle Beach and often stay overnight visiting!

Lenke enjoys the whole area around Brunswick Plantation!  She loves seafood and eating at local restaurants ….The Parson’s Table, The Grapevine and Boundary House are some favorites! Of course, there is also the beach at Sunset Beach.  She does enjoy walking on the beach in the early AM to watch the seagulls and find beautiful shells that the tides bring to the shore! So, Lenke has found her perfect home with family, friends and all things wonderful at Brunswick Plantation!  Lenke Bown is truly one of the “Great People of Brunswick Plantation”!

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