As told by Jiri Polivka
Editor's note: The story talks about maire - I am presuming that is Mayor, but not certain.
As a young research engineer in Czechoslovakia, in 1970 I designed a noise-figure test equipment to test then the newly developed UHF transistors at 500 MHz. Everything worked well but a reference test was needed. This was only possible on a Japanese-made noise-figure meter owned by TESLA Roznov, a semiconductor-making company located some 150 miles from Prague where I lived.
To travel there was a bit complex- an overnight train to get there, and another one to get back. I had an agreement with a TESLA engineer to test my transistors in the morning, then to spend a night there before going back early next morning. I sent a Telex to a Roznov suburban hotel for a room reservation, and went for the business trip.
I arrived in Roznov just in time, and in TESLA laboratory we tested all transistors with quite good results, close to mine. We were satisfied with the cooperation. After lunch it was time to go and rest in the hotel. To get there I had to go two stops by a local train. When I entered the hotel, it was bustling with people; the receptionist said that apparently my reservation was canceled. Hotel manager confirmed it and apologized. His advice- go to a local pub, there are always good local people offering bed and breakfast, even for a lower cost than that of the hotel.
I returned to the train station where a nice pub was, too; upon asking one or two locals, they alerted a gentleman who turned out to be local maire. He invited me to have a beer with him, while his wife offered to check the house where her parents lived, and make my bed and breakfast ready.
After the beer we walked towards that house; suddenly, maire’s wife came out and spoke with her husband. It turned out, he said to me, that according to radio news, from Pilsen prison a guy escaped who looked like you, with glasses. This was quite a shock; I offered my I.D. but the maire said: look, our old parents are afraid, so we can have you in our house for the night. The problem is, we expect to have guests for a dinner. He advised me to have a dinner in the pub, have a walk and come after 8PM.
So I did, they were very kind to me. Maire’s wife even made me a nice breakfast, and they refused any money I offered. But I noticed they had two small girls in next-door bedroom, so I guess the mother had a tough night with me as “escaped prisoner” in the guest room.
We parted nicely and I returned back to Prague in the evening. Next day I sent maire’s girls some toys and a letter of thanks. Being an escaped prisoner was a special privilege for me, and having me in their home, also a special experience of my kind hosts!
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