On October 27 this year, we will celebrate the 120th birthday of the poet Alexander Chuck. When thinking about the beginning of his creative journey, one cannot fail to mention Leonont Amalie Rundel. The beloved not only helped the young Chuck with the acquisition of exact subjects, but also increased the young poet’s confidence in his abilities and creativity. Unlike Leonont, Chuck’s family did not seek to support his choice of a creative path.
In order to commemorate the outstanding singer of the city, the founder of modern poetry and the master of prose, the creators of the Latvian Radio program “Kultūras Rondo” start the cycle “On the Way to Aleksandra Čaka”. Alexander Chuck Memorial Apartment – Museum The director, also at the suggestion of Chuck ‘s life and creative researcher Antras Medne, is about the writer and his first love – Leonont Amalie Rundel – which has also left significant traces in Chuck’ s creative work. Leontine comes from an ancient, famous Rundeli family, from Piebalga. Her father was a teacher, also a folklore collector and researcher Jānis Rundelis.
Aleksandrs and Leontīne got acquainted at Riga 2nd State Secondary School in Pardaugava.
Antra Medne says that Chuck’s journey to this school has been very long: “Returning after seven years as a refugee in Russia, in 1922 he decided to study medicine. The problem was that Chuck graduated from the humanities school in Russia and did not have grades in subjects such as chemistry, physics, or mathematics. There was nothing left but to look for another opportunity to study in high school here in Riga. ”
On the first visit, Aleksandrs entered the Latvian Youth Union Secondary School. Medne recorded in Chaka’s memoirs that he was not obsessed with attending school. The main excuse – fatigue on Russia’s distant roads. Eventually, the young man was expelled from school.
The second approach followed – in 1923 he entered the already mentioned Riga 2nd State Secondary School, a course created for young people who, during the war and refugees, could not pass all the subjects.
With the help of Leontīne, he graduated from this school and entered the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Latvia.
After that, Leontine, who did not study at this faculty herself, could no longer help Chuck in the evenings by preparing for the study tests. Alexander’s medical studies began after the first semester.
Antra Medne emphasizes:
“Leontine was one of the impulses that encouraged Chuck to write his poems. 1923./1924. year is very creative in Chuck’s biography. [..] He has written his poems in a thick notebook by hand. Later, in 1925, he presented the notebook to Leontine with an entry – to Leon for a good memory of Saška. “
In the summer of 1925, Chuck attended compulsory school teacher training courses at the Ministry of Education’s Folk High School Directorate. After passing the teacher’s exam, he was sent to work in the Drabeši children’s boarding school in Cēsis district. At first he worked as a teacher-educator, but later as a study manager.
It takes three years in Drabeš, and those are important years for Alexander Chuck, because that is where he became a poet, Antra Medne emphasizes:
“Far from Riga, in the deep fields, the first five collections of Chuck’s poems were written and arranged.
The first two collections of poems were published in 1928 and the next two in 1929. ” Of course, while living in Drabeš, Chuck is inspired by Leontine. She visited Chuck from time to time, but more often they communicated through letters, calling each other by different names. Alexander addresses the beloved in letters as Loņu, Loncīte, beloved Lonča, Lončuka. Leontini called his little match a few times.
Medne reveals that Leontine and Chuck wanted to start a family, but the poet was not ready for it at that time and, as we know today, was not there for a long time. Nevertheless, the two maintained a friendly relationship. Leontine started a family with a lawyer, Theodore Freiman. After the Latvianization of the surnames, the Freimans became the Ritums family.
In 1944, Leontīne left Latvia with her family. During the Soviet era, she did not, as she left, mention Chuck’s life.
Antra Medne reminds that it was Leontine who inspired and supported the young Alexander in his creative ways when the family itself was against it.
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