Like a Haystack: Life from My Perspective, a Memoir by Margaret Smolik’s Family Incredible Emigration from Croatia to America during WW2

Osage, Iowa – Wars are events that leave people adrift finding a stable, safe place, far from all the life-threatening attacks. Wars create displaced people and fleeing people, and the most famous war of all is WW2. The memoir, Like a Haystack: Life from My Perspective, by Margaret Smolik, details her family’s distress and travail in WWII that drove them to leave their native Croatia, find footing elsewhere, and escape the brutal war. America provided them with the safe and opportunities laden haven they sought.

The memoir is raw and real – Margaret Smolik wrote about her family’s background, the experiences in Austria after forsaking their Croatian ancestral land and the subsequent move to the United States, to Iowa. She seamlessly tells how life in Europe is different from being in America and of course writes about the American Dream and the measures taken by people to make it a reality. Smolik’s description of the sheer grit to endure war, poverty, and suffering in the face of adversity in Like a Haystack is awe inspiring.

The haystack metaphor in the memoir’s title is in touch with life’s ever-changing nature that needs to be unearthed and taken on. Smolik has delved into history, her family’s background and her salad days in Like a Haystack – she doesn’t want those valuables to vanish in time. Smolik’s strong persona is molded by the odds she had to lock horns with.

When asked how Like a Haystack is different from other books, Smolik quipped, “My book is short, to the point, and easy to read. It is based on personal and family experiences that give an insight into the effects of war, especially to those who are beyond the WWII generation.”

Lynn Haakenson, an English teacher, said the following about Like a Haystack, “This account is a fascinating memoir of the author’s life in Croatia during WWII and her family’s adjustment to life in America.”

Through her book, Smolik extends a message of world peace and a better future where humanity prevails.

About the author

Fleeing Croatia during WW2, Margaret Grgurič Smolik and her family came to the United States in 1952. Smolik earned a bachelor and master’s degrees at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, and is a lifelong teacher of English and writing. She is a certified copy editor and has penned two children’s books along with several poems – the poems were published in Lyrical Iowa, the annual anthology of the Iowa Poetry Association. She is active in her community and parish and the local writers’ group. Margaret and her husband were blessed with four children.

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