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Stories from Babcia's homeland Poland- Please join in the discussion

Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
10 Dec 2008 /  #1
Well folks.. I am second generation full Polish (by blood) American..

I didnt get the luxery of meeting all of my grandparents. I feel bad that I missed that, but mom and dad were late baby makers apparently.. :)

my brothers and sister did though. well , my moms mother anyways.
my dads side grandma was already gone , but I heard alot about her, how she was a very happy lady, loved to be around all the friends and family.. liked her beer :)

Im not sure about vodka, because I was told they made wisky in the bathtub and sold it, like alot of our grandparents did back then.. hmmmmmmm

she also ran a confections store out of the basement coal shoot.. kids would come and buy it up..

I was told by my uncle, that during the war. some man came to the house, dont really know who he was, if he was in the polish army <~probably or what, but alot of govt officers were around him, so he was important, came to see my grandmother, Visit.. and was a relative.. which I still cant figure out who he was.

thats all from me..

I hope this thread takes off. :)

come on folks.. even if you live in poland, tell your stories.. poland gets enough negative, lets share some of the positive for a change.. :)

This actually proves a point, no matter if your polish, british, scottish, irish, etc

none would participate in such a boring discussion.. because its not about war, or about someone getting hurt, poloniphobia, racism.. yep, i am sure we had a post like this before and it went un-noticed.. guess grandma wasnt so important to anyone huh?

well Mine was...

Lets see if I change the topic to how about everyone tell a story about their grandparents homeland and stories.. lets see if anyone wants to share..

again, another attempt to bring to the table some positive.. and being obvious about it.
Daisy 3 | 1,225  
11 Dec 2008 /  #2
none would participate in such a boring discussion.. because its not about war, or about someone getting hurt, poloniphobia, racism

I fully agree with you on that one Patti......hopefully people will have stories to tell. I for one will be very interested in reading them
OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
11 Dec 2008 /  #3
Thanks daisy.. I hope someone else joins in.. I know a few who would but I havent seen them in a long time :(
Daisy 3 | 1,225  
11 Dec 2008 /  #4
I know a few who would but I havent seen them in a long time :(

perhaps they're bunkered down waiting for WWlll to pass
OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
11 Dec 2008 /  #5
well, maybe I will try another thread.. something positive.

lets see if we can drag the hidden folks out :)
Daisy 3 | 1,225  
11 Dec 2008 /  #6
lets see if we can drag the hidden folks out :)

I'll put my ARP helmet on and help you :)
OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
11 Dec 2008 /  #7
lol :) sounds like a plan!!

but it will have to be tomorrow.. I will need some time to think, brain is empty right now.

plus I can think of some good threads.. I hope.
Daisy 3 | 1,225  
11 Dec 2008 /  #8
plus I can think of some good threads

I look forward to them
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
11 Dec 2008 /  #9
Very sweet of you Patrycja19,
My grand parents are not from Poland but this could be a very interesting thread.
Zosiaprucha - | 28  
11 Dec 2008 /  #10
Since this is the Christmas season. I will tell of my experience's growing up in America as a second generation Pole.
I was fortunate, because my family came from good Polish Peasant stock.. They all lived to a ripe old age. They still celebrated Christmas the same way, that when they landed in America. I was fortunate to participate in this celebration.

Christmas eve (WIGILIA) was celebrated by my whole family in my CIOTKAS home. There were a lot of us. Everybody pitched in to help. All of my aunts had a task to do. The women cooked and baked. The men set up the tree and supplied the booze.

Early on Christmas eve, we gatehered together. The table was filled with food. Pieroge, groh and kapusta, babka, borcht, salads, no meat since we had to fast until midnight. Under the table cloth the was placed a sheath of hay. The oplatek was passed around and we sang KOLEDY..Telling stories ofd the old country, eating and drinking. My uncle played the accordian while we sang koledy.

We went to midnight mass, came home, and ate fresh and smoked kielbasa and szynka. This went on until daybreak.
Zyciem wam wrzysty wesolego Bozego Narodziena ZOSIA

Pasterze mili, coście widzieli?
Widzieliście maleńkiego,
Jezusa narodzonego,
Syna Bożego, Syna Bożego.

OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
11 Dec 2008 /  #11
Very sweet of you Patrycja19,
My grand parents are not from Poland but this could be a very interesting thread.

Thats ok, we would also like to hear some stories from your family as well :) growing up in Ireland.. especially Christmas like the cool story in post # 11

GrandeSande 2 | 119  
12 Dec 2008 /  #12
none would participate in such a boring discussion.. because its not about war, or about someone getting hurt, poloniphobia, racism.. yep, I am sure we had a post like this before and it went un-noticed.. guess grandma wasnt so important to anyone huh?

Hi All,
My grandmother was a very important person in my life, she taught me about so much that is relevant to me today. She lived to be 100 years old!

I wish I could tell more about all four of my Polish Grandparents' homeland and stories, but they, as many first generation Americans, did not want to talk about the old country. As my Grandfather used to answer when I would ask for any thing about Poland, "We're Americans now!"

If I knew more, I wouldn't be struggling with my genealogy
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
12 Dec 2008 /  #13
Grandparents... wars... love...emotion :) ... my family have it all :).

My Great Grandfather had a brother who went USA, while my Grandfather had a brother whom he lost in WW2. A tragedy he always remembered. Something to do with the Germans...

My Grandmother was an all Polish lady... :) ... as ofcourse all my family, except probably my Great Great Grand Father (He is the point till which all our family remembers). My Grandmother was a very kind lady, origionally from Northern Poland. She had a very kind way of treating my mother. I've sometimes noticed my father hold her picture in his hand when he is tense. We all know how much she means to him...ofcourse, obviously. The day she died, my father was broken, he cried (thats the only time he was seen crying). Yes family have very interestingly tight bonds ... we are very close...even till us (me and my siblings).

From the begginging.... my Great Great Grand Father came from a very exotic country of the East (as reported). We was a merchant and at the same time a dervish. However, he met my Great Great Grand Mother (who was the PoLiSh WoMaN of her times :) ...) and decided to marry. It is said that she was the daughter of a very well respected and influencial Polish family... and they were very impressed with the mystical yet humble and handsome attributes of my Great Great Grand Father.

From there on, my family had only Polish (slavic) members. Polish Surname probably came from the very first offspring from the Union of my Great Great Grand Parents, probably realising that the family headed towards beings completely Polish. Every one in my family have Polish names...we are slavic (almost 100%)... white, blue eyed....well some even came out to be blondes! lol... Its not very easy to accept that we sprung from a man from the east...if not explained the family roots. I accept.

My Great Grand Parents were probably 3... but I only know about two. One who is my direct ancestor.... the other (his brother) who left for USA... probably they had communication, but its not recorded, and his whereabouts lost with my Great Grand Father and his wife (my Great Grand mother). My Great Grand Father was a very intelligent man. Inherited a good fortune from his father and mother, he married a simple Polish woman. She was probably a nurse... but it is said that she had the beauty which could dazzle the sun! They together had a very good home. Though frowned upon at first, but things didnt turn out to be too bad for them.

My Grandfather had a brother, who got murdered by the Germans. A tale of courage and deep moral belief surrounds his death. My Grand father could never forgive the reasons for his brother's demise. He had a girlfriend, whose disappeared after the war ... I would like to call her a Grandma too :), they were supposed to marry, she also was Polish ofcourse.

My Grand father was a very friendly man, his wife was a saint (symbolically). Their love for each other created powerful hearts throughout my family. My Grandmother had an uncanny skill of solving the most difficult problems, specially related to the family. Her dignity was probably an inheritance from her ancestors, who could be traced to almost all the greatest chivalrious events in the history of Poland. Her presence demanded an special honor which I have heard that even my Grand Father recognised. However, she was humble all the time. My Grand father was a loving man... passing on the knowledge of family, and why we must keep our values intact. And how we hold our own identity with our personality. And how and why this is precious for us.

My father is a man in whom there is not found one little dot of dishonesty. I cannot say more of him, as it would seem obvious from a son to his father. My mother... :) ... my greatest support. Someone I should always have listened. I do listen to her... but there are exceptions....but she allows me to learn. And we share a great trust.

In all of the family history.... none of them had anything to do with alcohol/ intoxicants, and we had no divorces/seperations or events of shame (as defined by us) in our family. Christianity is followed, but I am not into that.

Morality is considered cornerstone in our lives :).

Poland is not just a country for us...its home.... its history, its past and present...its the current memory, and future prospect.

(I wonder if anybody read that big story :D)
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
12 Dec 2008 /  #14
(I wonder if anybody read that big story :D)

Wonderful story Lodz_The_Boat,#
it was a pleasure to read :)
GrandeSande 2 | 119  
12 Dec 2008 /  #15
(I wonder if anybody read that big story :D)

I read it with great interest and enjoyed it very much. The one similarity in our lives is the strength and beauty of our female ancestors! I can only hope to be such a role model to my children and grandchildren!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful family with us!

OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
13 Dec 2008 /  #16
(I wonder if anybody read that big story :D)

I enjoyed every bit of it :)
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
13 Dec 2008 /  #17
Its ... umm... preety sad that anything beyond my Great Great Grand Father is unknown. He probably came from some northern part of India region... I dont even know merchant of which commodity he was! lol...i guess spice.

Genealogy is not really my primary interest. But it does feel good to carry on the knowledge of your roots.

I notice that many people from America are so keen to discover their roots. It makes me realise how much potential this country has. Sometimes misused so painfully. American people, when they look at themselves, as a whole, might actually find the world in themselves... each of them capable of contributing yet another portion of the worlds culture, history, heritage, diversity and speciality. Even one family can have a Globe in themselves.

While Americans look into the world (which a loving eye ofcourse :D)... the world of intelligent people have more than one reason to look UP on America. A very respectable place indeed....but ofcourse, like every society or individual, they must recognise their respect and learn to give themselves respect.

I feel very happy when you are able to trace someone in you from Poland :).
OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
13 Dec 2008 /  #18
I feel very happy when you are able to trace someone in you from Poland :).

well considering how many times Poland has tried to mind its own business and just prosper and be out there on its own. and all the times that poland has been brought to a halt over power.. she is still a nation.. one that cant be extinguished no matter how many times the land is conquered or its people driven away.

kind of like America.. One Nation Under god :)
Daisy 3 | 1,225  
13 Dec 2008 /  #19
I wonder if anybody read that big story :D

I just have, thank you
Softsong 5 | 495  
13 Dec 2008 /  #20
Enjoyed your story! And the nice things you said about Americans attempting to find out more of their roots. I just visited Poland in October and also in 2000 and enjoyed it very much! I got to see all the places where my grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents had lived!
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
13 Dec 2008 /  #21
Add your stories I the only one? Patty started a good thread.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
13 Dec 2008 /  #22
I owe a great deal to my four Polish-born grandparents, esp. ny paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather who were the most inclined to talk about teh Old Country, remembered the lore and literature. When asked if I grew up speaking Polish, I usually do a double take: well, yes and no. Yes, I spoke something similar to Polish with all four rgandparents, but no, it was not the real hgih-class Old World Polish, but more like a Polonian half-na-pół jargon: bara, kara, bejzment, stepsy, buczer, druksztor, policman, ticzerka, etc. But when I did take a course in Polish at unviersity, I had something to build upon -- the concept of inflection was not totally new or alien, and Russian came much easier as well.

Unlike other families, where it was a fight each year over where holiday dinners are to take place, things fell nicely into place: Wigilia was always at my paternal grandmother's, and Christmas Day at the other side; and similarly -- Easter breakfast at the paternal side and Easter dinner at the maternal. Besides the various foods --zrazy, barszcz, zimne nogi, flaczki, krupnik (the soup), kapuśniak, naleśniki, pierogi, chruściki, pączki, etc. -- I grew up with such notions as poprawiny, imieniny, chrzciny, święcone, wigilia, oczepiny and many more.

Since my parents operated a small family business taht kept them tied t'down a lot, as a young child I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. Those early conatcts made a lasting imrpession and triggered a life-long itnerest in things Polish. I have found this to be true of other Polish Americans as well. Those who spent a lot of time with grandparents and spoke Polish to them were more likely to take an interest in their ethnic heritage than those who saw their babcia and dziadzio only a few times a year.
Softsong 5 | 495  
15 Dec 2008 /  #23
I am enjoying all the stories. And what Polonius3 has said is very true. Polish-American people gain a lot by being close to their grandparents. My mother was a 1st generation American, who could speak Polish.

That is because she loved going to her grandparent's house on her own every chance she got. Her brother and sisters were always busy playing with their friends, and did not spend one-on-one time with their grandmother like my Mom did. My maternal grandmother was 100% Polish, and so were the grandparents that my Mom visited. They came from Poznan, in the Gniezno area.

When my Mom was grown, and her Dad had passed away, her grown siblings were stunned that she could speak perfectly to her mother in Polish, and they understood nothing. Polish was not spoken in the home because my maternal grandmother had married an ethnic German from Poland, and he spoke German. The family never used either language, only English. Her sisters were so jealous! LOL

My mother taught me some Polish, and my grandmother said some sayings in Polish to me that I still remember.

But what I remember about my grandmother the most was her generous nature. She fed every stray cat, always shared whatever she had with guests expected and unexpected. When I went to Poland in 2000, my hosts told me, "God in house, guest in house." And that is just how my grandmother was.

When I was in my 8th month of pregnancy, I got a puppy. Everyone was telling me that it would be too much work with a newborn. But my grandmother, told me to keep the puppy for your son. And they grew up together. She loved the critters.

Here is a picture of my maternal grandmother with my Mom sometime in the 1940's in Brooklyn, New York. If I do this correctly. I am not good at posting pictures on here. :-)
Ignac - | 28  
15 Dec 2008 /  #24

On Sunday, August 15, men and women will gather at the Polish Home Club, 512 S. Broadway, to celebrate their ancestry—and string beans—at their annual Bean Pickers Dinner Dance.

Club board member George J. Bozel explains: “Many years ago, our parents and grandparents came her from Poland. The men usually supported their families by obtaining employment in manual labor type jobs. In the summer, many of the women and children went out into the country, usually in Cecil, Harford, Baltimore and Ann Arundel counties to help harvest the crops. This would supplement the family income. One of the best remembered crops was string beans. Our Bean Pickers dance is a reminder of those days.”

Bozek picked beans as a child. Helen Jankowiak, recording secretary of the Polish Home Club, remembers picking beans and skinning tomatoes during the Depression years. When Holy Rosary School on Eastern Avenue let out for the summer, Jankowiak and her family would pack a bag and climb aboard a truck for the ride to Westminster, Maryland, or maybe New Freedom, Pennsylvania. They worked the fields during the day, then slept in a shack set up for them by the farmer who owned the land. If the family had a lot of kids, the farmer might give you two shacks, she remembers. “For every 50-pound bag of beans we picked, we received two cents. This is the money we made for the summer.” Despite the hard labor, she says she enjoyed it. “A lot of us survived it. We had to. My daughter doesn’t believe I did that.”

Most of the Polish families who worked the fields cam from Southeast Baltimore. Poles settled in Fells Point beginning in the 12880’s quickly becoming one of the largest and most influential groups in the area. Even those who have moved away return to worship at St. Stanislaus Kostka Congregation or to socialize at neighborhood centers like the Polish National alliance or the Polish Home Club.

Thirteen years ago, Joseph Borczymowski, who was president of the Polish Home Club at the time, came up with the idea of a Bean Pickers Dan. It has been a sellout ever since.

“Close to 300 people come,” says Gertrude Jankowiak, the Club’s second vice president. “We serve string bean soup made from scratch, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and string beans. About 5:00 PM, we serve sandwiches with fried bologna and onions, real country-style.”

For a while, string beans were used as centerpieces. That tradition has given way to flowers. “At first, everyone wore straw hats, plaid shirts and dungarees to the dance, but not as much now.” adds Helen Jankowiak, who is Gertrude’s sister-in-law.

The string bean soup, made the morning of the dance from fresh string beans and potatoes, is a big draw. “It’s the best in the world,” says Genevieve “Jenny” Jachem, Club manager.
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
15 Dec 2008 /  #25

Lovely story and a lovely picture.


Wonderful and heart warming stories from Polish-Americans :).
15 Dec 2008 /  #26
Growing up as a 1st generation pole in America during the great depression. My sister and I attended a Polish parochial school, taught by Franciscan Nuns. Things were tough. No one had any money.. But no one complained. We kids never knew any better. We thought that this was how life was. I remember my Father telling us, that no matter how bad things were.. It was much better in America than in Poland. We never went hungry. Mom cooked on a coal stove. She baked our own bread, we picked mushrooms, and ate a lot of chicken.

I remember my first Holy Communion. The boys were dressed in blue serge suits. They were issued black prayer books.,and a rosary. We girls wore white dresses and a wianeczek on our heads. We girls were issued white prayer books and a white rosary. We held the prayer books and rosary in our hands,and circled the church in a procession.. Our parents looked on from the sidewalk. Mom, later told me that I looked like a little angel. After the ceremony, we were led into the church hall for milk and cookies. I still have my white shoes.. Mom saved them for me.That was 75 years ago.

In the ensuing years, myfamily prospered..Only in America can these mracles happen.
Things have changed.. My Polish Church, no longer celebrates Mass in Polish. St Stanislaus one of our other churches closed.. The old folks died and the kids moved out into the country side.

But Polonia still lives on.
frania - | 1  
15 Dec 2008 /  #27
I was surprised to see Ignac's post It seems that we both are from the same neighborhood.. Although I do not know Ignac, I can relate to his story.

As a young girl I too went to a farm in New Freedom Pa. with my Busia. We slept on straw mattresses, in a wood shack with a kerosene lantern for light..We all worked. We girls were left behind to cook and bake for the old folks. We did this on a community stove with a steel plate for the top. The stove was fired by logs,and was never allowed to go out. The was a five gallon coffee pot on at all times. It was filled with water and coffee grounds were put in. It tasted like strychnine,but no one cared. It kept them awake. We made the borscht mentioned in ignac post with,fresh beans, milk from cows,and sour cream, and pickle juice..We also made potato placki,corn fritters, baked our own bread and babka. We even made punczki.

The boys went out to steal watermelons, canteloups, apples and anything else. When the old folks came back from work, dinner was ready.. After cleaning up after dinner. There were two men. One playing a violin and the other a concertina.. We sang polish songs and danced until bedtime..After the growing season was over, we went back to school. To us kids, it was fun. We looked forward to it every year.
OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
16 Dec 2008 /  #28
Keep the stories coming folks.. :)

I believe the guests can see this thread too. please join the forum and join in the discussions :)
janosik 1 | 9  
16 Dec 2008 /  #29
I remember, my grandfather was talking about war. In 1939-1940 near "Lomza" and "Wizna" there was a battle field. And people from village were hiding in fields, forests etc etc. He was about 10 years old then. It was terrible time!!!

When I read those stories, dunno why I got one thing in my mind. "WYKOPKI" lol All family were coming once in year (September-october) to grandparent's farm to pick potatoes from field. hahahahah it was funny!!!

Or other thing is summer on grandparent's farm!!! Sleeping in the barn on hay, drinking fresh milk straight from cow, drinking home made beer wine(like americans have first sex at 13, polish're starting drink at this age lol ), horse ridding, taking bath in the river(as I remember, there was no bathroom, just huge bowl ), hahahahahah YEAH IT WAS FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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