Yesterday on Day 2 of my 5 photos, 5 stories challenge I talked about Nadia’s sister, Kinga, and their hard working family. So far I have focused on the children, a constant source of joy in the lives of my Polish family. Tragedy and untimely death have their place in the story too, but my stories are more about celebrating life.
I should pause here to thank Minerva, Nin, Elaine and Viveka for nominating me for this challenge. I know you’ll enjoy their company and the stories they have to share. As the name suggests, I will be posting 5 photos, accompanied by 5 stories, on 5 consecutive days.
Dad was 1 of 9 children born to Bolesław and Marianna. Of those 9, there are 2 aunts and 1 uncle that I was never privileged to meet, and a much loved aunt who died 3 years ago. The land from the original homestead has been divided up between the survivors and their offspring. My Polish family are lucky to own their own homes, but it comes at the cost of back breaking work. The family all pull together, pooling their skills. No-one is too old, or too young, to help in whatever way they can. (ok- we’ll excuse Nadia for now, and Kinga is happiest playing on the sand hill outside their ‘soon to be’ home)
In some cases it takes years to finally achieve the dream. My cousin Ewa and husband Henryk have for many years been trying to build a house on their plot, very close to her sister Jadwiga. Health problems and lack of income have made it hard for them. At last, with their children all grown up and married, the end is in sight. They live in an apartment in Katowice, about an hour away. While Ewa works in a hardware store in Bełchatów, Henryk, no longer young, shovels and plasters with whatever labour he can find. Walking around the shell of their home I felt in need of a hard hat, and a good imagination to see the lovely dwelling that it will become. Over the fence, Ewa’s brother Piotrek, some 16 years younger, smiles and waves from his fine house. A carpenter by trade, his wooden floors and staircases gleam beautifully.
The family I have been following these past 3 days are all descendants of my Dad’s brother Zygmunt. He and Leokadia had 10 children and some of them I know better than others. Zygmunt himself is the uncle I never met. He died just months before Dad was reunited with the family. Though he doesn’t seem to have had a very happy life, I can’t help but feel that somewhere he is looking down on all this and smiling. Leokadia (Lodzia to us), into her 80s, still lives on and looks after the farm with sons Bolek (short for Bolesław) and Jozef. Daughter Marysia has a beautiful self build, also at Zawady, the family’s home village, and runs a little boutique.
Tomorrow we step across to another branch of the family. I’ll be taking you to a barbecue at a home that has been a long term building project, but is nearing completion. I can promise you fun when Marek is around! My personal A-Z of Poland is the back drop to my 5 stories. Time now for a nomination! I was first drawn to Lucile at Bridging Lacunas by her visually stunning header. Since then I have discovered that her posts are thought provoking as well as fun, and some day I hope to get involved in Photo101 Rehab too. I don’t know if she can find time for this challenge but I do hope so. See you tomorrow?
Oh what a little beauty, sweet Nadia 🙂 It is wonderful that you have such strong connections with your dad’s side of the family Jo, and can share their stories here, although, as you say, there are many stories lying beneath the surface. I barely scratch the surface with my family stories, but I do wish I knew more about my dad’s family. The love and support and hard work shared within your Polish family is humbling and beautiful.
They are so kind to us Sherri. I don’t feel at all deserving sometimes x
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What a large family – amazing that you manage to keep track of them all.
Most of them! 🙂 🙂
Lovely to read about your family, Jo!
Happy to have you join me Aletta xx