5 photos, 5 stories- Day 3

Little Nadia- with the shoes her Mum has made

Little Nadia plays with shoes her Mum, Ania, has made for her, while Marta stands guard

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?



  1. 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.

  2. Enjoying your family saga Jo. What an enriching experience for you.

    PS: Have been experiencing trouble commenting on Gilly’s blog and a few others. Hope this goes through.

    1. She is the happiest child. Her smile lights up the room 🙂 Thank you for spending time with me today, Ventis. As always it is very much appreciated 🙂 🙂

  3. Some family tree you have … massive, like a 100 year old oak. And talk about stories to be told.Little Nadia is a really cute little twig on that tree. An Amazing job you do with the challenge

  4. Gosh no wonder your family tree is complicated with such large families! You are doing so well in telling their story though, they sound a very close and hard-working family with lots of love to share. Finding your dad after all those years must have been so emotional.

  5. Thank you so much for this gentle, loving insight into your Polish family, with glimpses of their history, and how they live now, all in your inimitable style and with your alert humour.

    1. I’ve got more ‘history’ than I know what to do with, Elaine. I have to smile sometimes, having gone from a tiny family to an enormous one, virtually overnight 🙂 But there’s certainly a story to tell. The shoes are very sweet and I was quite impressed at Ania’s enterprise. 🙂

  6. I feel so privileged to get to know your family, Jo. Thank you for taking time to tell us the family stories! Nadia is so adorable. 🙂

      1. Just write your own book Jo. I used Blurb to create a travelogue of my trip to Canada. It’s not for sale (too expensive) but I did have a few copies printed just for the family.

  7. Large families and big dreams. Wanting your own home is a universal concept and I have so enjoyed you sharing these wonderful stories, Jo. 🏡 One house at a time. Also, I was glad to see one little shoe not in motion to get a better look. I am intrigued at this lost art of shoemaking.

    1. When Ania said that she made shoes I had no idea what type, Lynne. The playroom where I slept also doubles as her workroom and there were cottons and samples too. Intriguing indeed 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mary 🙂 The strange thing is I came from a tiny family. My husband is an only child and my only sister died aged 40. Dad is the only parent we have still living, and then 6 years ago I was catapulted into this one 🙂

  8. thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful and hardworking family Jo! so humbling to read heartwarming and inspiring stories. 🙂

    1. My mum always used to say ‘the world loves a trier’, LolaWi, and nobody tries harder than my Polish family. Thank you for sharing them with me 🙂

  9. The stories of your family you’ve been sharing are wonderful, Jo. With a family that large reunions must be special. I hope Ewa and Henryk fulfill their dream of building their own home. Nadia is precious.

    1. The only photo I have seen of her has a very sad face. Times were unbelievably hard and in a solidly Catholic country children were a gift from God, however many arrived.

      Isn’t she? 🙂

    1. I think so too, Cardinal. It’s getting to be hard to find non-participants! I’ll look forward to seeing your version 🙂 Are you nominating Paula? If not, I probably will.

      1. You can nominate Paula. I re-wrote the rules, so regarding the nomination process this is what I came up with:
        I’ll nominate a different person each day. This will probably be some random who’s not actively following the blog. (We all have blog followers that you never see around, so I’m thinking that this can be a good way of interacting with them).

    2. Yes, good thinking! I went whizzing down my comments box looking for people who don’t ‘show’ often but if I went to my Inbox I could have a bonanza. 🙂

      1. I’m nominating people are “silent followers” – those who never comment, but only follow your blog.
        Whenever someone follows my blog I receive an automated email. I’ve set up a filter, so that all such emails end up in their own folder. If the new follower have a blog, there’s a link to it in the automated email from WordPress. Then I normally visit their blog to see if they have posts that interest me, but sometimes I don’t have the time, so there’s a lot of followers whose blogs I haven’t visited yet…

    3. Sorry- I was away cooking tea 🙂 No, I don’t, Cardinal. It’s a lovely offer and thank you kindly. I’m used to an overflow and can usually manage but when you do a 5 day challenge like this one it becomes impossible. Thanks, and have a great weekend!

      1. I thought my parents came from large families with four! Still hoofing along. Managed to stagger to our local romeria couple of weeks back but not posted pix up yet. Thanks for asking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s