Wow! What a great day! Tonight we went back to see my newly found cousin Vicktor. We made the mistake of going out for dinner before we arrived at his house and couldn’t eat all of the food that he put out for us! As soon as we arrived, he ushered us into his living room and before we knew it, we all had tiny glasses of vodka in our hands and toasted to newly discovered family.
Seeing the family photo of Stanislaw & Aniela and their children brought a tear to his eye. Vicktor said that his grandfather Michael was a wonderful man, but he died when Vicktor was 6 years old. He said that the photos of Stanislaw looked just his grandfather Michael, which was certainly possible since the 2 were brothers. We spent the next couple of hours talking about family and comparing notes. Stanislaw’s wife died about 16 years ago and he divides his time between Chicago and Odrowaz. It was just sheer luck that he was here at the exact same time as my visit.
We were later joined by Vicktor’s friend Władysława, a lovely lady from a few doors down. She did not speak English, but Zenon and Vicktor helped to translate. At one one point when we were talking about Aniela’s Kadlub family, Władysława sat up and excitedly told us that her grandfather on her mother’s side was a Kadlub from Piekielnik. She also said that her grandfather and his brother went to the US to work in the coal mines near Pittsburgh. I couldn’t believe it! I told her that I had friends whose ancestors were Kadlubs from that village. We compared some notes, but she couldn’t recall family names much further back than her grandparents. Nevertheless, I told her that I would be in touch with her after I returned to the US and gave this great news to my friends Michelle, Patty and Joanne (are ya’ll reading this??).
Next we suprised my father and my uncle by calling them in the US to introduce them to their 2nd cousin. They were both very excited to hear that I had found a relative in our ancestral home.
Our night ended too quickly, but the great thing is that Vicktor’s brothers live near Krakow and I might be able to meet them next week. And, since Vicktor lives in Chicago, I will be able to introduce him to our family in Pennsylvania. Too soon, it was time to say goodbye, but not until Vicktor coaxed us into another shot of Polish vodka.
Victor sent us off with the promise to meet us the next day and show us where the Kulawiak family lived when Stanislaw and Michael were boys.
Shellie and Zenon,
I just finished reading the last 3 – 4 days ‘ entries in the blog, for the third time.
What a great experience for you Shellie. How awsome to have a person standing in front of you, who for a long time, may have only been a name that you were searching for. I hope that your visit continues to give you great joy, even if you did miss going to the Zywiec Brewery.
Wow! what a nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed reading about my experience. It’s hard to be home after all that excitement. I can’t wait to go back!