Today has been the best day and it’s not even over yet! We traveled to Zakopane this morning to visit the mountains and while we ate breakfast, Zenon reminded me that there was another Kulawiak family that he spoke with before our trip. That family was not related to us, but he called them back to ask if they knew Leopold, the son of Michael, who was the brother of Stanislaw, my g-grandfather (did you follow that?). Since Leopold and his wife still had a headstone in the churchyard and someone was placing flowers on the grave, we figured that some relative had to be somewhere nearby.
So Zenon made some calls and found out that Leopold’s sons were recently here in the village. One lived near Krakow and one lived in Chicago. He was also given the name of someone who could tell him more about Leopold’s family. I was so excited that I almost headed right back to the car to return to the village. But since we were already there, we first spent a few hours looking around the mountain town and then headed back by 4PM. Zenon stopped and spoke with a few people in town and with a smile told me that Leopold’s son Victor was here from Chicago and we could find him at the house next to the fire station! Within a few minutes I was standing in front of my cousin, Victor Kulawiak. I was stunned, it all happend so fast! When I arrived here I did not even know whether my g-grandfather had siblings, now I was standing in front of my own family! He had my grandfather’s beautiful blue eyes and my great-grandfather’s large widow’s peak hairline that came to a point at his forehead! Victor gave me a big hug and a kiss and spoke to me in English! He has been living in Chicago for over 22 years and comes home regularly. He gestured to the farm behind him and said he works on the land while he is here. He was still busy working but invited us back to visit later this evening. More exciting details to come after our visit!