After visiting the Dudzik house we check into a very nice Agro House right there in Mecina. We discover word has gotten out into the village (population 3,000) that visitors from the USA are in town.
We race over to the historian’s home of Ludwika Dudzik and she is able to find our grandmother’s house and her husband, Stanisław will actually take us there. We drive down a small and twisting road to the home of Elisabeth Krzak Kielbasa and her family. How Elisabeth is related: grandma’s brother Stanislaus’s granddaughter.
The family is very welcoming and Elisabeth is so excited and just so darn cute! They do not speak English so our wonderful interpreter Paweł has to work overtime keeping up with all the conversation that is happening all at once. We are invited into their home for tea/coffee and cake and soon an older woman walks in. This woman is our grandma’s niece (Stanislaus’s daughter) Casimira. WOW! Someone who knew grandma. She is so welcoming and excited to talk to us too. Casimira remembers our grandma’s visit to Mecina in the 1960s. Casimira told us that grandma and grandpa knew each other very well before leaving the village and that a group of them traveled together to America.
They took us over to house 222 which is located right next to Elisabeth’s home. No one is living in there now. It has been renovated since our grandma lived there (she left Mecina in 1912) by her brother Stanislaus, he died in 1987. The home is extremely small. I can see why grandma left! It is so much smaller then our grandpa’s home. We enter the front door and told the area where we stood is where animals were kept, we turn right and this is the living area. I am led to believe this area is where they slept, ate and cooked. Very, very small.
It was difficult to leave this family. They wanted us to stay longer however we had to keep our dinner date we made earlier with the fire chief’s family.
The following day we woke up early, feeling a little uneasy due to all the vodka we drank at the fire chief’s home, to meet a woman who let us into the church were generations of our family were baptized. It is a 17th century wooden church of Saint Antony the Great.
I must include that the village is beautiful, the homes are so pretty and well kept and the people were all so very nice to us.
It is December 2014 and the story has its continuation! As we know Susanne and Kim are still in touch with their newly found relatives from Męcina. The articles about their tour were published in local parish newsletter “Skibowy Kamień” (Furrow Stone).
Here you can read the two articles, one is written by local historian from Męcina, Ms. Ludwika Dudzik, who helped Susanne to find her grandparent’s houses, and the other is by Susanne’s cousin Elżbieta.
Both articles are in Polish however they describe how moving was this visit also for people from Męcina. Ms. Ludwika wrote the beautiful story about bells from the church in Męcina. The old bells were taken from the church during the First World War, in 1916. When Poland regained its independence, in 1924 the emigrants from Męcina in Chicago founded two new bells for their homeland’s parish. The bigger one had the inscription: “From Męcina’s people in America to commemorate the resurrection of Poland” and the other “In honor of the fallen during the war”. Susanne’s grandfather was among those who founded the bells. Unfortunately, this beautiful gift was robbed during the World War 2 by Germans.
We have also received the detailed history article about the old, wooden church from Męcina from the local priest. The text is also in Polish, however it contains some photographs of the church and it might be interesting for all who have their roots in this hospitable village.