My grandparents died long before I was born, except for my mom's mother who passed away when I was only five months old. Sadly I have no memories of my grandparents and I am only familiar with them from the stories told by my parents and my older siblings. I think my keen interest in (near obsession with ?) Polish culture has a lot to do with never having known my Polish-born grandparents. Getting to visit their villages was very important to me. Wherever I went, I felt they were with me.
What's Next?: I just sent in my check for the General Pułaski Banquet to be held at the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga this Sunday. The banquet is in honor of sixteen Polish-American women of the Buffalo area who have contributed so much to our community. I mean really, what would Polonia be without them!
And the honorees are: Michelle Kisluk, Wendy Higgins, Alice Rodzuch, Manya Pawlak Metzler, Mira Szramel, Malgorzata Seternus, Urlula Golodolinska, Terri Rivard, Christine Lukaszewicz Kibler, Bernadette Pawlak, Chris Tanski, Maria Zielinska, Monika Zmijewska, and Lisa Florczak.
Here they are with Pulaski Association dignitaries:
LEFT: Pulaski Association President Brian Rusk presenting Lifetime Achievement Award to the Honorable Ann T. Mikoll, NYS Appellate Justice, Ret.
to all honorees!
September 19, 2017 - Jedliniok
I drove to Syracuse to see Jedliniok at the Syracuse Polish Home. I love that place! Had dinner their too. Smacznego!
Jedliniok was created in 1975. The group takes its name from a Lower Silesian dance from Jedlina-Zdrój. The members of the ensemble are students of the Agricultural University of Wrocław and other university centers in Wrocław. Not only does the ensemble perform the Silesian folklore, for example Lower Silesian, Upper Silesian, Cieszynski and Opolski Silesian, Beskid Slajski, Zaglebie Dabrowskie, but also from other Polish regions like Beskid Zywiecki, in the area of Nowy Sacz and Opoczno. Also national Polish dances - polonaise, mazur and krakowiak are included in their repertoire. The ensemble gives performances during very important cultural events in the city and it attends festivals, outdoor activities, reviews and university student celebrations. The group has performed in many countries and in different continents, representing Poland in numerous famous international folk festivals.
Oh yes, I almost forgot. Today I unveiled my Polish chair. Someone in my neighborhood a few years ago was discarding two kitchen chairs. I have keeping them in my basement where I sometimes sit on one of the chairs when I play accordion. Recently I took one of the chairs and repaired the legs and painted it with Polish national colors. Then I applied some wycinanki decalls I found on Zulily and a red treble clef cut from one of my business cards, and lvoilà - beautiful Polish chair.
Yep, this is how I spend retirement. :-)
Jedliniok performers are all university students from Wrocław in western Poland. They pay their own way and do what they can to make ends meet.
If Canisius College can have a Polish chair, so can I!
The lettering on the front of the chair is photoshopped, but I just ordered something similar online. Can't wait!
September 22, 2017 - St. Stanislaus Cemetery
We have had a number of days without rain and temperatures above the norm, so I decided I'd better head over to Buffalo to water the plants at the family grave sites. While in town, I also dropped by the old neighborhood to take a photo of my boyhood home which I will use as an online billboard to promote St. Stan's activities. I'll post it here to later copy use when needed.
This space reserved for
St. Stanislaus Parish activities.
October 2, 2017 - Corpus Christi Dożynki
Corpus Christi is another beautiful church located near the famous Broadway Market not far from St. Stan's. They held their harvest festival over the weekend, which featured Polish food, fun and beer. (I hope I am not being redundant.) They also held the much heralded pierogi contest again this year. I think I heard this was their tenth year! Such dedication. I, however, only attended the Sunday Mass. For me that is the best part. Not only are the traditional gifts presented during the Mass, but our friends from Hamilton, Ontario --Ludowa Nuta Polish Choir--make the trip across the border to sing the hymns. I cannot get enough of their talents. Lucky for you, I videotaped parts of their performance during the Mass and one short number later in the social center. Here ya go...
Ludowa Nuta Polish Choir of Hamilton, Ontario
October 7, 2017 - How I learned to play guitar
I thought it mightbe worth sharing the following correspondence with an aspiring guitarist:
My name is Mukhethwa Phophi and im 15 years old. I live in Pretoria and i would love to learn how to play a guitar. I've had my guitar since 2013 but still dont know how to play it. My love for playing a guitar is increasing each day
I would really appreciate your response on this matter. Thank you
You sound like me at your age. I started by learning to strum a few simple folk songs using basic chords like: C, F, G, G7, D, D7, A, A7 Am, Em, Dm. That was back in the sixties and folk music was very popular back then. I remember playing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (G/Em/C/D) many times in the early days. After about a year and being able to strum a dozen songs, I a friend taught me the " basic fingerpicking patter" which I learned after practicing it a few hours one night until my fingers hurt. That was it. I finally thought I could really play beautifully. Everyone was so impressed. Wow!
Here is the basic fingerpicking pattern: http://www.poloniamusic.com/Guitar_Fingerpicking_Lesson.html
I hope you learn it. Practice everyday and don't worry about your progress. Just focus on the pleasure you get from making music. Listen to the beautiful sounds emanating from your guitar. It will give you great joy for the rest of your life. Best of luck!
October 18, 2017: Andy Gołębiowski, a friend of mine from Buffalo, New York, shared a link on Facebook and has again been instrumental in linking a member of my family to events in Poland during WWll. I clicked on the link and searched for my grandmother's family and discovered that Franciszek Skrobacz was included in a database of Polish citizens who suffered under the Nazi occupation. Andy had previously helped me learn that an uncle of mine was a victim of the Katyń Massacre; that as you may know was a Russian atrocity, this is German. My babcia and her nephew, Franciszek, were from the village of Podolsze, which I am grateful to have visited twice. Thank you again, Andy. I'll have to find out more about Franciszek and Trzebinia/Stalag IV.
This is what I found:
imie ojca: Granz
nazwisko panieńskie matki: Lofek
data urodzenia: 1905-08-05
miejsce urodzenia: Podolsze
miejsce zamieszkania przed wojną adres rodziny: Skrobacz Bronislawa, Podolsze nr50, gm.u. Post Zator,Woj,.Kraków
INFORMACJE O PRZEŚLADOWANIACH
Źródło: Sygnatura: WAST-St.IVA,l.908
Centralne Muzeum Jeńców Wojennych w Łambinowicach Opolu
Trzebinia was located within walking distance from Podolsze
I went to Letchworth State Park last weekend to do a little camping and biking with my family, but it was unseasonably warm and autumn foliage was less than spectacular. Tomorrow I plan to drive to the Adirondacks to climb Azure Mountain. I'll take my camera of course and a hopefully I'll get some nice shots. If not, that's okay too. I am looking forward to the climb.
Upper Falls at Letchworth State Park. October 14, 2017
October 28, 2017: Magda
"Magda" is the true-life story of Magdalena Kasprzycki, a breast cancer survivor living a quiet life in Los Angeles. As a Polish woman born into a noble family, she was a teenager while living in Nazi-occupied Warsaw during the early 1940s. Magda was recruited by her brother to become a spy for the Polish Underground Resistance Army during World War II.
I think my friends from Buffalo will be especially interested in viewing this documentary. Magda married an American soldier from Buffalo, New York. after the war. Maj. Kasprzycki lived on 94 Fay Street near Bailey and Walden Avenues before moving the Las Angeles, CA.
I viewed it on Amazon Prime. Well worth an hour of your time.
Just for the record, I started practicing Kolędy today. I hope to learn a few new ones this years.
Gotta keep it fresh!
October 30, 2017: Pory Roku
"Pory Roku" (The Seasons of the Year): A Seasonal Collection of Polish Folk Music and Songs
I am pleased to offer this wonderful CD of Polish folk treasures performed by The Krakowiak Polish Dancers of Boston. CLICK HERE to learn more.
In 1937, the Krakowiak Polish Dancers of Boston
was formed to continue the traditions of Poland and the
culture of the Polish people through song and dance.
Their goal is to educate members and the community
in dance,song, history, and crafts of Polish heritage
and to present their achievements through local and