Memories about the Mother and Childhood – Stanisław Pieniążek and Tadeusz Wysocki + REFLECTIONS…
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 12:50 PM
Subject: To GA.MI department 3:
Message posted: 01/10/2008 7:16
I am enclosing a photo below when I was young, handsome and I think the girls around me were crazy about me because I was always prepared for anything!
From Tadeusz: My dear friend, you have given me a nice surprise with a photo from your childhood – let’s play in the GA.PA virtual gallery with our imagination with this here my humble description of your charming photo:
A warm sunny day in 1941, full occupation around. A country in a cruel war, and here is warmth and peace. Janina’s mother waits for Staś in this house in Sulejówek with a smile and love, these are the most beautiful years of innocent childhood. Father Stanisław fights bravely to support his family, working as a clerk in Warsaw institutions. But he was an extraordinary man, a relentless soldier of the Home Army Gryf in the Warsaw district, he fought in hiding with the communes for a free and independent Poland until the end of his life, his son lived to see it. Little two-year-old Staś smiles at us, he was born on December 2, 1939, in the fourth month of the war! What a symbol of life and providence. See his cheeky smile, the same as today, the same downward movement of his head, and his gaze upwards with a secret smile. Who could, if not Providence, that a sailor would grow out of him, 35 years on the seas of the world, this crazy world of the 20th century at its feet, many ports and … many experiences and hardships of life. And finally, his greatest passion, genealogy, but not only for himself, but for sharing his own works and experience with others, the Catalog of Polish Parish Resources is a great example here. And those many years of hard work, with friends from PTG – the Polish Genealogical Society www.genealodzy.pl, who together, as volunteers !, have done and are doing titanic work in photographing, scanning and publishing on the PTG websites metrics and indexes from Polish and Ukrainian, Belarusian, Lithuanian, etc. parishes. This is an extraordinary “pro publico bono” job, they are extraordinary people who help others discover the History of Families and National Traditions. There are many new ideas and many new contacts ahead of him.
And who could have guessed, if not Providence, that this little toddler from Sulejówek would become such a big friend.
[Tekst oparty też na info uzyskane z web Smile]
So there are now two photos that we shared with each other and with others in the former GA.MI gallery. We were both two years old! And to the one who smiles at the sight of our photos, we send heartfelt greetings, to those who make a face, we also send heartfelt greetings.
Yes, what is most precious in our life is the memory of the Mother. Dear Staś, doesn’t every mother deserve to be mentioned? About the story of her life, about the paths traveled and about care for us, her children? Isn’t it worth mentioning it somewhere in the open books of life, which is this new invention of our reality, the Internet, and further …? Some of them published volumes of books about their mothers, but we, everyday passers-by and busy travelers of life, forget about it, and I am not without fault either. So, let our GA.PA be a good leaven and an encouragement for everyone to respect the memory of our Mothers. Dear visitors of the GA.PA gallery – mention your Mother “at least in one word” …
My memory of the Mother, personal, to encourage others to send to gallery GA.PA such memories of the Mother, of the Parents, I wish everyone relief in the pain of life that these memories give:
I never wrote about Mother, somehow there was no occasion. Sometimes it is so in our lives that we write about the closest people the least often.
Her name was Halina. She was a small brunette with beautiful eyes, she had a warm touch, a smile, she smelled nice and often sang nice songs to our children. She was born in 1920 in a small, historically old town of Kunów on the Kamienna River, of Wiktor Słotwiński’s father and mother of Janina, née Myszkowska. Wiktor’s dad played many musical instruments, a memento of him, a small piccolo flute, remains in our house to this day. He organized a small orchestra in Kunów. Halina’s mother used to go to schools to the nearby Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. As a young 18-year-old girl, in 1938, she married my father, Jan Wysocki, also born in Kunów. Not a year has passed since the cruel war broke out. And this is how her journey through her further adult life began, which I will try to describe in a few sentences:
She received a patriotic upbringing from her parents. During World War II, together with Dad, they were partisans, for many years their partisan habitat was the nearby Janowskie Forests. It may be interesting, Mama recalled that during their wartime guerrilla life in the forest, there was a terrible shortage of food, for many months of summer and autumn the partisans were forced to eat on many days, very poisonous forest mushrooms, toadstools that no one was collecting – Mom cooked them in a cauldron over the fire ten times to keep them edible. After the war, my parents moved to Warsaw, where Dad was involved in agriculture, ending his professional career as the deputy minister of agriculture, and he was a non-partisan all his life, which was a great obstacle in his professional career at that time. After a short stay in Warsaw, Mom and Dad left for Pomerania, where Tata was involved in the organization of state-owned farms. There, in 1946, my sister Barbara was born, and in Koszalin, on 1 January 1950, I was born. After returning to Warsaw, in the following years, Mom separated from Dad, who started his own family (and Mother Halina taught us with my sister to respect others and their decisions, we always maintained good contacts with Dad and his new family).
Halina’s mother was left alone with two children. Her entire remaining life was devoted to raising me and her sister Barbara. We lived for many years in Wilanów, all my childhood and youth, in a small room in the building of the Health Clinic, right next to the church, the old address was ul. Wiertnicza 22A. Those were hard times of communism. My mother earned her living as an accountant, then chief accountant, in the Warsaw Scouthouse at ul. Marszałkowska. Everything was missing, there was poverty, sometimes there was not enough bread. Once, sister Barbara, four years her senior, who had to look after her brother Tadzio, mentioned that when her brother, little Tadzio, returned from school (Mum Halina was at work almost all day) and shouted that he was hungry, she quietly gave him her the last slice of bread, because brother Tadzio was the most important!
And in this tiny room on the first floor, where there were two beds, there was always a piano, which was what Mama Halina wanted. And there always had to be money for permanent piano lessons. Thanks to this, sister Barbara graduated from music schools, became a famous singer, a longtime soloist of the Warsaw Operetta, now living in Paris. And I, a silly toddler, ran away from these lessons where pepper grows, mainly to the nearby park at the Wilanów Palace, still closed to visitors, where there were charming trees and Wilanów Lake, and further behind the lake was an alley of old trees to a mysterious tower, fields and secret forest.
Later, Mum Halina helped raise the grandchildren and care for our garden in Włochy, the “garden city” near Warsaw, and she had this unusual ability to contact plants and trees.
This was the life of Mama Halina. And she was very happy that, next to her daughter Barbara, a well-known artist, she had, from my life partner, Dr. architect – specialists in solar energy architecture – Maria Mioduszewska-Wysocka, as many as three wonderful grandsons (a sign of the times?): Maksymilian, Dominik and Mikołaj.
This photo from my childhood, which I shared with my friend Staś Pieniążek and others in the GA.MI online gallery, was taken in 1952 in Bródno in Warsaw (also, as in the photo of Staś Pieniążek, I was 2 years old!), Where we lived in such a old manor house. Dad Jan was the manager of the Warsaw State Agricultural Farm, Mom Halina was in charge of the house. As you can see in this old photo, I eagerly fed the chickens, Mother Halina taught love to animals from an early age. And thanks to my mother, it has been with me for the rest of my life. When I go to the park, I always take something delicious for the birds with me. For several dozen years, living with his family at home in Włochy near Warsaw, going on a bicycle almost every day (regardless of the season), mainly to a nearby park, once called “Włochy Oceans” (several small lakes formed after pre-war clay pits, hence the name of the district Włochy), I always took and take away the treats for the birds. Now these are walnuts. I crush them finely, they are fond of sparrows, starlings, pigeons – the bravest ones can, having known me for years, eat “by hand”, and then from a dozen or so meters gray crows, rooks, ravens, and even ducks are waiting for these nuts. And that’s how I was left with feeding the birds, instilled by Mother Halina, for my whole life.
Thank you, Mom Halina for everything.
The memory of you was and is a consolation for me in difficult moments of life,
“A Few Words More About GA.PA”
My dear friend, thank you for our discussions and reflections on life and the extraordinary values that family mementoes or memories, even the smallest ones, carry and the remembrance of ancestors carry. They are, in millions of things that people surround themselves with for centuries in their homes, collect in museums, fight for them in inhuman wars, an extraordinary value in life and underestimated by many. They can be crumbs from the table of an extremely valuable Genealogy that must be collected and protected from oblivion.
Dear friend, to end our conversation,
Thank you also for our long talks about these leaven and the further development of the GA.PA. How to respect and commemorate, apart from other websites on the Internet – and each genealogical forum is a great example of great respect for the past – the existence of ancestors, their fate and symbols, their traditions and customs, and thus part of our national cultural tradition. Or maybe because of the memories of their lives and documents, other mementoes that may have remained after them? How to ask others to send these memories or family mementoes to GA.PA, often shamefully hidden, but still valuable to others. If these are things preserved in family memory, thanks to GA.PA, turn them into values and mutual emotions. Collect these scraps of memory for the common good, for activating our collective memory and imagination, thoughts about our ancestors and ourselves. How, in this collective memory, to gain knowledge about the symbols of life of ancestors and the influence of their habits, genes on our contemporary life and the lives of our next generations. It is all about sharing these bits of memory with others and the game of our mutual imaginations. Let GA.PA try, it might work.
Thank you also for your moving book of poems “REFLEKSJE”. Let me add three quotes with thoughts of creative people who wanted to leave us all thoughts about the possibility of feeling our rich reality. The thing depends on ourselves:
“Anything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and place do not exist. On the trivial basis of reality, fantasy weaves and weaves new patterns: a mixture of memories, experiences, free ideas, nonsense and improvisation. Persons split, double, doubled, melt away, thicken and unite. ” –this is the 1901 Strindberg.
“On leaving the theater ,a person should have the impression that he has woken up from some strange dream in which even the most common things had a strange, unfathomable charm, characteristic of dreams, incomparable with anything” – this is Witkacy from 1919.
[both “quotation” from a favorite, small but great-spirit book – a collection of columns / short stories – “Presence” Antoni Słonimski “Czytelnik”, Warsaw, 1973]
finally, Albert Einstein’s thought, read somewhere:
“The real manifestation of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination”
Yours, Tadeusz “Max” Wysocki