December 4, 2012

As I get older my memories become more precious to me, and I regret not paying more attention to my families Polish traditions.

My grandparents came over from Poland made a home in Chicago, later to a suburb in North Chicago, and had seven children, my father being the youngest. They lived in a Polish neighborhood, with the Polish Catholic school, convent, church, grocery store, retail store, bowling alley, bakery, liquor store, and funeral home all within a three block area.

When my Aunt's and Uncle's got married they purchased homes within the Polish community just a few blocks away from the grandparents home.

The family homestead sat on a large property with a small rug factory sitting at the back of the property next to the house. There they made rag rugs. When the business closed my father converted the factory into a house, and that is where I grew up.

On Sundays relatives from Chicago would arrive to share the Sunday afternoon meal, sit in lawn chairs and visit while the children played in the yard. It seemed that every Sunday we celebrated something, a birthday, anniversary, name day, I think my family just liked to party.

I often wonder where the rest of the
grandchildren were when this photo was taken. 

Living next door and sharing the adjoining property our house too, was always full of relatives. Oh, those were the good old days, but at that time I didn't think so.

Family stories were told, and retold and, of course I remember bits and pieces, but now, how I wish I had listen more closely and ask questions.

On Sunday, my sister, her husband and my oldest daughter and her family joined me as we attended a holiday brunch and Polish bazaar at the Polish Center in Franklin, Wisconsin.  We dined on Polish sausage, smoked salmon, pierogi, mizeria (creamed cucumber and dill) ham, Polish pastries, and much more.

At the bazaar, Polish pottery filled the tables, Paczki (prune filled donuts), cookbooks, straw ornaments, glass ornaments imported from Poland, and oplatek (Christmas wafer) were being sold, along with other beautiful Polish items.

My granddaughter was thrilled to meet the reigning Little Miss Poland, Pre-Teen, and Teen Polish Queens. The Christmas trees were decorated with traditional Polish ornaments, many handmade by the club members. 

We looked at all the beautiful Szopka's (pronounced shop-key, a Polish Christmas creche) that the member brought in to display.

It was a marvellous event that brought back memories for my sister and I. Where are the pictures you might be wondering, I forgot my camera!

We had a wonderful time, but I realized that I need to instill in all of my grandchildren the importance of family traditions and history.


  1. I think there comes a time when we all wish we had listened more closely and asked more questions...and our children will feel the same when the time comes.

  2. Its not too late to pass it on Paulette. I am amazed at the bravery of how some people just upped and left their home countries for brand new ones. Going into the unknown, very brave.

  3. I've only visited Poland once but it was beautiful and Auschwitz was incredibly stark and emotional. I agree about family history- it's important to remember where we came from.Rx

  4. Hi, Paulette, i recently began following your blog. It is not too late for you to visit Poland, if you haven't done that yet. Polish clubs and festivals are outstanding, but you will never really appreciate "your roots" until you visit Poland. And if you do, plan to stay in someone's home. Hotels never let you "see" the real life and people. Hotels are alike the world over--American!
    I lived 27 years in The Netherlands, but now my Dutch husband and I live in Louisiana. You might enjoy my blog. Linda

  5. Those traditions are so important - to pass down to the next generation so they are not forgotten. Thank you for sharing them with us. Such ethnic diversity in this huge country of ours!

  6. Being Polish myself...I loved reading this post. I miss the traditions that are now lost with the new generation....however, as I work on our family history I am thankful that I have the memories.