I hope that translated correctly!
Looking at the little "Feedjit" widget traffic map on the right side edge of this blog, I see that I get regular readers from Poland. Poland is the land of my family; and to the (pardon the pun) Polish Hams reading this, I send you a very special "Welcome"!
All of my grandparents came to the United States in the early 1900's as part of the "Great Immigration". They all legally entered the United States through Ellis Island, which of course, is right next to the Statue of Liberty.
I don't know much of my family history in Poland. I know that all of my grandparents lived in the area of Bialystok before they moved to America. My last name is Makoski, which is actually Makowski. And that's how I pronounce it, as if the "w" is still there. Some time when my dad was young, he took the "w" out and signed all official papers "Makoski". To this day, am not sure just what prompted him to get rid of the "w"! My grandmother's maiden name was Romatowski. My grandfather died when my dad was very young. His mom re-married and my step-grandfather's last name was Rusin. My dad's dad was a farmer; and my dad was born on the farm in same town I would grow up in. When his mom re-married my step-grandfather moved the family to Pennsylvania which my dad considered to be his home.
My mom's maiden name is Kruszewski. Her mom's maiden name (my Babcia) was Sawicki. My grandfather was in the Merchant Marines, visited America and decided to return for good. I'm not sure how my grandmother came to America; but I do know that before she married my grandfather she worked as a maid for a wealthy family in Manhattan. My grandfather settled his family in New Jersey and worked as a carpenter. To this day, my sister has one of his home made rocking chairs. He was also an avid stamp collector; and each grandchild got a plate block collection when we graduated from eighth grade. Unfortunately, my dziadek died before I reached eighth grade; but he had one set aside for me anyway! I have very many happy memories of him; as he used to babysit me and my sister when we were very young. I'm so happy that he lived long enough so that I was old enough to remember him well.
After WWII, my dad's family moved back to New Jersey. They settled in South River; and my dad and his half-brother (my Uncle Frank) opened up a small grocery store, specializing in Polish style meats and provisions. Ahh, the home made kielbasa! I can still smell it like it was yesterday! The literal tons of that wonderful sausage that was made all year around; but especially for Christmas and Easter. We grew up eating that and the traditional pierogi, golumpkis, and pazcki, and krusciki among many others. The Christmas Eve Wigilija and the sharing of the oplatek at my grandmother's house are happily burned forever into my memory.
I went to school at Saint Mary of Ostrabrama Parochial School. The sisters who taught us were the Bernardine Sisters. They tried to teach us rudimentary Polish; and I still know a few words. Unfortunately, they are only basic words. Back in those days, every one worked hard to assimilate into the American culture and while Polish was spoken between my parents and grandparents, English was the common language. As kids, we knew the conversation was about something that our grown-up relatives didn't was us to know about, when they started speaking Polish. It is a personal goal that someday I will learn the Polish language. I figure if I can learn Morse Code (which is its own language) then I should be able to learn passable Polish.
I know my grandparents had brothers and sisters that did not come to America. So there have to be relatives still in Poland, that over the years we have lost touch with. My sister and I still try to keep alive the Polish customs that we learned from our parents and grandparents. Being of Polish descent is something that this American is very, very proud of. If you're from Poland and happen to be a reader of this blog, I'd be very happy to hear from you. The e-mail is email@example.com
Mam nadzieję mówić z wami na radiu
73 de Larry W2LJ
PS: I apologize if the tranlations don't make sense - I used an online translator!