Exploring the past has always been my fascination. Depending on the era I was studying in school, I wished to be a fly on the wall in order to experience life as it was then. Having my mother’s treasures in my possession and knowing the two characters involved, my parents, gives me the thrill of that fly, or at least the thrill will one day come to be. Right now I have more questions than answers as I explore their early years.
My goal is to explore my parents’ war years and put many pieces of a puzzle together based on letters, documents, photographs, stories and much research. The puzzle is incomplete because both my parents are dead and many answers went to the grave with them and while they were alive I never asked the right questions. Growing up in a Polish home, my parents told some war stories, many stories of pre-WWII Poland and expressed how much they loved their country. Their Polish pride always showed through by how they viewed world politics, the American educational system and life in general. I always wondered why they were reluctant US citizens. My hope is to be able to find out more about their lives from the stacks and stacks of letters, photos and documents my mother left behind.
Excerpts from my diary:
November 26, 2012:
Today November 26, 2012 is my birthday and it’s the first day that I am officially working on the project that I have been destined to do. I quit my job to start this project without one ounce of regret.
I woke up and started on the computer at 8:00 a.m. Actually my daughter Stephanie and I started the night before, where she had us on the Library of Congress website. I then did some more Googling after she left and found myself on the most fascinating site. At 8:00 a.m. the next morning I found myself consumed by www. Kresy-Siberia.org, a virtual museum, dedicated to the stories, videos and photographs of Polish refugees from the Kresy region who underwent forced deportation to USSR labor camps during the first two years of WWII.
I have not taken the time to discipline myself into my work space or to outline what I should be doing. Since this is the first day and it is my birthday, I am enjoying being immersed into the stories and language struggles of what I am about to undertake.
I will need to find some additional websites as potential resources, and then very carefully go through all of mama’s papers, sort them, scan and catalog them.