As with many daughters, we worship our dads growing up and throughout our lives. They are our knights in shining armor, family protectors, family bread winners, and sweet men that daughters can influence with a smile or a tear.
Mój tatuś, my daddy, translated into English, was someone I dearly loved and greatly respected. Over the course of my life, especially after he died, I started to better understand the man, the husband, the father. This topic will be for another posting.
These two photos show a young man ready to go to into the world and set it on fire. The photo on the right has always been a favorite.
Growing up the story was that my dad was a reservist in the historically prestigious Polish Cavalry.
You can see that each of the soldiers walked with their riding crops. I don’t know much about the time he was a reservist, but I do know that he was in an officer training program and at the start of the war his rank was equivalent to a sergeant and he was a platoon leader. Only those men who were pursuing advanced degrees qualified to be enrolled in an officer candidate program. In 1939, my dad was working for a state-run insurance company and pursing a law degree at the University of L’wow. During the war and after additional training my dad did receive his commission.
The photo of my dad and his horse is endearing. Many of the photos and documents that my dad received and kept, his sister sent him. How, you may ask, if the family was deported and returned to Poland with nothing, can they have such photos? Fortunately, they had a family friend, Lola to thank. When the Soviets knocked on the door in the middle of the night, they forced a family to pack up some personal items, then forced them out of their home. In the meantime, they pillaged the home, threw items out of drawers and closets into the middle of a room. They and the family left the house but not before the Soviets helped themselves to what they wanted. In my dad’s family’s case, when they left their home on April 12, 1940, the friend went to the house the next morning and took from the piles of stuff what she could identify as valuable and took off with it. Thanks to Lola, I have these photos of my dad to treasure. There is a post-war letter from his sister which tells of what Lola did to recover photos and a few documents which enabled dad’s sister to send him these photos remembering a better time.