3 Men and a Mom: Finding our Polish Family. Day 2.

April 26

Another great breakfast this morning prepared just for us since we appear to be the only overnight guests here. Scrambled eggs from chickens living on the property, honey from here, meats, breads, etc.

We drove into Posadowa to search for the house of Jan Filip, Mom’s 2nd cousin.

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Arriving in Posadowa

All we know is that he is 73 years old and lives in ‘house #35’.  Zenon drove & drove, but no house 35 was to be found. Stopped to ask 2 different people where he lives and while they were helpful they still weren’t sure.

Finally Zen got onto a very small road and saw 3 men working on a structure, using a horse to pull a large plough/cart. They directed him up the hill to the house of a village leader. Zen asked again and was told to visit the house at the bottom of the next hill. Not accessible by car.

Chronowski family discovery

In Search of Cousins

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No Roads Here!

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Very Remote House

Very, very slippery and muddy – quite an adventure! Finally we arrived and were met at the door by a very agitated and skeptical man: it was Jan!

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Cousin Jan

Much more talking in Polish and a lot of head shaking. This was not going well. Eventually he turned us away – apparently there is some trouble in his family and he wasn’t open to meeting unannounced visitors.

We trekked back to the original Filip house and that family insisted we come inside. We sat upstairs in the formal dining/living room and did our best to chat (not easy as Zenon had left to get the car down an alternate path). The younger man of the house poured shots of vodka – oh yes, when in Poland! They were a very friendly family, a nice welcome after the event with Jan. A bit more talking before we headed outside for a photo and goodbyes.

We next wanted to try our luck with Jan’s sister Stanisława – the only other sibling of the family still living in the area.  Heavy rain started so we decided to drive to Nowy Sacz and visit the open air Galicia Museum while waiting to see if the rain would stop.  We had tea and sernik (cheesecake) there and enjoyed some of the displays.

Then back to Posadowa and searching for Stanisława’s house.  Zen asked some locals and was told her sister-in-law lived at the house right in front of us. Zen knocked on her door, explained, and the lady offered to bring us to Stanisława. She got into the car and we parked as close as possible – there was no drivable road to her house either. Then it was more hiking through wet terrain, over hills, etc. – very remote!  We arrived at the house and met Stanisława. She knew nothing about her grandmother (Marianna) who had died 20 years before her own birth, so it was going to be impossible to learn more about our family from her. She seemed very stressed and while friendlier than Jan she also wanted nothing to do with us.  Mom hugged her anyway and that seemed to make her smile.

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Cousin Stanisława

Mark took a photo of her and Mom together – she was very reluctant to allow even that. Mom gave Stanisława some chocolates and she half heartedly invited us in for coffee, but we politely declined. Too awkward. I did also see Stanislawa’s daughter but no introductions were made – my 3rd cousin.

We drove to the same restaurant as the previous night to have an early dinner (5:00pm or so). More pierogis for me – I never get them in California so I am ordering them whenever I can here!  Mark and I also shared a Śledź (pickled herring in cream sauce) appetizer, which was delicious.

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Śledź

 

Back to the hotel early to rest and prepare for the drive to Jaszczew tomorrow.

Brian

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4 Responses to “3 Men and a Mom: Finding our Polish Family. Day 2.”

  1. Shellie says:

    OMG which son took these amazing photos? They are great!

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Shellie,

    I just saw your comment/question now… I took the photos shown with these blog entries 🙂 Thanks so much for the compliment, I was happy to get so many good photos to go along with the memories I’ll have of this trip.

    Brian

  3. Cinia says:

    Hi Brian,

    It’s me, Cuz, Love and enjoy reading your blog! I’m quite inspired that I’m thinking of getting one started for Pat and his brother in Ireland. I still have to learn more. 😀 Beautiful pictures, by the way!

  4. Brian says:

    Hi Cinia! Thanks so much for reading, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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